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'Life is a gift'

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I speak for my brother priests in expressing gratitude for the care and attention given to our health and retirement needs, particularly for our brothers who are sick and suffering.

Father Bryan K.
Parrish

Life is a gift, as our faith teaches us so well. These past seven years I have had the opportunity to run in the Falmouth Road Race, as a fundraiser for a charity that is close to my heart. As some of you may know, this road race is a 7.3 mile stretch of Falmouth, beginning in the rolling hills of Woods Hole and finishing by the shining sea at Falmouth Heights. I am always inspired by the goodness and generosity of the many folks running for a variety of charities, as well as the enthusiasm of the crowd. I am also grateful that I have the health to run the race, particularly in a world where there is so much sickness and suffering. Life is a gift.

The Clergy Health and Retirement Fund, funded through three yearly parish collections and the Celebration of Priesthood dinner, supports the health and retirement needs of the many diocesan priests who serve so faithfully in parishes and ministries throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. Certainly, the health and well-being of our priests is a concern for us all, and is a common theme of Cardinal Sean's often gentle reminder to the priests "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." We want and need our priests to be joyful and vital ministers of the Lord's sacramental grace in our parish and ministries, as well as encouraging examples to our many young seminarians.

When a priest requires a routine medical procedure, the Clergy Funds is there. When a priest is faced with a serious hospitalization, the Clergy Funds is there. When a priest needs time to assess the effects of stress and address his emotional well-being, the Clergy Funds is there. In addition to attending to these aspects of a priest's health and well-being, the Clergy Funds also sponsors a variety of priest seminars and retreats throughout the year to support our priests physically, emotionally and spiritually. Your generous donation to the Clergy Health and Retirement Fund sustains the gift of life in each and every diocesan priest serving in this archdiocese, enabling these men to continue to live healthy, active and grace-filled lives.

In my ministry as episcopal vicar for Clergy, in addition to supporting the priests in our midst who are in active ministry, I also have the privilege of meeting regularly with our fine senior priests, particularly those in residence at Regina Cleri in the West End of Boston.

When I celebrate Holy Mass at Regina Cleri and look out at the elderly faces of the 54 priest residents there, who are concelebrating with me, I see many hundreds of years of faithful, generous priestly ministry. Now that these men are in their senior years, they need some additional care and attention. The health and retirement needs of these great men, as well as all of our senior priests, those living in rectories and those living independently, is supported by the Clergy Funds and, I can assure you, is received gratefully by them. They have been so good to so many through the years, now it is our chance to give back to them.

Our Lord tells us in chapter 10 of St. John's Gospel: "I came that they might have life and have it to the full." As priests of the Archdiocese of Boston, we have the privilege of serving a faithful flock, God's holy people, with a shepherd's heart. I speak for my brother priests in expressing gratitude for the care and attention given to our health and retirement needs, particularly for our brothers who are sick and suffering. For those of us who enjoy good health, it is our desire to serve you for many years to come, through God's grace and our own attentiveness. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your generosity to the Easter collection, which in its entirety supports the Clergy Health and Retirement Fund for the priests of the Archdiocese of Boston. Life is a gift. Indeed, life is God's gift to us.

FATHER PARRISH IS EPISCOPAL VICAR FOR CLERGY AND SECRETARY FOR PARISH LIFE AND LEADERSHIP OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON.

Father Parrish is episcopal vicar for Clergy and secretary for Parish Life and Leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston.

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