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Thanks to our retired priests for sharing their continued giving

By Judy Tamisiea
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            This is the season we take extra time to reflect on what we need to be thankful for and how we can use the gifts of ourselves to serve others.

            I want to devote this column to the retired priests of our archdiocese who live at Westminster Court. Often I am privileged to see firsthand how they continue to serve the people of Northeast Nebraska.

            Seventeen priests now live at Westminster. These 17 men have given 886 years of their lives to people of the archdiocese. They have served as assistants in 27 parishes and pastors in 71 parishes. What service!

            My family has shared with our pastors many joys and sorrows. Our pastors have given support and words of encouragement when it was needed most. They also shared our baptisms, weddings and other significant occasions. On special days of Christmas and Easter, on Sunday as well as all weekdays, we are able to celebrate the Holy Mass in Northeast Nebraska because of these generous men who serve as our priests.

            Even though retired, the priests at Westminster continue to celebrate the Holy Mass at parishes early each morning, at hospitals and nursing homes, at Catholic high schools and at numerous parishes for weekend services. In addition, Mass is celebrated daily at Westminster in the beautiful chapel for lay tenants, who occupy the remaining 22 apartments. All of the priests also volunteer to hear confessions at various parishes and schools throughout the archdiocese, with the busiest time being Lent and Advent.

            These 17 priests live as a family "“ praying together, enjoying meals, sharing stories and laughter and caring for each other in times of sickness. They are a wonderful example of how to live in retirement years.

            Most of all they show all of us the true meaning of stewardship "“ they continue to give of themselves to serve others. They are prayerful men who share their time and financial resources.

            As an archdiocese, we can be very proud that we, with the leadership of Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss, have provided this special place for our retired priests to spend their time after their many years of service. Several of the priests have stated that 'they never expected to have such a nice home when they retired and to enjoy daily the companionship of their fellow priests."

            I know that I, on behalf of all of you, say thank you to our retired priests for sharing their lives and many gifts with all of us. Happy Thanksgiving!

            Judy Tamisiea is executive director of the archdiocese's Office of Stewardship, Planning and Development.

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