2013-09-01 Sick and Retired Priest Appeal
Sick and Retired Priest’s Appeal
About the appeal
Retirement brings with it hopes and fears for us all. Your parish priests are no different. Once at the centre of busy parish life, retirement can bring loneliness and the threat of hardship Whether a Catholic since birth or having joined the church later in life, many parishioners have fond memories of priests who are now retired. They may remember, for example, one who shared the joy of their wedding day, helped their family through a difficult time, or one who supported and gave them strength to cope at the time they lost a close relative.
The Retired Priests Appeal is an opportunity for us to show our support, and to remember our retired priests are still part of our family of the church. Life in a presbytery is very busy and usually quite demanding, particularly these days when an increasing number of parishes are run by a single priest. Being constantly available to respond to the diverse needs of his parishioners over many years can be extremely fulfilling, but can also take its toll.
In general, a presbytery is therefore not a suitable place for a priest to spend his retirement. Retired priests’ modest needs are met in three ways. The Sick & Retired Priests Fund is the main source of means tested grants for retired priests. Secondly some priests have their own means. Some more recently ordained priests had an earlier different career with provision of individual or institutional pensions. However, this does not apply to most older priests. Thirdly parishes provide for payments for the state pension by National Insurance contributions.
The demands made are set to increase, at least in the short and medium term and the contributions currently being paid from all sources will soon become insufficient to provide for those who are sick or retired. Future provision for priests entering ministry now will then be made through a new mechanism. We need however to look to the needs of those who are nearing or already in retirement – the priests who have played such an important part in our lives – and also to make some provision for those currently in active ministry. Circumstances have changed and like most charities, we have to make radical plans. Our existing Sick and Retired Priests Fund currently stands at £1.35 million. If we do nothing, cumulative shortfalls will result in this fund running out in a few years’ time. To provide for those currently in retirement and to set up proper provision for those currently in active ministry, a further £5 million will be required. If we do not act, we will be creating an unmanageable burden for the next generation
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For information on how to give, please follow this link.