Just as “Baby Boomers” reflect the aging of the U.S. population, so too more of the diocese’s priests are entering retirement age and living longer.

They face the same high cost of living and housing in the Bay Area, so sustaining an adequate retirement income becomes more challenging.

To help meet this challenge, a second collection specifically to benefit the Priest Retirement Benefit Trust of the Diocese of Oakland is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 9 and 10.

“The priests of the diocese have taken care of our parishioners, providing pastoral and spiritual care and the Sacraments. Help me in taking care of these priests in their retirement as they have provided for you,” asks Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ.

The average annual retirement income benefit per priest is about $23,700. Health care and other benefits, like dental and long-term care, are funded separately.

It’s important the average Catholic remember priests face many of the costs lay people do: housing, transportation and other costs.

When priests retire, they must provide their own housing. Most have two options, Father Vassar explained: If they saved and have the resources, they may find their own living situation. Or, if they can arrange it, they can live in a rectory and pay $600 a month for room and board. Priests who maybe haven’t saved enough to afford that modest amount, he said, can provide commensurate services in lieu of payment in parishes by saying Masses and working part time at a parish.

Most priests too, Father Vassar noted, have paid into Social Security and it is a source of retirement income. The diocese estimates this source of retirement income averages $16,000 a year.

Retired Rev. Msgr. Tony Valdivia reminds us priests never really retire. “The retirement fund of the diocese is more than helpful,” he said. “It helps us live more calmly, in tranquility and peace.

Full story at Catholic Voice Oakland.