The Priest Retirement Fund is the primary means by which those Catholic Priests who have served for decades in the Diocese of Providence are cared for in their later years- years that are spent in active ministry.
The Service Continues
For years after parish and other assignments, priests in the Diocese of Providence continue to serve Christ and the faithful through many selfless efforts.
Many may not realize that our diocesan priests live independently in retirement. After active ministry, they no longer rely upon their parishes for support. In other words, with retirement the room and board stops. And since they were paid a very modest wage, they receive a minimal Social Security benefit. So, to help retired priests meet everyday needs like food, housing, transportation, and health care, our diocese established the Senior Priest Retirement Fund in the mid-nineteen-sixties.
The Financial Challenges
But as with other retirement benefit programs—such as Social Security—the Fund is challenged by increasing current and projected costs that exceed its income. That’s because, like the general population, priests are living longer, more active lives, placing a greater demand on retirement resources.
One does not enter the priesthood for the financial benefits, that’s for sure. Like other vocations that are lived in service to others—such as marriage and parenthood— priesthood is about giving, not taking. In fact, even in retirement many of our senior priests continue to serve in various ministries throughout the diocese. Often retiring between ages 70 and 75, they still serve where they’re needed. And of course there are those who require assisted living, or nursing home care.
The Senior Priest Retirement Fund receives revenue from five sources: the Catholic Charity Appeal; the Diocesan General Fund; gifts and bequests; the annual Our Lady Queen of the Clergy parish/agency assessment based on each active priest; and the upcoming annual diocesan collection. This fund’s strength is important not just for those who depend on it today, but also for those who will rely upon it in the years ahead. There are increasing challenges that this fund will need to meet in the near future.
All donations to the Senior Priest Retirement Fund remain in the Diocese of Providence to serve diocesan priests in retirement.