The annual appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR) will be taken up Dec. 7-8 this year in most parishes in the U.S. including those of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Across the United States, hundreds of religious communities lack financial resources to meet the retirement and health care needs of aging members. This appeal provides vital support to senior religious and their communities to help meet current and future retirement needs.

Read Bishop Walkowiak’s letter to parishioners (English | Español)

The Need

The crisis in retirement funding can be attributed to three primary factors: lack of funds, rising health care costs, and changing demographics.

  • Many elder religious worked for years for small stipends, leaving a large gap in retirement savings. At the same time, fewer religious are able to serve in compensated ministry.
  • Like many Americans, religious communities face the monumental challenge of funding eldercare.
  • By 2027, retired religious are projected to outnumber wage-earners by more than three to one.

Please prayerfully consider a contribution in support of retired men and women religious who have dedicated their lives not just in Catholic parishes, schools, and hospitals, but also in service to the poor, the lonely, and the oppressed.

Alternate Giving Options

If you miss the opportunity to give in your parish Dec. 7-8 or would prefer to donate ahead of the collection weekend, alternate options for giving may be found by clicking here.

The RFR was launched in in 1988 by the Catholic bishops of the United States to address the significant lack of retirement funding for Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests in religious orders. Coordinated through the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) in Washington, D.C., the appeal asks Catholics to “Share in the Care” of more than 34,000 women and men religious over age 70 by giving to those who’ve given a lifetime.

Please note: The Retirement Fund for Religious collection supports brothers, sisters and priests who are members of religious orders/communities and is different from the Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Our Shepherds – Our Future capital campaign which supports education of diocesan seminarians and retirement for our diocesan priests. For additional information or if you have questions, please call the diocese at 616-243-0491.