Archbishop celebrates Mass and hosts lunch for retired priests
These people have given so much of their life to God and it’s lovely to be able to do something in return for them,” said Narelle Holt of the Archdiocese’s Clergy Retirement Foundation.
Ms Holt is the Archdiocese’s health coordinator who cares for and supports our retired priests. She was speaking to the Catholic Voice during Archbishop Christopher Prowse’s annual celebration of Mass and hosting of lunch for those “who have given so much of their life to God.”
This year, Bishop Emeritus Pat Power and eleven others of the Archdiocese’s retired clergy celebrated Mass with the Archbishop at the Archbishop’s House in central Canberra on 6 December.
The oldest member of the ranks was Fr Paul Bateman and at the other end of the spectrum, Fr Michael Burke joined the gathering for the first time.
In his homily during the celebration of the Mass, the Archbishop highlighted how the priestly vocation was related to the themes of the Archdiocese’s Year of the Holy Spirit currently underway.
He said the priests had experienced an encounter with the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Holy Orders and their pastoral work with the faithful “particularly in their trials and sorrows”.
They had also exercised discipleship, including during “some very deep darknesses in our own lives and the lives of the people we’ve served…[where] we’ve learned so much”.
For the third aspect of the mission, the Archbishop noted, “even if you’re retired, you’re still on a mission.”
The Archbishop has previously said our retired priests never really retire, with many continuing to exercise their ministry through celebrating Mass and other duties when parish clergy are unavailable.
Clergy Retirement Foundation manager Paul Monagle said the Archdiocese is responsible for caring and supporting 25 retired priests, including several in their nineties.
“It’s a great privilege to be here for Mass with them…just caring for them is a real, real honour,” Mr Monagle said.
For Narelle Holt, her work with our retired priests was a “special ministry”.
“I love what I do. I feel I’ve brought a little bit of enjoyment into their lives. I have a great rapport with all of them, and it’s just a pleasure to see them through their later years and be there for them.”
“I just jump in and do it,” Ms Holt said.
The Archdiocese’s Clergy Retirement Foundation supports and cares and helps provide accommodation, financial assistance and health care for our retired priests.
An annual Father’s Day Appeal is held each September for retired priests. Donations year-round are also welcome and can be made at: