Catholics attending Mass this weekend at churches in Good Shepherd Parish will be able to donate during a special collection to benefit elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests. COURTESY PHOTO/Good Shepherd Parish

Catholics attending Mass this weekend at churches in Good Shepherd Parish will be able to donate during a special collection to benefit elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests. COURTESY PHOTO/Good Shepherd Parish

SACO — Members attending church this weekend in Good Shepherd Parish will be able to remember those who have given a lifetime of service to the Catholic faith.

On Saturday and Sunday, parishioners and community members will be able to make donations during Masses to a special collection at Maine Catholic churches for the Retirement Fund for Religious.

This annual appeal is used to benefit more than 32,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests and last year donations to the fund amounted to more than $116,000.

“Like the Universal Church, our church in Maine has been touched by the many women and men in religious life who have offered prayers for the people of the diocese and ministered to all in education, health care, social services, pastoral ministry, and religious education within parishes, health care facilities, schools and social service agencies,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley of the Diocese of Portland.

According to Deeley, for years Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests (known collectively as religious) served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits and today hundreds of religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings.

“These women and men have chosen to strive with the commitment of their lives to follow Jesus, and we are constantly renewed by the lives of those who continue to witness,” Deeley said. “I want to express my profound thanks to them for responding to the call of the Lord to serve the church and encourage all who are able to contribute generously to this important fund.” 

Communities are able to use these funds to bolster retirement savings and subsidize expenses, such as prescription medications and nursing care, he said.

Donations also help to provide assistance for day-to-day needs and assist with initiatives to address retirement shortfalls for religious communities.

Deeley said some of these efforts have led to solutions such as collaborative care facilities, strategic partnerships with providers of health care, and numerous cost-saving measures.

“We are humbled and profoundly grateful for the love and support of Catholics across the nation,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the executive director of the National Religious Retirement Office based in Washington, D.C. “I visit many religious communities and see the good works that members young and old provide. Generosity to the annual collection ensures our office can furnish support to help these communities care for older members while continuing their ministries and witness.”

Churches making up Good Shepherd Parish are Most Holy Trinity in Saco, St. Joseph in Biddeford, St. Margaret in Old Orchard Beach, St. Philip in Lyman and St. Brendan Chapel in Biddeford Pool.

For more information about the collection or the National Religious Retirement Office, visit www.retiredreligious.org.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]


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