Clergy members are the heartbeat of any Catholic community. Ask a Catholic friend about priests that inspired them, comforted them, and brought them joy over the years. The stories and memories flow freely. Priests dedicate their lives in service to God and minister to thousands through parishes, schools, and organizations as spiritual companions, confessors, and often close friends. Even in retirement many continue to serve. The call to priesthood is unique and sacrificial. For priests, the Church quite literally becomes their family. Families take care of their own and one way our Catholic community cares for its priests is through endowment building in the Catholic Foundation.
Each year the Catholic Foundation awards grants to the Diocese of Erie to help meet the needs of both aging and active clergy. Through the Clergy Health and Welfare Endowment, $64,653 was granted to the diocese in 2021. Additional grants are generated through endowments designated for clergy support that were established by generous individual donors.
As Vicar for Clergy, Father Nicholas Rouch is a resource and advocate for clergy in the diocese and uniquely aware of the impact these grant funds have on them. “Financial resources help us provide programming that keeps our active clergy strong,” explains Fr. Rouch. “It also allows us to help retired clergy who need assistance meeting the financial obligations associated with aging, such as insurance co-pays, and cost of medication and therapies not covered by insurance.” Endowments in the Catholic Foundation also provide supplemental income to cover the costs for residency and services in retirement communities and advocacy services for priests following health crises to maximize recovery and provide a support network.
Currently 26% of diocesan priests are between the ages of 60 and 69. 25% are between the ages of 70 and 79. And 18% are 80 years or older. Clergy health and welfare expenses will continue to increase as many of our priests head into their retirement years. For this reason, annual grants from endowments designated for clergy health and welfare have a greater impact each year.
Honor a favorite priest with a gift in his name.
Generous donors have helped to grow the Clergy Health and Welfare Endowment of the Catholic Foundation over the years increasing its impact. Your gift designated for this endowment or any endowment designated to support clergy health and welfare needs will be gratefully received and will positively impact these faithful servants of the Diocese of Erie.
“Financial resources help us provide programming that keeps our active clergy strong. It also allows us to help retired clergy who need assistance meeting the financial obligations associated with aging.”