Where do old aged priests retire?

I still wonder where priests retire? can you help me out?

Our wonderful priest retired to Florida from Washington state. he was looking forward to some fishing and sunshine. He was pastor who provided so much care for his flock and I trust that he continues this through his prayers and Masses.
May God bless him.

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Ours went to a local retirement/assisted living community.


It really depends, there are many answers to that question. It changes based on were that priest lives and what he wants to do in “retirement”.
A priest technically never truly retires, just stops being the man in charge of the parish. Many continue assisting the parishes in the area where they retire to.
Typically the Church runs houses that cater for the needs of retiring priests.


Some go to retirement/ assisted living communities, especially if they need help with daily tasks, or regular medical care. As someone said, the Church has special places where they send the priests. Some of them are especially for priests and others are just Catholic assisted living/ nursing homes that take priests and also lay Catholics.

Some of them just retire to some property that they own or co-own or rent, like normal retirees.
One of my former pastors retired to a cabin on a lake that I think was owned by the church and they let retired priests live there.
Another one retired to a condominium near his former parish that he’d bought with his own funds.

I’ve also seen retired priests who lived in a rectory with a pastor and/or other priests, and helped out part time with Masses and sacraments as long as they were well enough to continue that arrangement. We had a retired elderly priest at our parish for many years when I was growing up.


Some live in retirement communities or nursing homes. There are some communities specifically for priests. Others live and work on their own until their death, helping out in local parishes.


My local parish has a retired priest with the title “priest in residence” who lives in the rectory. Another in the area lives in a retirement home and offers tlm five days a week in various churches in the archdiocese.


Yep. I’ve been involved in a number of parishes with a retired priest in residence. Though free from the administrative tasks of a pastor, they are more free to help out with the sacramental life of the parish. They have been crucial to successfully sustaining the parishes that I’ve been a part of.


One from my parents’ parish retired here in Las Vegas, but unfortunately passed before I was able to look him up . . .

And I recall a cartoon in the parish center in PA years ago . . . it showed a priest retirement home, with a few on the porch, and one warning, “Quick! everyone start drooling! It’s the bishop, looking for priests to pull out of retirement!”


The parish I grew up in was part of the San Francisco Arch-diocese (now San Jose), founded by a priest (who was probably already a thorn in the arch-bishops side) who was sent with no resources to start it (did I mention the thorn thing?).

Anyway, he was sent before the six year term thing, and stayed there until a fairly late retirement.

Now, at that point, diocesan rules didn’t allow retired priests to live in the rectory.

So the men’s club at the parish got a building permit and built an apartment about six feet away . . . :crazy_face::rofl::thinking: . . . and he remained there, able to eat in the rectory, until his passing . . .

In my current parish, Byzantine and without the bizarre US terms of appointment as pastor, our priest has commented, “I’ll probably die here” :exploding_head::thinking::scream::rofl: . . . and we’ll happily keep him.

His predecessor was a borrowed bi-ritual Franciscan, who had a stroke while here. He asked his order to retire more than one, and was told, “Oh, no! You stay there with those people! They take far better care of you than we could!” (and, in fact, they had!) But, eventually, he went to one of their conferences, and they accepted it was past time, and pulled him . . . [also, note that the time/load on a priest is a bit lower in a parish with about 100 families than it is in a large RC parish . . . {well, at least until you end up with both a school and a pre-school, like we have now . . .}]

And there was a Ukrainian Catholic priest that finally and reluctantly retired a couple of years ago when he couldn’t go on . . . at about 95, after 49 years in the same parish! He was baptizing grandchildren of folks he had baptized . . .

[note: in most of the world, assignment as a pastor is permanent, and a pastor has a right to not be removed without cause. In the RCC, this is also the norm, but there is a provision allowing the national bishops to choose terms instead. The US is one of a couple of countries that has done this]

My uncle is 86 and lives in a house owned by the Church. Although officially retired, he travels around to all the Catholic nursing homes every Sunday to say Mass for the oldies.


Some choose not to. They die with their boots on.

A past parish of mine had a resident priest who was in semi retirement. He sometimes co-celebrated Mass with the main priest, and sometimes even said Mass by himself, especially on weekdays. He wasn’t able to stand or walk very well for longer periods so he mostly did the shorter Masses. Some of the older folks who knew him from long ago still asked for appointments for confession or asked him to do funerals and things, which as far as I know, he always agreed to do, but I think otherwise he was generally freed from all the routines. He did hold talks though on a vast variety of topics (he was extremely knowledgeable on many topics ranging from church history, lives of the saints through to art, philopsophy, psychology, education and could make even apparently dry and boring subjects seem appealing and interesting) and he also participated in various other social activities as far as his health would allow. He had a quick Irish wit and a down to earth Irish outlook and knew how to call a spade a spade. He had quite a different style and outlook from our regular priest but was very gentlemanly about it and never tried to interfere or criticize. In a way their relationship reminded me of that between our present Pope and his predecessor.

His activities gradually decreased and we would see less and less of him. Finally he moved to a care home where I actually visited him once. Sadly he passed away.

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In the Diocese of Owensboro, there are small priest houses behind the Carmel Home for Aged. The priests can come to the Carmel Home for meals if they desire. The sisters have a little alcove off the main dining room for the priests, and always have it set with tablecloths, fabric napkins, the works! I think it’s so nice.

I live in another diocese now, though, and my pastor will be retiring next year and moving to a vacation home he purchased years ago.

The answers are so varied.

I grew up in the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY, and there was a nursing home in Louisville specifically for the clergy. In correspondence with the late Archbishop Kelly regarding nursing care for the clergy, he said that the “four great motherhouses historically situated in the archdiocese” always came through for him when asked.

When my “home” parish had a rectory open house this past year, I saw a picture one of the “priest-retirees” wearing a LifeAlert around his neck while giving a tour (in an online article, that is).

In Knoxville, TN, the late Fr. Henkel had served Holy Ghost for over 30 years. He “died with his boots on” of double pneumonia over Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the day after. Date of death was December 26.

In Alabama, there were nooks and crannies around the state where the retired priests would get apartments.

Our pastor in Missouri came out of retirement to heal the parish. Absolutely astounding man with even more astounding results with the parish. His writings are in the MLK Center in Atlanta and he even worked with MLK, if memory serves correctly.

Around here, we have a nursing home/assisted living complex conducted by the Poor Servants of the Mother of God. One hot-tempered Oblate of St. Francis de Sales retired out there. Our now “senior priest” would go out to visit him on a regular basis. The dialogue was usually like this:

"Is there anything you need?


"Do you want me to leave?


Some Oblates go back to the motherhouse in Childs, MD.


Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican

Diocesan priests have two options - they can use the retirement facilities provided to them by their diocese OR they can rent or buy their own place, if they have the resources to do so.

Religious priests use the facilities provided by their Order.

Deacon Christopher


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