The retirement years can be difficult for these men who may dedicate as many as 50 years or more of their lives to caring for and ministering to others.
With gratitude for their years of faithful ministry, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit have acknowledged and embraced the responsibility for helping our priests during their retirement. At age 70, our priests begin receiving auto and health insurance and a $1,500 monthly pension from the Priests' Retirement Fund. Senior priests use this money for basic needs, such as food, housing and transportation.
Through the years, there have been various funding sources for the Priests' Retirement Fund. Since 1994, parishes have been assessed an annual amount, which is currently $15,644 per priest serving the parish.
There are many financial pressures on the Priests’ Retirement Fund:
- Senior priests, like everyone else, are living longer and drawing on the Priests’Retirement Fund for a longer time than their predecessors.
- Health care costs continue to skyrocket. A fully funded Priests’ Retirement Fund would provide the necessary resources to meet the high costs of medical services, prescription drugs, gaps in Medicare coverage, and long-term care.
- With the weak economy, like general investment markets, the recent growth of investments in the Fund has slowed compared with the significant increases enjoyed in the 1990s.
Fully funding our Priests' Retirement Fund is critically important. The average age of our active priests is high, and a large number of these priests were members of sizable ordination classes. With these generations nearing retirement, there is a pressing need to provide for the men who have so faithfully served us.
Each year, parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit have the option of taking up a special collection to help pay its per-priest assessment. This special collection, With Thanks for Their Service in Christ, will be held in in September 2014.
It is essential that we continue to provide financial stability for our retired priests and guarantee future security for our active priests. By strengthening the Priests' Retirement Fund, we will ensure adequate retirement and health coverage in the years ahead for those who have served us with such faith-filled devotion by their priestly ministry.