Boston Priests Asked to Stay on Longer

Priests in Boston who had hoped to retire soon have been asked to stay on a bit longer. The Archdiocese of Boston, faced with a priest shortage, has raised the priestly retirement age from 70 to 75 (health permitting).

The Boston Globe reports that the change, which is effective Aug. 1, was announced to priests of the diocese via e-mail on July 21 sent by Father Richard Erikson, vicar general for the archdiocese.

Father Erikson said that healthy priests can continue to seek the status of “senior priest’’ at 70, but then will be required to fill in for priests who are sick or on vacation.

In addition to the retirement age change, the archdiocese is attempting a variety of efforts to deal with fewer priests. The archdiocese has closed nearly 20% of its parishes over the last five years and also increased the number of priests assigned to multiple parishes.

“When you have a pope that’s in his 80s, the rest of us can work, too,” said Father David Toupes, director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.