September 10, 2017

September 12, 2017

My dear parishioners,

Next weekend our second collection is for the Diocesan Priest Retirement Fund and the Senior Priests of our Diocese, men who have served for more than forty years in assignments throughout the Diocese. Though retired from the administrative duties, these men who have dedicated their lives to priesthood continue to provide sacraments and other services within the Diocese.

The Priest Retirement Fund was established in the mid-1960s to help retired priests meet everyday needs like food, housing, transportation and health care. To better understand this need, let me explain clergy salaries and benefits:

When a priest is assigned to serve in a parish, he receives from that place of assignment a salary set by the Diocese and paid by the parish, along with food and housing benefits in the rectory, supplied by the parish. The parish also pays for his health and automobile insurance.

All that changes upon his retirement. The retired senior priest receives a modest monthly pension from the Retirement Fund. It is coupled with Social Security benefits based upon what he might have paid into the system over the years. Since his priestly salary was never large, his monthly Social Security benefit will not be large.  Upon retirement the senior priest becomes responsible for all his own expenses; housing, food, health care and auto insurance.

Diocesan priests differ from religious communities of priests. A religious priest takes the vow of poverty with their needs provided for them throughout their lives. The Diocesan priest is responsible for his own needs and lives more independently .

Often retiring between the ages of 70-75, many of these priests continue to serve after more than 40 years of active ministry.

In retirement the senior priest can give himself completely to the sacramental mission of the church which first attracted him to the priesthood; without the stress of administration, management of leaky roofs, icy walkways, general maintenance and repair.

Next week’s annual collection is a major support for our retired priests. Your thoughtful and generous contribution will help the Senior Priest Retirement Fund meet its obligation to those who depend on it today and tomorrow. It’s also a way of thanking those priests for their many years of faithful service. In their name and in my own, I thank you.

–Monsignor Montecalvo

 

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