Frequently Asked Questions

Three annual parish collections (at Easter, Christmas, and a second collection in September), as well as the annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner event comprise the majority of funding for Clergy Trust. The remaining funds come from a medical insurance assessment for all active priests, paid for by the parish or organization to which they are assigned.

In 2010, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, O.F.M., Cap. established and delegated the Clergy Trust as an independent entity, overseen by a majority lay board of trustees to ensure excellent quality of care, full transparency, and fiscal accountability. This unique model allows for the Trust to offer our priests a team totally and completely dedicated to their care and support from ordination until they are called home to God. Daily operations are overseen by an Executive Director and a small staff that works out of the Pastoral Center in Braintree and Regina Cleri in Boston.

Currently, there are 496 diocesan priests in good standing (304 active and 192 senior) in the Archdiocese of Boston who are eligible for benefits.

“Senior priests” refers to priests who are no longer on active assignment within the Archdiocese. Although priests may request senior status beginning at age 75, we do not refer to them as “retired” because many continue to serve in ministry and fulfill their lifelong commitment to their vocation well past the age of 75.

While many priests take a less active position in their senior years, they still fulfill an important role in enriching the spiritual life of their local community. They celebrate Mass at parishes throughout the Archdiocese when called upon, bring Holy Communion to the housebound and sick, and offer an ongoing source of wisdom and support to those that they encounter throughout all of their daily activities.

Senior priests living at Regina Cleri are on-call 24-hours a day for Massachusetts General Hospital to provide last rites or blessings for the sick.

Benefits available to eligible diocesan priests include:

  • Full medical and dental coverage

  • The Intentional Living Program which encompasses all of the resources, communications, and other support that our priests have access to through various benefits and the Clergy Trust Wellness Coordinator.

  • The Dedicated Care Team, a team of healthcare professionals who are available anytime for our priests as they navigate the healthcare system, experience a medical emergency or issue, and recover from surgery or other health matter. This team includes an RN, Certified Wellness Coach, a licensed clinical social worker, and a licensed nursing home administrator.

  • On-call, dedicated mental health support from a Mental Health Coordinator who is well-trained in assisting clergy specifically.

  • Access to the Regina Cleri Residence to live in when they become senior priests

  • Access to respite care and retreat guest rooms at Regina Cleri when they are active priests

  • Stipends, housing, and retreat allowances for senior priests.

In 2008, Cardinal Seán O’Malley made the financial stabilization of Clergy Trust one of his top priorities. Clergy Trust is managed in a fiscally responsible way to allow for current and future sustainability. Through continued fiscal discipline, Clergy Trust seeks to generate a surplus that will allow it to fund future benefits for our retired priests and continue to keep our promises to all priests.

Stability of Clergy Trust was made possible by a variety of factors. The use of government programs to which all priests are entitled, such as Medicare and Medicaid, reduced overall expenses significantly. The addition of a third collection in September as well as the annual Celebration of the Priesthood event also increased the revenue.

James MacDonald

  • Current Senior Advisor, Fidelity Investments focusing on strategic initiatives.
  • 20+ years as Executive at Fidelity Investments with a proven track record of developing strategies and growing businesses, while delivering long-term financial performance in highly competitive markets.
  • Many years in technology including Athena Health, State Street Corporation, and Bank NY Mellon
  • Longtime parishioner of Holy Family Parish, Duxbury
  • BS, University of Massachusetts; The Wharton School Executive Development Program, University of PA

Rev. Thomas S. Rafferty

  • Ordained a Priest in May 2005
  • Currently serves as Pastor of St. Oscar Romero Parish in Canton, MA
  • Prior assignments include: St. John the Evangelist Parish, Swampscott, St. Patrick Parish, Natick
  • Before entering the seminary, Fr. Rafferty earned his law degree at New England School of Law and worked many years as a lawyer
  • Undergraduate degree from Boston College

Rev. J. Michael Lawlor

  • Ordained a Priest in May 1973
  • Currently serves as Pastor of The Church of St. Paul in Hamilton, MA
  • Prior assignments include: St. Joseph Parish, Needham, St. Maria Goretti Parish, Lynnfield; St. Ann Parish, Peabody; St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish, Danvers; St. Theresa of Avila, West Roxbury
  • Has served on the Archdiocese’s Presbyterial Council, the College of Consultors, the Board of Trustees for Saint John Seminary, and several other Archdiocesan committees

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The Clergy Trust Team and Board of Trustees thank Cardinal Seán for his unfailing commitment to his brother priests and his enthusiasm in working with laity over the last 20 years, creating a lasting legacy on the Archdiocese of Boston and the future care of our clergy.

For his loving ministry, his servant leadership, and his gracious collaboration, we are eternally grateful.

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