Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Encore Priests

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Finding New Purpose, New Meaning and New Direction in Retirement

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

  • 50% of U.S. priests will have reached retirement age by 2020.

  • Priesthood ordinations are running below the replacement rate.
  • Priests are living longer since original retirement ages were established.
  • A growing body of literature says "Baby Boomers" are wanting to re-invent themselves, combining personal meaning and social purpose.
  • Many retired priests hunger for more than weekend fill-in ministry.

Personally Life-Giving

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 ways.

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.