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 $1,550 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
Posted: January 2019