My Dear Parishioners,
This week we begin a new liturgical year and the holy season of Advent. Advent is about preparing for the birth of Jesus, but it is also about actively waiting on the Lord. It feels like we have all been waiting for the coronavirus to end and now the church is asking us to wait some more. But waiting can be good. It helps to strengthen us and teaches us discipline. Waiting also helps our celebration of Christmas by building up a longing and yearning for Jesus. Not every need has to be met immediately.
I am sorry to tell you that because of coronavirus concerns we have had to cancel our Christmas Bazaar. We look forward to being able to host some kind of Bazaar when the situation permits.
May God Bless You,
Archbishop Perez has asked that the following letter be communicated to you this weekend.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Soon our parishes will be conducting the collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious. This annual appeal benefits 30,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests-women and men who have consecrated their lives to serving God and the Church. We are blessed to have 70 religious congregations present and serving within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. These 70 religious congregations represent approximately 2500 men and women religious. Of this number, over 900 are retired.
Many religious communities struggle to provide for their aging members. Vocations to religious life have diminished but lifespans have increased. The result is that far fewer younger members are available to support the retirement and eldercare needs of senior members. In 2018, 70 percent of the religious communities providing data to the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) had a median age of 70 or higher.
Recognizing that this is but one of many worthy causes in need of assistance, I ask simply that you give what you can. Your monetary support and prayers are a means of thanking the many women and men religious for their faithful service to Catholic education, healthcare, and many other services offered by religious women and men.
The annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held December 5-6, 2020 in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The appeal is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO).
In addition to sponsoring the annual appeal, the NRRO offers assessment tools, educational programming, services, and resources that enable religious communities to evaluate and prepare for long-term retirement needs. Please pray for our consecrated religious and please also encourage support for this national collection scheduled for December 5-6, 2020 in our local parishes.
In the peace of Christ,
+ Most Reverend Nelson J. Perez, D.D.
Archbishop of Philadelphia