By the very nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders, priests always
have some form of priestly ministry. But how can a mature priest
transition into a retirement that is meaningful and vital?
The Current Situation
of U.S. priests will have reached retirement age by
ordinations are running below the replacement rate.
are living longer since original retirement ages were
growing body of literature says "Baby Boomers" are wanting to
re-invent themselves, combining personal meaning and social
retired priests hunger for more than weekend fill-in
Encore Priests is a series of workshops for senior clergy,
assisting them through the transition into retirement, helping them
discern their call to priestly ministry in retirement, and training
them for new ministries to continue offering their
wisdom while extending their generous service in new and creative
From the Church's Documents
Pastores Dabo Vobis (no. 77) and
the Directory on the Ministry and Life of
Priests (no. 95) strongly urge ongoing formation for
senior priests. They note that such formation must be both
supportive in the face of challenges at this stage of life and
encouraging in helping priests continue to make their unique and
irreplaceable contribution to the Church and its mission on the
basis of their experience and season of life.
Pre-Retirement Preparation - helping priests prepare
for and accomplish a healthy transition into priestly ministry and
identity at the conclusion of pastoral assignments.