Ordination to the Priesthood is a life-long vocation.
At ordination, a priest promises he will faithfully fulfil all the demands of priestly life in obedience to his bishop. And the bishop in turn, commits to care for the new priest throughout the whole of his ministry - right through to his retirement and beyond.
After a lifetime of sacrifice and service, no priest should face retirement with financial uncertainty.
For many years Bishop Patrick was concerned about providing accommodation for our retired priests, and after much discussion, St John Vianney House was opened in November 2001 in Vermont St in Ponsonby. It was named after that great saint, John Vianney, the patron saint of all priests.
Over the years, 55 priests have either lived or convalesced there. It has self-contained individual apartments for ten priests at a time and they are currently all full.
Will you help me to help our retired priests?
As we ordain young men to priesthood, more of our priests are reaching retirement age. The fact is that very few actually 'retire' until well into their 70s and even 80s.
Over the years, many priests have resided in St John Vianney House where living options are designed both for those who are still active and require very little in the way of assistance, and also for those who have reduced mobility. In the difficult time of transition from active ministry to retirement, it is important that a priest can expect to live with comfort and dignity - to experience the comforts of home while enjoying the companionship and care that comes from living in a secure, community environment.
The combined service given to the Church by the ten men who live at St John Vianney House at present comes to 564 years.
We are deeply grateful for the services of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master who provide these services with great generosity and kindness.
St John Vianney House has now reached capacity, and planning is well under way to build another seven units and to upgrade the existing facilities.
I need your help to raise an additional one million dollars to complete this project. For years we have needed our priests, now they need us - both you and me - to help them in their senior years.
Please give generously to this worthwhile cause.
Yours, in gratitude.DONTAT
Bishop Patrick Dunn
- Build seven new self-contained units for retired priests
- Upgrade and extend the kitchen, dining room and lounge
When I was ordained in 1957 I certainly wasn't thinking, what will I do when I retire? But some 58 years later I was aged 83! Came the nagging question - is it time to retire? Is it time to move on? What do you do with such thoughts?
Where would I live during retirement? The obvious choice was John Vianney House. There was a spare room and I could move there and join the other 9 priests already in residence - one of them 95 years old - and I knew them all!
As many retirees will know it is not always easy to move from one life style to another. The pace is slower, sometimes almost monotonous. But there is time to appreciate the good things that unfolded in your years of ministry and the people that supported you.
The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master have as their main ministry adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the promotion of liturgical items. Their founder also gave them the ministry of caring for retired priests.
And that is how they came to care for John Vianney House. One of the Sisters, Justina, with the assistance of a splendid cook, Elizabeth, sees to it that those needing medication take their tablets at the right time, drives them to a doctor and generally is the smiling Sister of John Vianney House! We, the retired priests, appreciate them. Just as we will be grateful to those who support the appeal to extend St John Vianney House. There are priests nearing retirement age. We need to have rooms for them.
Monsignor Brian Arahill