During COVID-19, the annual collection for Priests’ Pension & Retirement Fund relies on mail and online promotion
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
A video featuring vocation reflections by two retirement-age priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon was launched April 16 as part of this year’s annual collection for a priests’ pension fund.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions on the number that can gather for worship, the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation is relying on mail and electronic distribution — including the video — to raise awareness about the annual collection, and the need to support the Priests’ Pension & Retirement Fund.
View the video:
The video is currently being shared by the Catholic Foundation, by parishes in the diocese, through social media, and online – including at the end of the live-streaming of Sunday Mass April 18 celebrated by Bishop Mark Hagemoen at the Cathedral of the Holy Family.
Fr. Emile April and Fr. Denis Phaneuf were interviewed for the video. Both of these diocesan priests continue to serve the diocese during their retirement years, with April currently serving as pastor of the Trinité/Trinity pastoral region that includes Vonda, Prud’homme and St. Denis, and Phaneuf assisting at St. Paul Co-Cathedral in Saskatoon — even during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The video includes reflections on the impact of long-serving priests by Fr. Geoffrey Young, a young priest who serves as pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Saskatoon, as well as a message from Bishop Mark Hagemoen.
“The priests of the diocese of Saskatoon depend on one key support source when they retire – and that is our Priest Pension & Retirement Fund which support the St. Joseph’s Mutual Aid Society for our clergy,” he explains. “In addition to this pension fund, our clergy also receive Old Age Pension and Canada Pension Plan amounts. This amount is reduced given that their regular income through their working years is far below the level that most laity earn.”
The bishop adds: “Priests are also encouraged to try to save for their retirement through RSP’s, but this will only be a small amount. By far the most significant contribution to their retirement support comes from the Priest Pension & Retirement Fund.”
In conclusion, the bishop expresses thanks for support and generosity for the 2021 collection for the pension fund. “I also ask you to join with me in prayer for support and healing, as many of our senior clergy – along with many of the elders throughout our province – have been very much affected by the circumstances and isolation caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.”
In a letter sent to Catholic parishioners across the diocese about the pension fund collection, Don Gorsalitz, Executive Director of the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation notes: “The examples of people reaching out to support each other and to help our most vulnerable brothers and sisters in need during this challenging time have been profound and heartwarming. Despite the risk, our retired priests too continue to respond to various needs and serve among us, giving themselves generously with dedication and love as they continue to answer the calling of their hearts and life service.”
Gifts can be made online at dscf.ca/priest-pension-fund. Gifts of cheques can be sent to the following address: Priests’ Pension & Retirement Fund, 123 Nelson Road, Saskatoon SK S7S 1H1.