Seminarian Support & Priest Retirement
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen
- St. Ignatius Loyola
Our diocese is blessed with more than 30 men currently in various stages of formation in their journey toward priesthood. The college seminary prepares them intellectually with the required coursework in philosophy and theology to enter the next level of priestly formation, the graduate seminary or theologate. This education focuses on teaching one to grow as a person through the development of communication and leadership skills.
During this time our seminarians grow in their own journey of spiritual formation where they become a man of prayer and a disciple of Jesus Christ. The journey towards the priesthood focuses on the growth of the total person, as a follower of Christ and as a man of the Gospel. We would also like to cover pilgrimage travel expenses in providing a well rounded education.
We believe that a strong seminarian program is vital to the future of our church here in central New Jersey and our goal in the very near future is to have 50 seminarians studying to become priests who will serve in the Diocese of Trenton.
Program Costs: Currently Seminarian support costs the diocese $1.5 million per year. Our vision to educate 50 Seminarians will cost our diocese $2.1 million per year.
The number of priests eligible for retirement will nearly double in 5 years. No one gets into this life of service for the money. And everyone should be able to retire after a job well done. We owe a debt of gratitude to our priests who have served the diocese so faithfully over the years.
Like many other Americans, our priests are living longer and a growing number of them are becoming eligible for retirement. Priests are modestly paid while in active service and as a result, Social Security is small, and it is difficult for our priests to set aside other funds for retirement.
The Diocese of Trenton does provide a pension for our retired priests but so many of our priests will still need to reside in the diocesan subsidized Villa Vianney. Additionally, funds are needed to provide for the rapidly escalating healthcare costs. Our priest’s retirement fund is being challenged to meet these growing needs.
Program Costs: Currently we incur a $1.2 million per year expense for this support.
The Diocese of Trenton has always been exceptional stewards of the money raised to run the ministries throughout the diocese and has always been able to meet our obligations. However, our growing needs for seminarian education and support of our retired priests will create a financial strain in the immediate future if we continue with our current level of funding.