Dear Friends in Christ,
Many of us know or recall a Sister, Brother or order priest who has shown us the ideal of love, generosity and responsibility — a love that demanded trust in providence and acceptance of financial insecurity. They gave heart and spirit to those in their care and invested in people rather than pensions.
Today, the majority of religious are past age 60, and a significant number are past 80. In keeping with their vows and traditions, all religious who are able continue to minister and to pray. However, there are among our elderly religious many who suffer the same pain and indignities associated with aging that you might see in your own families. Their institutes are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the challenge of rapidly escalating health care costs.
In his encyclical, Pope Benedict reminds us that “the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering . . .” He makes it clear that consoling the suffering means “being with the other in his solitude so that it ceases to be solitude.”
I ask you to “be with” our elderly women and men religious as we conduct the appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious, especially those who are frail and in need of skilled care. Support this appeal and hold our religious in your hearts and your prayers, journey with them in hope and grow with them in love.
This is our opportunity to share in their care; let us speak for them and care for them. Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Davenport will conduct the 23nd annual national appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious on Dec. 11-12. Please be as generous as possible in supporting the Retirement Fund for Religious collection.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Martin Amos
Bishop of Davenport