SALT LAKE CITY — Priests provide pastoral care throughout the Diocese of Salt Lake City well beyond the usual retirement age of 70. To help support the 13 retired diocesan priests, the Priests’ Retirement Collection will be held during the weekend Masses Sept. 22-23 in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
The Priests Retirement Collection is taken up in parishes throughout the United States each year to help pay for the monthly living expenses of retired priests.
"After active ministry, priests no longer rely upon the parishes to support them; many live independently in retirement," said Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. "The collection provides partial funding for the diocese to utilize in caring for and providing the necessary resources to the diocesan retired priests. Since priests make a relatively modest salary all their lives, most are not able to put aside enough money to pay for their retirement years when they are no longer drawing a salary from a parish or institution."
Social Security and, in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, the Diocesan Development Drive also contribute to the priests’ needs.
"I think the Priest Retirement Fund is a blessing for retired priests," said Monsignor Matthew O. Wixted, who retired in 2009 and celebrated his 50th jubilee this summer at Saint Patrick College in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, where he was born.
"The idea behind the Priests Retirement Fund is so those who have served and worked as priests in the diocese can live in a dignified manner in their retirement," Msgr. Wixted said, adding that he appreciates being able to serve even in his retirement.
"I have a deep sense of gratitude for the priests in my active years who were so supportive of me, so I like that I can be of some service where I am needed by filling in for them while they are on vacation or away for some other reason," he said. "It is my desire to be of support to those priests who supported and assisted me in my ministry. It is important to have a connectedness with my brother priests and that is why I concelebrate the daily Mass at Saint Ann Parish and sometimes the weekend Masses as well."