Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
On the weekend of December 5-6, our parishes will be conducting the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR). I urge you to offer this appeal your prayerful and vocal support.
Your efforts are vital to its success.
In his letter to consecrated religious marking the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis outlines various aims for the celebration, the first of which is “to look to the past with gratitude.” In this spirit, I ask for your heartfelt support of the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR). The RFR furnishes immediate financial assistance for the day to day care of aging religious and helps their communities implement long-term retirement strategies.
As we consider the unique role senior religious have played in the history of the Church in the United States, we cannot help but recall their tremendous example of service. We remember with gratitude the thousands of sisters who spent decades teaching in our Catholic schools and nursing the sick in our hospitals, the brothers who taught or served in foreign missions, and the priests from religious orders who dedicated themselves to parish and pastoral ministry.
As I reflect on the dedication of elderly religious, I am grateful for the way they have shaped my own faith and for the tremendous service they have offered our diocese. I hope you, too, recall a sister, brother or religious order priest who made a positive difference in your life.
Today many religious struggle to care for their elderly members. Sky-rocketing healthcare costs and decreased income make it increasingly difficult to provide adequate nursing and medical care. Aging convents and other facilities pose challenges in terms of safety and handicap accessibility.
I recognize this is but one of the numerous worthy causes in need of support. I ask you simply to give what you can. In thanksgiving for all that our senior religious have done, please join me in supporting the Retirement Fund for Religious and in praying for God’s continued blessing on our nation’s elderly sisters, brothers and religious order priests.
Sincerely yours in Our Lord,
Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of Wilmington