WASHINGTON (February 6, 2003) -- "Marist Brother Henry Matthew Sammon has been named Associate Director of the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO).
He succeeds Christian Brother John Patzwall, who left the office in early January.
Brother Sammon, 56, is a member of the Esopus, New York, Province of the Marist Brothers of the Schools, and currently is a candidate for a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America. He holds a master of science degree with a concentration in finance from the University of Notre Dame, has pursued advanced studies in educational administration at Manhattan College, and holds a certificate from the Law and Religious Life Program of College Misericordia, in Dallas, Pennsylvania.
Brother Sammon has broad experience in finance. He has been treasurer/comptroller of both men"s and women"s religious orders and been a board member and officer of several finance associations for religious. From 1996-2000 he was president of the Board of the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes, and since 2000 has been a member of the board and finance committee of the Leviticus Fund, an alternative investment fund. He also is a member of the Marist Brothers International Committee on Economic Affairs, Rome.
In his new position, Brother Sammon will oversee financial management and grant administration for the NRRO.
Msgr. William P. Fay, General Secretary of the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops, praised Brother Sammon's appointment and thanked the Marist Brothers for allowing him to assume the position.
"Brother Sammon 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. Fay said. "He clearly brings insight, skill and sensitivity to the challenges before religious in this country today."
Msgr. Fay thanked Brother Patzwall, a member of the Baltimore Province of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, for his five years in the retirement office.
Sister Andree Fries, a member of the Sisters of the Most Previous Blood of O"Fallon, Missouri, and Director of the NRRO, welcomed Brother Sammon to the office.
"Brother Sammon brings extensive knowledge of the financial concerns of religious orders both nationally and internationally," Sister Fries said. "His background provides him with sure-footedness in the world of finances and religious institutes."
The retirement office is located at the headquarters of the USCCB and is sponsored by the USCCB, 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 $27 million annually since 1988.
Currently the unfunded retirement liability of religious orders is estimated to be $6.7 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 195 dioceses participate in the collection.
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.