Supporting our priests this September
As a student at Boston College, I learned the value of being a man for others. The Jesuit characteristic, I believe, has been changed since my school days to include a man or woman for and with others. This is something I strive to accomplish in my everyday life, and something that I look to priests for to find living examples.
At B.C., I was surrounded by Jesuits who had significant and meaningful impacts on who I was to become. As I moved on through adulthood, I have been blessed to know wonderful priests who have also embodied compassion and service to others. All of these men, as St. Francis of Assisi said, preached the Gospel always, using words only when necessary. Their lives reflected a deep and faithful love of God and a true empathetic love of neighbor. I am very grateful for the role these men have played in my life and the lives of my wife, Linda, and our children.
I have to admit, though priests have always been a part of my life, I never really gave much thought to their healthcare or retirement. I think it's very easy to forget that priests are human beings, given everything they are called to do. However, a few years back, Linda and I were introduced to the Clergy Trust and learned about the 360-degree care and support that is provided to our priests. We were blown away.
As a husband and father, I am incredibly fortunate to have my family's support if I have health issues. For priests, they would usually have to walk that road alone. However, thanks to the Clergy Trust, our priests have support every step of the way when facing any kind of medical issue, and can rely on the Clergy Trust Care Team to bring them to and from appointments and check in on them when they're sick or recovering from a surgery or other medical procedure.
Similarly, I am blessed with an amazing woman and true partner in life with Linda. If ever one of us is going through a difficult time, the other is there to pick up the slack or offer a listening ear. Priests don't have that luxury. Much of their ministry is spent being present for families and individuals experiencing tragedy or hardship, serving those in dire need, and praying for the lost, the lonely, or the forgotten. They give so much of themselves to whomever they are called to serve, and oftentimes then go home to an empty rectory or house. The Clergy Trust team offers myriad resources and programs for healthy living, space for respite or retreat, and also helps arrange mental wellness options.
For these reasons, and so many others, the Clergy Trust really provides a unique support system for all of our active and senior priests in good standing. From overseeing, facilitating, and assisting in their health benefits, to offering programs and resources that promote a healthy lifestyle, to operating the Regina Cleri Residence for senior priests in downtown Boston, the Clergy Trust team ensures our priests have the care that they deserve from the day they are ordained until the day they are called home to God.
Our pastor, Father Tom Nestor, and his predecessor, Father Tom Rafferty, have not just been spiritual fathers to parishioners of Resurrection and St. Paul's in Hingham, they have been fixtures of the entire Hingham community. And so it is in cities and towns throughout the archdiocese.
Linda and I served as this year's chairs for the annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner, and the video shown at the event highlighted three other priests who exemplify the way Catholic priests are a blessing to all with their seemingly limitless generosity of grace and spirit: Father Bob Deehan in Duxbury, Father Marcos Enrique in Dorchester, and Father Jim Ronan in Danvers. All of these men are transforming communities -- transforming lives -- through their ministry. Linda and I are honored to be able to give back to them, and to all the priests who do so much for our communities, by supporting the Clergy Trust.
This weekend, you'll have a chance to support the Clergy Trust with a gift to the second collection at parishes throughout the archdiocese. Or you can go online and make your donation at clergytrust.org, where you will also be able to see this year's Celebration of the Priesthood video I referenced above. It's a wonderful and uplifting testament to the men who play such an important role, not only in our lives, but in our society as a whole.
JAY HOOLEY AND HIS WIFE LINDA ARE PARISHIONERS OF THE COLLABORATIVE PARISHES OF RESURRECTION AND ST. PAUL IN HINGHAM AND SERVED AS CHAIRS FOR THE 2023 CELEBRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD DINNER.