Priest Retirement Trust Fund $10,000,000
The Catholic faithful have long been noted for their loyal support of the priests who have baptized and taught their children, preached the Gospel, officiated their weddings, celebrated the Eucharist, comforted them in their sufferings and heard their confessions. Many retired priests still labor tirelessly in the Lord’s Vineyard, living lives of service and sacrifice. At a certain point in life, however, even the most tireless of servants needs an opportunity to rest from his labor. It is our responsibility to assure they receive the care and support required.
Currently there are 89 active priests and 21 retired priests in the diocese. Over the next decade it is projected that 29 of the 89 active priests will reach the age of retirement.
The Priest Retirement Trust Fund, which provides monthly pension payments to our retired priests, receives contributions through the Priest Retirement Annual Appeal. Although the diocese has consistently funded the plan by the actuarially recommended funding amounts, the fund has a shortfall of nearly $10,000,000 due to improvements in pension benefits, under-performance of pension investments relative to expected returns, longer life expectancy, and other factors.
To meet the anticipated needs of our retired priests, Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love will allocate $10,000,000 to the Priest Retirement Trust Fund. These monies will serve as a significant step toward ensuring that our priests receive adequate pensions in their retirement years.
Our current retired priests have collectively given us nearly 800 years of priestly ministry. Through this campaign we, the parishioners they were happy to shepherd, will have the opportunity to return the favor for their faithful service.
Vocations and Seminarian Endowment $3,000,000
The future of the diocese is strengthened by the number of men who answer the call to serve. Our priests take on the role of shepherds, administrators, counselors, teachers and collaborators. The most vital role of the priesthood is spiritual and sacramental leadership.
Currently we are blessed to have 17 seminarians studying for the priesthood. In 2022, the number of seminarians is projected to grow to nearly 25. It is our responsibility to ensure the future of our faith.
The average annual cost to educate a seminarian is $30,000. The diocese currently shoulders this cost through four sources: the Friend to Seminarians Fund, the Collection for Seminarians and Priests’ Continuing Education, grants and endowment distributions, and the Diocesan Support Appeal. With rising costs in education, the current endowments need to be increased in order to educate our seminarians.
Forward in Faith, Hope, and Love will earmark $3,000,000 to the Vocations and Seminarian Support Endowment. This infusion of funds will help ensure that our seminarians receive the necessary formation to best serve the Church in the years ahead.