The ordained priesthood is a way of life of prayer and service from which a priest does not retire in the usual sense. Although a priest may retire from administrative duties and from the demands of a full-time assignment, such as a parish pastor or administrator, he continues the lifelong priestly ministry to which he dedicated himself at ordination. For this reason, a man in this status is referred to as an emeritus priest. As of June 30, 2018, 42 pastors or administrators in the Detroit Archdiocese were over 70 years of age.
Priests over 70 retain the faculties of the Archdiocese of Detroit, living a priestly life and carrying out priestly functions according to their health and desires. When a priest reaches emeritus priest status, he may choose to live where he wishes.
Archdiocesan policies regarding priestly retirement are oriented not as a means of transitioning away from ministry, but rather facilitate continuing service by and for priests in their later years, considering their needs and those of the Church. The faithful throughout the Archdiocese benefit greatly from the presence and service of senior priests, especially from the wisdom of their experience.
To maximize flexibility and to provide for their needs, provisions are made for senior priests in the Detroit Archdiocese who meet the criteria for retirement benefits:
- The senior priest is released from the obligations of an assignment.
- The Archdiocese of Detroit’s Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life assists senior priests in transitions from administrative responsibilities while continuing to exercise ministry as they desire and are able.
- The Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life also assists senior priests and arranges residence in parish rectories, if desired. The archdiocese collaborates with the Felician Sisters who operate Senior Clergy Village, an independent living facility near Madonna University in Livonia, where many archdiocesan emeritus priests reside.
- Monthly financial support is provided for senior priests in good standing from the archdiocesan Priests’ Pension Plan as well as a supplemental quarterly expense allowance of $455 to senior priests in good standing.