WASHINGTON (February 2, 1998) -- Christian Brother John T. Patzwall has been named Associate Director of the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), effective April 20.
He succeeds Mercy Sister Laura Reicks, who leaves the office in April to assume a position in the finance office of the Sisters of Mercy in St. Louis.
Brother Patzwall, 53, and a member of the Baltimore Province of the De LaSalle Christian Brothers, is a licensed investment advisor and has extensive experience in fiscal research and analysis, administration and management.
Since 1995 he has been vice president of Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc., Oak Brook, Illinois. The Chicago area organization manages and administers investment funds for religious orders, dioceses, schools and Catholic institutions around the country and internationally. He also is chairman of the board of Christian Brothers Services, which develops and administers cooperative programs for the Church in areas such as retirement plans and trusts, health benefits for employees, and property/casualty coverage.
Brother Patzwall has served in the administration of his order on the regional, national and international level. He was treasurer of his own province for 15 years. He also has worked with dioceses, and in 1991 served on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Commission on Compensation for Religious.
He is a native of Baltimore and a graduate of LaSalle University, Philadelphia, and the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
In his new position, Brother Patzwall will oversee financial management and grant administration for the NRRO.
Msgr. Dennis M. Schnurr, General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference, praised Brother Patzwall's appointment and thanked the Christian Brothers for allowing him to assume the position.
"Brother Patzwall brings in-depth understanding of both religious life and finances at a time when religious orders are facing the monumental challenge of dealing with retirement needs," Msgr. Schnurr said. "He clearly brings insight, skill and sensitivity to the challenges before religious in this country today."
Msgr. Schnurr thanked Sister Reicks, a member of the Cedar Rapids Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, for her six years in the retirement office.
"Sister Reicks has overseen grant administration and research by the religious retirement office and worked tirelessly with individual orders facing decisions about their future. We will miss her."
Providence Sister Mary Leahy, Director of the NRRO, welcomed Brother Patzwall to the office.
"Brother Patzwall brings extensive knowledge of the financial concerns of religious orders both nationally and internationally," Sister Leahy said. "His background provides him with sure-footedness in the world of finances and religious institutes."
She thanked Sister Reicks for her service.
"The Sisters of Mercy in St. Louis are fortunate in adding Sister Laura to their finance team," she said. "Sister Laura is knowledgeable in the world of finance and dedicated to the people she serves. In the past six years, orders nationwide have acknowledged her help as they've faced religious retirement issues."
The retirement office is located at the headquarters of the NCCB and is sponsored by the NCCB, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. (CMSWR).
It is responsible for the annual Retirement Fund for Religious Collection, which is taken up in parishes nationwide in December.
The Religious Retirement Office was founded in 1986 to help the nation's religious institutes address massive retirement needs. A key effort has been the Retirement Fund for Religious, a national appeal which has collected about $25 million annually since 1988.
A 1996 Arthur Andersen report notes that for the nation's religious institutes, "60 percent of retirement needs are not currently funded."
The company added that currently the level of unfunded past service liability "stands at $7.9 billion."
Each year the Retirement Fund for Religious Collection is distributed to U.S. religious institutes according to a formula based on the ages, the number of members and the level of retirement needs of an institute. Grants to individual orders have ranged from $900,000 to $300.
Collection funds also are used to meet critical financial needs of religious orders and to fund projects aimed at retirement cost-cutting. Grants have been awarded to provide health care for retired members and to assist with planning for future financial needs through programs such as Social Security, facilities assessment and intercommunity retirement projects.
Nationwide, 167 of the country's 193 dioceses participate in the collection. Those which do not participate in the national collection operate their own fund drives or had started local collections before the national appeal began.
The Religious Retirement Office has been instrumental in helping many orders offset a dire financial crisis, created by rising health care costs, declining overall membership and inability of Religious in past decades to set aside money for their retirement because they worked without salary or accepted modest stipends.
Religious institutes have worked to address the ongoing retirement deficit through careful fiscal management and planning, increased fund raising, sale of property and better utilization of buildings. Nevertheless, the need continues because of the magnitude of the current unfunded retirement facing so many religious orders.