Priests' Pension Plan

Priesthood is a lifelong vocation, given witness by about 150 senior priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit who, though retired, continue to share of themselves in countless ways. Most of these men minister beyond retirement age for as long as they are physically able. Our senior priests who are unable to serve in ministry because of health limitations continue to bless and humble us through their life witness. Every aspect in the life and ministry of a priest, active or senior, is a gift from God; a gift that builds and maintains the communion of our Church; a gift that helps bring the faithful closer to the Lord.

Many of our senior priests serve at a parish or make themselves available to multiple parishes in southeast Michigan, pro­viding valuable assistance to pastors who are stretched. Some help by celebrating daily or Sunday liturgies, ministering to the sick and homebound, visiting hospitals, and providing spiritual counseling. Others assist when a brother priest is away from his parish for vacation or because of sickness or a family obligation.

During his years of priestly ministry, our priests in the Detroit Archdiocese are mainly supported by a parish community through a modest salary. His housing, food, medical benefits and auto insurance are provided so he can focus on ministry. While active priests are highly encouraged to save financially for retirement, many faithful priests are left with minimal in­come and financial resources upon achieving senior priest status. Like many of the lay faithful, priests in retirement can have difficult adjustments after having committed decades of their lives to caring for and ministering to others.

At the Synod of 1969, Cath­olics in the Archdiocese of Detroit acknowledged and embraced the responsibility to help our priests during their retirement years. Soon after, the Archdiocese of Detroit established a retirement fund for our priests, created and maintained largely through the generosity of parishioners.

At age 70, our priests who have the requisite vested service, begin receiving a $1,575 monthly pension payment from the Priests’ Pension Plan and a supplemental quarterly expense allowance of up to $455. This money is used for food, housing and transportation. They also receive medical and dental insurance, Medicare Part B costs, auto insurance, and professional expenses. Diocesan priests often live independently during their retirement years, unlike senior priests of religious communities who are cared for, live together, and receive financial support from their orders and benefactors. Caring for our retired priests is an opportunity to show gratitude for their lives of service to the faithful.  

Frequently Asked Questions

When do priests retire? How do they qualify for retirement benefits from the Detroit Archdiocese?

How many diocesan priests are there? How many are receiving pensions?

What do senior priests do in their retirement years?

What retirement benefits do senior priests receive through the Priests’ Pension Plan?

Does the Priests’ Pension Plan cover all the living costs incurred by senior priests?

What happens if a senior priest requires care at an assisted living facility?

How are priest retirement benefits funded in the Detroit Archdiocese?

Is the Priests’ Pension Plan sufficient to cover pension and retirement benefits for all priests, including today’s younger priests?

How has the Priests’ Pension Plan investment portfolio performed in recent years?

What is the financial status of the assets of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Priests’ Pension Plan? Is it stable?

Has the Detroit priest retirement plan changed in recent years?

Are Priests’ Pension Plan funds used for other purposes? Are the Pension Plan monies invested with other archdiocesan monies?

How are priest benefits determined and how is the Priests’ Pension Plan administered? Who oversees Plan monies?

Have priests in the Detroit Archdiocese always received their retirement benefits?

Do priests receive benefits through the special collection for retired religious?

If priests leave ministry or are removed because of financial irregularities, sexual misconduct, or other causes, do they receive archdiocesan priest benefits?

Do suspended, permanently suspended, or laicized clergy still receive pensions?