Providing a fraternal community for our senior priests

Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Boston lies a quiet sanctuary housing 64 men who collectively represent 2,980 years of ministerial service. Built in 1964 under the direction of Cardinal Richard J. Cushing, Regina Cleri is a residence for senior priests, which also provides respite, nursing, and hospice care for our senior and active clergy.

With an average age of 87, the residents of Regina Cleri enjoy a fraternal community where, together, they can continue to live out their vocations. Over meals, activities, and leisure time, they share the challenges they’ve faced and the lessons they’ve learned. They share stories of all the joyous occasions they’ve experienced throughout their priesthoods. And, perhaps most importantly, they share their faith and prepare together for what’s to come.

Many of the residents continue to attend to ministerial duties as senior priests at parishes within the archdiocese. Daily Mass is celebrated in Regina Cleri’s beautiful chapel, which was recently renovated to better accommodate wheelchairs and other physical needs of a senior population.

“It really is a very special place,” notes Regina Cleri Director Stephen Gust. “Our entire team, from the nursing staff to the cooks to the groundskeepers, take great pride in taking special care of these remarkable men who have provided pastoral care to so many for so long.

Regina Cleri is operated by Clergy Trust, an independent entity that provides ongoing care and support for the health, well-being, and retirement of all senior and active diocesan priests in good standing across Greater Boston. In addition to Regina Cleri, Clergy Trust provides preventive health and wellness programs to priests of all ages through its Intentional Living Program. Exercise programs, speaking events, seminars, and weekly newsletters help to support priests – who are often so focused on the needs of others – to better focus on their own wellness needs.

When healthcare issues do arise, Clergy Trust’s Dedicated Care Team provides one-on-one support and advocacy to help priests navigate through today’s complex healthcare system.

The priesthood requires a 24-hour a day, seven-day a week commitment. While, of course, priests do enjoy vacations or retreats, their commitment to others never stops. And, even in their senior status years, they continue to serve others and each other with spiritual guidance and prayer. Having an outstanding facility like Regina Cleri, where senior priests can support one another while they themselves receive the care and support they deserve, is an important priority of Clergy Trust, its board of trustees, and its donors.

“It has been my privilege to serve on the boards of many nonprofits in the Boston area; however, the work of the Clergy Trust board has been especially meaningful to me, explains Trustee Sharon McNally.
“Clergy Trust cares for the priests who have not only had a positive impact on my own life, but also on the lives of countless others in our communities. Our priests work in food banks and homeless shelters, they advocate for social justice, comfort the sick and dying, minister to those struggling with addiction, and much more. Simply put, wherever you see people in need, you will find a priest to help.”

Executive Director of Clergy Trust Mike Scannell concludes, “We are so grateful to our donors whose contributions help to make Regina Cleri, and all the programs of Clergy Trust, available to our priests, who have done so much to care for all of us through their life’s work as they carry forth God’s mission.

This article was originally published on The Boston Pilot.

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