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Support our priests this September

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The Celebration of the Priesthood and the special collection this weekend help to fund Clergy Trust, which provides programs and resources to ensure the health and well-being of our priests in good standing.

We recently celebrated the life of Father Paul Rouse, who was called home to God unexpectedly last month. Father Rouse was a dear friend who shared in many of the happiest and saddest moments of our family's lives. During his time as a pastor at Holy Name in West Roxbury, Father Rouse would often come over to our house and play the piano as we all sang along. He baptized our children and celebrated their first Communions. Most importantly, he was a mainstay of our strength during the life of our daughter Marisol, who passed away at age eight after a long illness.

Dealing with the terminal illness of one's child can lead to the questioning of the very core of one's faith. We were so fortunate to have the guidance and support of Father Rouse and many other priests during our time with Marisol. He helped us to always see God's grace and beauty in Marisol and all our children, and he helped to keep us all close to God during our darkest times. And when Marisol passed away, Father Rouse was among those participating at her funeral, officiated by Father Arnold Colletti, joining us in our grief but also reminding us of the beauty of Marisol's eternal life with our Lord.

Because of our gratitude for Father Rouse and many other priests who have meant so much to our family, we were tremendously honored to be asked to serve as co-chairs of this year's annual Celebration of the Priesthood. This special virtual event on Sept. 21 honors the work of wonderful priests like Father Rouse throughout our archdiocese.

The Celebration of the Priesthood and the special collection this weekend help to fund Clergy Trust, which provides programs and resources to ensure the health and well-being of our priests in good standing. Currently, there are nearly 530 of these men throughout our archdiocese who have answered God's call to be our shepherds. These priests have dedicated their lives to caring for us and, through Clergy Trust, we are able to care for them in return.

Donations to Clergy Trust support Regina Cleri, a state-of-the-art facility where senior priests can continue to live their faith in community. In April, we were fortunate to visit Father Rouse at Regina Cleri, where he joined us for a special Mass for our family on what would have been Marisol's 21st birthday. We were so impressed to witness the outstanding care and community provided to our senior priests at Regina Cleri, and it's comforting to know that Father Rouse was so well taken care of during his final days on Earth.

In addition to the care our senior priests receive at Regina Cleri before they journey home to God, Clergy Trust also provides two outstanding programs for our active priests. The Intentional Living Program provides preventative healthcare and wellness programs to help keep our priests active, healthy, and well. And the Care Team of Clergy Trust provides one-on-one support and advocacy to priests with healthcare concerns. We know first-hand how daunting and overwhelming it can be to navigate through our healthcare system and, thanks to Clergy Trust, our priests don't have to face that alone.

Each September, we have two opportunities to show our appreciation for all that our priests do for our communities. We encourage everyone to support the health and well-being of our priests with a donation to Clergy Trust during this weekend's collection. Envelopes will be available in pews during Mass, or you can use the envelope enclosed in today's Pilot. And please join us for this year's Celebration of the Priesthood -- a virtual event on Sept. 21 that will highlight some of the inspiring stories of the work of priests throughout the Archdiocese of Boston. Complimentary registration is open at clergytrust.org/celebration. We are so grateful for all that priests have done for our family and we are honored to be able to do something in return.

TOM AND TRICIA O'BRIEN ARE PARISHIONERS OF ST. CECILIA PARISH IN BOSTON AND CO-CHAIRS OF THE 2021 CELEBRATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD.



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