Each year in December we conduct a collection for retired priests and sisters who belong to religious orders. Unfortunately, this fund does not benefit the retired diocesan priests who have served in our many parishes over the years. While your continuing generosity to the Retirement Fund for the Religious is most appreciated, we also encourage you to have the same concern for the diocesan priests who have served over our WNY Catholic community.
Medical and dental care that our retired diocesan priests rely month to month depend on contributions from the parishes of the Diocese or institution in which priests serve. Since the medical needs of the elderly are great, there was a need to establish a special fund to ensure the security of these benefits. Actuaries for the Priest Retirement Board have determined that a fund of $27,000,000 would be needed for the care of our retired priests in the future. The Upon this Rock campaign has designated 7% or $7,000,000 for this purpose. The Diocese has also sold one of the priest retirement homes with the proceeds supporting the Retired Priests’ Medical Benefits program. This however, will not meet the total need.
Throughout the long history of our diocese, we have been served by hundreds and hundreds of dedicated priests. Today, there are about 135 or so retired diocesan priests incurring the cost of living on their own or in one of the three diocesan retirement homes. Although retired, many of these priests continue to minister sacramentally in the parishes of our Diocese like Msgr. Madsen has done at St. Louis and Msgr. Mack before him. Some of the retired priests currently assisting in ministry are in their 90’s.
The next weekend August 1st and 2nd, the closest weekend to the feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, there will be a second collection for the Retired Diocesan Priests’ Medical Benefits. Once again your generous support is encouraged. Please continue to pray for our priests, whether serving or retired, and for an increase of vocations to the priesthood.