Donations sought for aged Catholic religious


Here's a statistic that probably makes American Roman Catholics very nervous:

The percentage of the nation's Catholic priests, brothers and nuns who are 90 or older is greater than the percentage of "religious" who are 30 or younger, according to church studies.

That stat reflects a number of crises facing American Catholicism, including the problem of replenishing the ranks of the men and women who have served as the backbone of the church for two centuries.

However, a more pressing need involves the daily care of all those elderly priests, brothers and nuns. Three years ago, the church began addressing the problem by instituting a 10-year program in which parishes across the country hold an annual collection for a religious retirement fund.

The fourth of those yearly collections takes place at Catholic services this Saturday and Sunday.

In the first three collections, churchgoers in the Baltimore archdiocese chipped in a total of more than $1.3 million to a national pool of funds. Religious communities in the archdiocese have received nearly $1.6 million from that pool since the program's inception.

Hunger walk:

The fourth annual Walk Against Hunger in Africa, held in Baltimore last October, raised more than $9,000 for four organizations that provide relief aid to Africa -- Africare, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service and UNICEF, the event's sponsor has announced.

The walk, sponsored by Baltimore Clergy and Laity Concerned, drew participants representing 135 local religious organizations.

Phone home:

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore is seeking volunteers for its 12th annual Super Phone Day, which will take place this Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, 5700 Park Heights Ave.

Volunteers are needed to make calls, sort pledge forms, tally results and perform other duties during the person-to-person appeal to some 15,000 members of the local Jewish community.

Proceeds from the event will go toward meeting the Associated's 1992 campaign goal of $22.5 million. Campaign chairman Benjamin Kuntz says half the goal has been met to date.

Brown bazaar:

Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church U.S.A., at 1316 Park Ave. in Bolton Hill, will hold its seventh annual "Peace on Earth" Bazaar this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Proceeds from the sale of baked goods, "white elephant" items, cards, crafts from around the world and assorted other knick-knacks will go to the church's Peace and Justice Commission.

The commission supports a sister parish in El Salvador, Santa Maria Madre de los Pobres, and Project RAISE, a local program in which adults serve as mentors to city youths who are "at risk."

Send religious news items -- about events, local personalities, etc. -- to Religion Notes, c/o Patrick Ercolano, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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