Did you know there are presently 220 retired priests ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago? Of that number over 100 priests are over 80; 18 are over 90; and come October our first priest will reach 100 years old. Taken together these priests represent over 11,800 years of service as priests to the Archdiocese. Collectively these men have celebrated the Eucharist over three and a half million times. They have been a crucial part of sustaining and enriching the Church of Chicago in the last half of the past century and beginning of this century.
On June 12th and 13th the Archdiocese will take up a collection for these retired priests. This collection benefits the Priests’ Retirement and Mutual Aid Association. The PRMAA was formed backed in 1967 as an offshoot of the Infirmed Priest’s Fund. One of its first acts was to institute a pension plan for retired priests. Over the years health care and other benefits were added to its responsibilities. Today the PRMAA is responsible for coordinating and providing over $5,000,000 annually in benefits for our retired priests.
Providing supplemental health insurance to Medicare allows our retired priests to live without the fear of catastrophic illness consuming their life savings. A major part of this benefit is the prescription drug coverage. Our retired priests, similar to many of our senior population, are on multiple prescriptions to keep their bodies functioning as long as possible.
Not all our retired priests are able or choose to live in rectories. The Archdiocese of Chicago has two subsidized retirement residences for priests able to live independently.
St. Benedict Home in Niles and the Bishop Lyne Residence in Palos Park provide a communal setting for over 25 of our senior priests to share meals and memories.
When the infirmities of old age become severe enough to require nursing home care, PRMAA is there to offer financial assistance. Twenty-four priests currently receive assistance in a nursing home setting or through a home health provider present in their rectory or place of residence.
The theme of the annual collection is “We need each other now.” As the Archdiocese needs the assistance of our retired clergy to continue their priestly ministry in parishes throughout the Archdiocese, so too our retired priests need the support of Chicago Catholics to help finance the benefits that keep them doing what they were ordained to do.
The Priests’ Retirement and Mutual Aid Association thanks everyone for their past support. Please be as generous as you can in the coming collection.