Catholic priests, religious sisters, and other religious men and women selflessly dedicate their lives to the Church and serve the people of God in various, indispensable ways. But, after a lifetime of service, and as they reach their “golden years” when age or infirmity hinders their ability to serve, they often face an uncertain retirement.

While some diocesan priests and religious in developed countries have safety-nets such as a 401(k), this is not the case for all retired religious. Many lack pensions or Social Security to support themselves forcing them to live their retirement years with limited resources, struggling to pay for basic needs many laypeople take for granted upon leaving the workforce.

Compounding this issue are the demographics of priesthood and women’s religious communities. Even in situations where religious are provided with a fund to help cover living expenses upon retirement, the increasing amount of religious men and women reaching retirement age is putting an unmanageable strain on these limited funds. According to some estimates, by 2022, religious over the age of 70 will outnumber those under 70 by nearly four to one. This, combined with rising health-care costs, has led to a retirement-funding crisis for the retired religious.

In undeveloped countries and missionary territories, the situation is much worse. After having served the poorest of the poor for decades, and often living the extraordinarily simple and meager lives of missionaries, retired religious often lack even the most simple comforts and support they need in their old age.

To help address this issue, it is incumbent on every Catholic to consider supporting retired religious, in compassion for their struggles and in gratitude for their service to Christ’s Church.

One way you can directly support retired religious, right from your desktop or smartphone, is with MISSIO, a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies.

MISSIO allows you to search through vital charity projects – ones supporting missionaries in their work, ones providing for basic needs, others extending the Good News of the Gospel to remote areas, and still more bringing the light of the God’s love to those in the darkest circumstances.

Launched by Pope Francis himself, the MISSIO platform offers a direct connection to change-makers who work on the “front lines” making a difference for the poor and marginalized through direct, daily service.

Some example of the types of projects you can support on MISSIO include helping to build a small retirement home for religious sisters in Uganda, helping the Holy Cross Fathers build a home for retired elderly priests in Bangalore, and projects that help to train and educate the next generation of priests by helping to build seminaries in places such as India and Kenya.

Choose one of these missions of Pope Francis, donate directly to them, and know that 100% of your donation will go directly there. Share them on social media so others can support the projects also.

MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.

Check out MISSIO today and start giving!

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