Priests and 'Retirement'
EDUCATION OF CLERGY FOR AND DURING RETIREMENT
A priest as an ordained leader in the church never retires from his priesthood but eventually must resign from responsibility for a parish or other diocesan office.
"Retirement" is about what I'm going to do, not about what I'm not going to do". In other words, "It's not about what I have stopped being, but about what I hope to grow to be."
 PRACTICAL PREPARATION FOR RETIREMENT
- encourage support groups for priests
- help develop a sense of cohesion with those of same age
- suggest easement into a second career without an executive function, which can be continued and developed after retirement
- suggest a buffer stage between full active ministry and retirement
- seek ways to respond to priests preparing for retirement when they want help
- encourage use of books, articles, videos and audio cassettes
- encourage hobbies and new skills
- encourage men to develop their resources, personal and material
 CONTINUING GROWTH IN RELATIONSHIPS
- encourage gently and discretely a companion for the journey, a sponsor/carer
- raise the possibility of a spiritual and social companion who will challenge them
- encourage the presence of women and children in older age to develop respect and reverence and counter hardness and bitterness developing
- foster "grandfather" experiences with children and young adults
- visit retired priests - loneliness can be very painful
- encourage younger priests to visit older priests for a chat
- encourage older priests not to loose interest and to come to priests' gatherings
- provide opportunities for priests to get out of solitary places and meet with others
 ONGOING SPIRITUAL GROWTH DURING RETIREMENT
- foster attention to spiritual growth, a time to be with the Lord and with others
- underline retirement as a special time to develop one's relationship with God
- encourage deeper entry into the world of prayer
- encourage priests to have a vision for the future
- provide assistance in finding the meaning of "being" rather than "doing"
- foster human and spiritual development through specially tailored retreats for older priests
- provide formation/information on the spirituality of ageing, the psychology of ageing and the physical changes of ageing
- help priests maintain respect and reverence for themselves in dress and lifestyle
 ACTIVITIES/FACILITIES AVAILABLE DURING RETIREMENT
- create pastoral contacts for retired priests
- create opportunities to socialise and minister according to their giftedness
- find a quasi-official way of regularly "mining their wisdom"
- encourage use of senior citizen groups for learning better ways of being human
- be aware of concerns in the old around "what will happen when my health goes"
- make information available concerning social services available for the elderly eg fare concessions, medical assistance, house keeping assistance etc
- suggest the possibility of keeping a pet
- enlist help of a trained supervisor/case worker to oversee retirement process
- offer helps to remain involved in life and guard against depression
- get someone to show the use of a personal computer for card games, chess and other games, and for the internet packed with information and world news
Canberra, 22 April 1996
- Fr Tom Cruice CSsR Retired Mayfield NSW
- Fr Tom Horgan Retired Adelaide SA
- Fr John Reilly Director ACCCEP Canberra ACT
- Fr John Ryan Centacare Canberra ACT
- Fr Paul Ryan Parish Priest Melbourne VIC
- Sr Mary D'Apice RSCJ, MB, BS, MA, MPS Psychotherapist/Spiritual Director Mosman NSW