Approaching her 79th birthday on December 30, Sister Gemma Pepera describes herself as “active pre-retired”, and has served in religious life for over 60 years. Click on the photo to read her story.
A letter from Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Soon our parishes will be conducting the Retirement Fund for Religious collection. This annual appeal benefits some 35,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests – women and men who have consecrated their lives to serving God and the Church.
In February (of 2014) in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis told us, “Every consecrated person is a gift for the People of God on its journey.” Many of us, myself included, can recall special women or men religious who played meaningful roles in our lives. This may have been the sister who taught us in second grade, supporting our educational development. Or perhaps it was the religious brother who led us on retreat and nourished our spiritual growth. Their support of our Journeys often required great sacrifices. Most senior religious worked for small stipends, leaving a substantial gap in retirement savings. As a result, hundreds of religious communities now struggle to provide adequate care for aging members.
The Retirement Fund for Religious offers us an opportunity to support elder religious in this phase of their journey. While many continue in some form of ministry, others are frail and need assistance. Your gift provides vital funding for medications, nursing care, and more. It also helps religious congregations implement long-term retirement strategies that ensure both quality eldercare and continued service to the People of God.
I recognize this is but one of numerous worthy causes in need of assistance; I ask simply that you give what you can. In thanksgiving for the faithful service of senior religious, please join me in supporting the Retirement Fund for Religious and in praising God for the gifts that consecrated life offers our Church.
(A second collection will be taken Jan. 3 – 4 at Saint Joseph Catholic Church. Please join us in support of this important cause.)