The strength and vibrancy of our communities depend on the health and well-being of our priests, including our senior priests, who have celebrated our marriages, baptized our children, and blessed our loved ones as they have been called home to God.
When Christ called Peter out of the boat in the Gospel of Matthew, he never explained how he would walk on water. He just said, "Come."
Every day, men answer this call to be priests across the Archdiocese of Boston. Their daily commitment is so much more than a job -- it's a lifelong vocation of sacrifice for not only the needs of the faithful, but the broader community. The life of a priest does not necessarily accommodate free nights and weekends. It's a 24/7 calling that priests selflessly answer with joy and compassion for all.
The tireless commitment of our priests has shaped the history of Greater Boston in so many ways. In 1969, a local priest with true compassion for the poor, Msgr. Frank Kelley, helped found the Pine Street Inn. For the last 50 years, the shelter, which has become a world-renowned beacon of social advocacy, has offered support to nearly 2,000 men and women every day. Years later, in 2006, another local priest, Father Paul O'Brien, had a similar mission in mind when he helped to start the Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence. Every year, Cor Unum offers nearly 250,000 meals to poor families, orphans, the unemployed, homeless, senior citizens, and so many others in need.
Our priests not only support the local community, but they also have an impact on our nation, on the future of our Church, and on the world. Father Jim Ronan, in addition to serving his parish community in Charlestown, founded the Rostro de Cristo organization to bring students and volunteers to work with the poor living on the margins in Ecuador. These students and volunteers learn to see the face of Christ in all they meet, no matter who they are. This work brings Christ into their lives in a special way and shapes how they live, interact with others, and chart professional paths for years to come. This organization is helping to shape our Church, not only locally, but across our nation.
These are just three of the many examples of priests in action who are building stronger communities. It is clear that the healthier our priests are, the stronger our communities will be.
At the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust (CHRT), we've made a promise to support our priests in good standing, bolstering their health and well-being to ensure a lifetime of service to the Church. CHRT focuses on three main programs. Our Intentional Living Program encourages priests to live mindfully and practice preventative care. Our Care Team offers guidance when priests are hospitalized or senior priests need support at home. Regina Cleri, a state-of-the-art facility within walking distance of world-class healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital, allows our senior priests to live in a healthy, caring community.
At CHRT, we're committed to priests because they are committed to us. The strength and vibrancy of our communities depend on the health and well-being of our priests, including our senior priests, who have celebrated our marriages, baptized our children, and blessed our loved ones as they have been called home to God. Please consider giving generously to our special collection on Sept. 14-15 to support those priests who have made a lasting difference in our communities. Help us keep our promises to care for them.
JOSEPH D'ARRIGO IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CLERGY HEALTH AND RETIREMENT TRUST, AN INDEPENDENTLY MANAGED TRUST WITH A MAJORITY LAY BOARD OF TRUSTEES. THE FUNDS ARE USED FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF ACTIVE AND SENIOR PRIESTS IN GOOD STANDING.