Senior priests are self-supporting. Diocesan priests live independently in retirement, no longer relying upon the support of a parish. Since they are paid a modest wage during their years in active ministry, priests receive a minimal Social Security benefit. In 1966, the diocese established the Senior Priest Retirement Fund in an effort to help retired priests meet the basic needs of food, housing, transportation and medical care.
There are currently 110 senior priests in the diocese. Often retiring between ages 70-75, many continue to serve after more than forty years of active ministry. Still others require assisted living, or nursing home care.
We face an important challenge.
As with other retirement benefit programs—such as Social Security— the fund is burdened by increasing current and projected costs that exceed its income. Priests are living longer, more active lives. A large percentage of priests in the diocese are nearing retirement age. The rate of those drawing on the fund is projected to only increase in the foreseeable future: in fifteen years some 50 percent of our priests presently active in ministry will be eligible for retirement.
Fewer active priests also impacts fund revenues since one revenue source is a premium (from parish assessments) that is based on current active priests.
Our generosity answers that challenge—and says thanks. This annual collection is a major support for our retired priests.
With a thoughtful, generous contribution we can help the Senior Priest Retirement Fund meet its obligations to those who depend on it for today and tomorrow. It’s also our way of thanking them for their many years of faithful service.
Please consider a generous gift to the Sr. Priest Retirement Fund Second Collection at Masses throughout the diocese annually the third weekend in September.
Thank you for your support!