November 30, 2013
To: Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
On Dec. 7-8, our parishes will be conducting the appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious, an annual collection that benefits some 34,000 senior sisters, brothers, and religious order priests. As I reflect on the service of our women and men religious, I recall the words of Jesus in John’s Gospel: “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be” (Jn 12:26). Through their prayer and ministries, religious can be found wherever Jesus is found – not just in Catholic parishes, schools and hospitals, but also in service to the poor, the lonely and the oppressed.
In a profound way, we also find Jesus in the ongoing witness of our elder religious. While many continue in active and volunteer ministry, others are frail and need assistance. Yet they remain wholly committed to their vocations, accepting the limitations of aging and embracing the opportunity to focus more fully on praying for our Church and world.
Most elderly religious worked for years for small stipends, leaving a substantial gap in retirement savings. With the ever-rising cost of health care and the increase in the number of those needing care, many religious communities now struggle to provide for their senior members. The Retirement Fund for Religious offers vital financial assistance to help meet day-to-day needs for prescription medications, nursing care, and more.
The annual collection is an opportunity for each of us to be the presence of Jesus to our senior religious. I ask simply that you give what you can. 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.
Wishing you God’s blessings and with the assurance of my prayers, I am,
Sincerely in Christ,
Gregory M. Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans