WASHINGTON ― The SOAR! board of directors approved $1.3 million in grants to assist aging Catholic Sisters, Brothers and Priests. 

These grants will benefit 3,198 women and men religious in 22 states. The grants total $1,318,228. 

SOAR! grants assist religious communities in caring for their senior members. Grants cover expenses for very basic needs such as hospital beds, accessible furniture and medical equipment.  

In addition to its annual grant awards, SOAR! also announced a new program this spring to support religious communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants aim to help congregations implement measures to reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus, to provide care for members suffering from COVID-19, and to ease the burden due to decreased revenue during the pandemic. 

As a result of assistance from SOAR!, many more Catholic Sisters, Brothers and religious order Priests will be able to continue to age in place and remain at home with their religious communities. These grants help ensure the safety and dignity of women and men religious. 

As the cost of care continues to rise, the majority of women and men religious lack adequate funding for retirement. Meanwhile, the number of religious to support them in the work­force is droppingA recent study projected that by 2029, religious past age 75 will outnumber those younger than them by nearly four to one. 

SOAR! was formed in 1986 by a group of concerned lay people to help Catholic religious congregations in the care of their elderly and infirm members. The organization is separate from the annual retirement collection coordinated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.