What is the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust?
The Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is comprised of four individual trust funds:
- The Clergy Benefit Funding Trust
- The Clergy Medical/Hospitalization Trust
- The Clergy Retirement Trust, and
- The Regina Cleri Trust.
These Trusts finance the health, welfare, and retirement benefits of all active and senior priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) who are in good standing.
How is the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust managed?
Effective July 1, 2010, the independent Clergy Health and Retirement Trust was established with an independent Board of Trustees comprised of local business leaders and members of the clergy who oversee the Trusts. The Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is managed on a daily basis by an Executive Director and a staff of six at the Pastoral Center in Braintree.
How many priests benefit from the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust in the Archdiocese of Boston?
Currently, there are 536 diocesan priests in the Archdiocese. All priests considered in good standing who have been incardinated in the RCAB are eligible for benefits.
Who are the 'senior priests,' and what is their role?
Senior priests are those 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 at Regina Cleri are also on-call 24-hours a day at Massachusetts General Hospital, serving as a visible sign of God's presence among us during life's joys and sorrows. This ministry is valued deeply by patients and their families who turn to their priests during some of life's most critical circumstances when support is most needed.
How is the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust financed?
Three annual parish collections and the annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner comprise 60% of the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust. These collections, supported by the generosity of parishioners, occur at Christmas, Easter, and during the month of September. The remaining 40% of the funds come from a medical insurance assessment for all active priests, paid for by the parish or organization to which they are assigned.
What benefits are offered through the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust?
Benefits available to eligible diocesan priests in the RCAB include: medical and dental coverage for all priests; a Comprehensive Emotional Wellness Program; support and maintenance of the Regina Cleri Residence; some nursing home and assisted living costs; stipends, housing and retreat allowances for senior priests.
What is the financial status of the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust?
In 2008, Cardinal Seán O'Malley made the financial stabilization of the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust one of his top priorities. The Clergy Health and Retirement Trust is managed in a fiscally responsible way to allow for current and future sustainability. Through continued fiscal discipline, the Clergy Health and Retirement 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 the Clergy Health and Retirement 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 Celebration of the Priesthood dinner also increased the revenue.
To provide care for the increasing number of senior priests and continue to care for active priests, the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust will seek to raise an additional $20 million in the next five years. This support will help sustain the Trust for the foreseeable future.