Priests and 'Retirement'

EDUCATION OF CLERGY FOR AND DURING RETIREMENT

BASIC PRINCIPLES

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."

[1] 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

[2] 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

[3] 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

[4] 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

CONSULTATION MEMBERS

  • 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
  • Created: 24 August 2008
  • Modified: 23 April 2009
  • Posted in: Papers
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