Clergy Trust hosts Regina Cleri open house

BOSTON -- Regina Cleri hosted its second annual open house on June 15, giving the archdiocese's active priests an opportunity to get to know the retirement community and learn about the healthcare resources available to them at any age.

Clergy Trust representatives and visiting priests joined Regina Cleri residents in the chapel for a Mass celebrated by Msgr. Francis Kelley, the chaplain of Regina Cleri. After the Mass, representatives from Clergy Trust's different programs were present to speak about their services, and tours were available for visitors to see the rooms upstairs. Visitors and residents then enjoyed lunch and a brief speaking program outside.

Michael Scannell, the executive director of Clergy Trust, said the open house was "a great way to showcase the facility, provide some tours, allow them to get to know the community a little bit better."

Regina Cleri is one of three programs supported by Clergy Trust, the other two being the Intentional Living Program and the Dedicated Care Team. These provide for the health and wellbeing of the archdiocese's priests in good standing.

"Our real focus is making sure that our priests are doing well so they can continue to serve the communities where they minister," Scannell said.

Regina Cleri has about 60 senior priests in residence, who are able to age in place while still participating in ministry for as long as they are able and wish to do so. The facility also has rooms available for priests who need temporary respite, whether they are recovering from a surgery or in need of a retreat.

"It's a place that priests should consider their own, that they have access to," Scannell said.

Those visiting on the day of the open house were able to receive tours of Regina Cleri, which operates like something in between a hospital and a hotel. The staff, aided by a few Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, provide services from laundry to transportation to healthcare advocacy. Nursing staff and aides are on-site for those who need around-the-clock care. Residents can participate in daily Mass and social activities, such as outings to museums, restaurants, or baseball games.

Stephen Gust, the director of Regina Cleri, said they want the residents to be active, and that they can participate in ministry as much as they want. If they are no longer able to go into parishes, they can minister to those within the community by celebrating the Mass and visiting other residents.

Father John Mulloy, a Regina Cleri resident who attended the June 15 lunch, expressed appreciation for the nursing staff and the "atmosphere of priests," where he can concelebrate Mass every day. He can no longer use stairs, so he is grateful for the facility's elevators.

"When I unexpectedly found my health deteriorating, I was so happy that there was a place to go that was secure and healthy," he said.

Regina Cleri was originally built by Cardinal Richard Cushing in 1964. The chapel was renovated in 2019 to make it more physically accessible, reopening shortly before the pandemic hit.

Scannell commended Regina Cleri's care of the priests during the pandemic. He said the staff did "an outstanding job getting the community through the COVID period."

"The Regina Cleri community did exceptionally well keeping the care and the wellness of our senior residents here a top priority," he said.

The community only recently lifted its mask mandate and began allowing lay groups to visit over the last few months. Gust explained that the one thing some of their residents miss is being among the lay faithful, so they have hosted events like picnics and had groups from schools or charities visit.

"It's been nice to finally get back to where we were prior to COVID," Gust said.

He said that the average age of the residents is about 87, but because of the quality of care they receive through Clergy Trust, there are many priests in their 90s who live as though they were 75.

"Regina Cleri is a very special place, and we're blessed with Cardinal Seán's leadership and the Clergy Trust that we have this opportunity to provide incredible service to men that gave so much to us, to this Church," Gust said.