It is with mixed feelings of anticipation and uncertainty, gratitude and even a little sadness in my heart that I want to share with you some of what I know about my future plans, especially because this involves our parishes so much too.
The official retirement age for priests in our Archdiocese is 68. I will turn 68 (God willing) in February, 2019. Following regular procedures, I requested of Archbishop Listecki that I be given “Senior Priest Status” next year. He has accepted that request to take place in June 2019.
I have indicated that I am flexible as to the actual date that “status” begins, depending on how the Priests’ Placement Board and the Archbishop work out who will serve as the next shared pastor and when that term will be able to begin. So, that I will become a “Senior Priest,” probably in June 2019, is set; exactly when that will be is yet to be finalized.
“Senior Priest Status” is the preferred way of talking about this rather than “retirement.” A “Senior Priest” is one who steps back from the administrative leadership part of his ministry, but continues in the sacramental and, where helpful, the teaching ministry for which he has been ordained. I have indicated a desire to continue priestly ministry in celebrating Sacraments and being of any other help I can be – primarily at parishes I know, rather than moving all over the Archdiocese. It is my intention to continue as a help-out at St. Catherine and St. Sebastian Parishes beyond June 2019, if that is needed and desired by the parishes, and approved by the new pastor.
Soon the Priests’ Placement Board will set up a consultation with the Pastoral Councils to speak with them individually and as a cluster about the kind of person best needed at this time to lead our parishes as shared pastor. That will take place after the first of the year. Contacting any Pastoral Council member with your input is the best way to get your suggestions on the table.
Although this is not yet a formal announcement of my “retirement,” I wanted all to know this news and some of the process going forward.
Please join me in praying for our parishes in the coming time of transition, and for all those involved in discerning the best person to be our next shared pastor – including praying for that person, whomever it may come to be. I will keep you informed as the process slowly unfolds.
Peace to all,
Fr. Larry Chapman