By Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald
The Archdiocese of New Orleans will take up its annual collection for Retired Diocesan Priests at all churches on the weekend of April 20-21.
The money collected – in recent years more than $250,000 – will be used to help defray some of the medical and retirement costs of the retired priests.
There currently are 49 retired diocesan priests in the archdiocese, many of whom remain incredibly active. Another five priests will retire at the end of June.
Father Otis Young, chairman of the Priestly Life and Ministry Committee and pastor of St. Peter Church in Covington, said the annual collection helps provide income for housing, medical care and other retirement expenses.
The collection coincides with the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel reading that day will be taken from John 10:11-18, in which Jesus describes himself as “the good shepherd.”
“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep,” Jesus continues. “A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.”
Father Young said the Gospel passage reinforces the retired priest’s role in the community of faith.
“These are our retired shepherds in the archdiocese,” Father Young said.
The normal retirement age for diocesan priests is 75. A pastor can request annually to serve beyond his 75th birthday, and that decision is made by the archbishop.
The 49 retired priests who have served in the Archdiocese of New Orleans are Fathers H.J. Adams, (Msgr.) Terry B. Becnel, Joseph Benson, William Blank, Ronald Braud, H.L. Brignac, Paul D. Calamari, Msgr. Arthur Calkins, Charles J. Caluda, Francis J. Carabello, Bishop Dominic Carmon, S.V.D., Jerry Dabria, Joseph de Water, James R. Dixon, (Msgr.) Douglas Doussan, J. Luis Fernandez, Francis Ferrié, John P. Finn, Bernard Francis, Patrick Gannon, (Msgr.) T. Gaspard Glasgow, Lawrence A. Hecker, Carroll Heffner.
H. Brian Highfill, Archbishop Emeritus Alfred C. Hughes, Raul Lobo, (Msgr.) J. Anthony Luminais, William Maestri, (Msgr.) Robert D. Massett, William McGough, Leo A. Meyer, Brendan Morgan, William J. O’Donnell, Michael O’Neill, Denver B. Pentecost, Denzil Perera, Vincent Qui, David Rabe, (Msgr.) Allen J. Roy, James E. Schott, Anthony Serio, Bernie Terrebonne, David K. Texada, Curtis R. Thomas, Joseph C. Tranchina, Jules Vitte and John Baptist Han Vu.
The five priests retiring in June are Fathers Teodoro Agudo, Robert Cavalier, Michael Kettenring, Richard Maughan and (Msgr.) Andrew Taormina.