How Do Retired Catholic Priests Live?

Retired Catholic priests may live in clergy retirement homes, private dwellings or assisted living facilities; they may also live in parish rectories at the invitation of the pastor. While retired priests are no longer responsible for the day-to-day management of a parish, they often have other responsibilities and contribute as they are able. For example, retired priests may still say mass, hear confessions, attend to the sick and perform other duties to help their parishes.

The Catholic Church in the United States has a shortage of priestly vocations; therefore, more retired priests are called upon to serve their communities by providing sacraments. These include Holy Communion, Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Sick. Retired priests may also assist pastors by keeping them from feeling isolated, giving advice and filling in during weekly masses. In large parishes, retired priests may even perform marriages and preside over funerals.

Catholics support retired priests by giving offerings at mass and contributing to yearly fund-raising drives that help pay for priests' retirement and health care needs. Additionally, priests receive a yearly salary from the church for their work; many priests contribute to retirement plans and use this money to pay for living expenses after they retire. Retirement can bring on new expenses for priests who move from a parish rectory to live in a private apartment or house, including rent, upkeep and utilities.

In some cases, priests may move to a residence, such as St. John Paul II Residence for Priests in Georgetown, Texas. This retirement home provides a community for retired priests. It helps them transition from busy parish life, where many priests feel at home, to the slower pace of retirement. The St. John Paul II residence also strives to keep priests in touch with the communities they served.