Good Shepherd Sunday

 In Pastor's Notes-Fr. Ritche

When I was given the ministry as director of vocations and seminarians for our Diocese, I had the opportunity of meeting men who were discerning God’s call.  I also had the privilege of attending the national gatherings of vocation directors.  During my meetings with the directors, we talked about how to help men in their formation, proper screening of candidates, how to increase the number of seminarians, what are the needs of our Church, and many more.  The directors all agree that our Church needs more committed, faithful, prayerful, pastoral, mature men to serve God’s people.

As I reflect on my own formation to the priesthood, I always thank God for the gift of the priests who have helped in my formation.  I also am grateful for the priests who have helped established the Diocese of San Jose – Msgr. John Sandersfeld, Msgr. Terry Sullivan, Msgr. J Patrick Browne, Msgr. Mike Mitchell, Fr. Paul Weisbeck, Fr. Kevin Joyce, Fr. Bob Hayes, to name some.  They, who have worked doubly hard to ensure that the local Church of San Jose will continue to flourish.  These priests helped in laying the groundwork and in creating the pastoral plan for the future of our diocese.  I must say that I, the other parish priests and the communities that they serve, are reaping the fruits of their dedication and hard work.  They have nurtured faith-filled, joy-filled, Spirit-filled, and hope-filled people who continue to assist in continuing the ministry of the Risen Lord.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, I’d like to encourage you to pray for the priests not only those who are in active ministry, but also those who are retired.  Remember us in your daily prayers that we may continue to be effective in our ministry.  Please continue to encourage us, challenge us, and collaborate with us in our ministry.  It is with your help and support that we can all be witnesses of the Risen Christ.

During these unprecedented times, many are hurting and need our assistance, including our elderly priests. This weekend is our annual Diocesan Priest Retirement Appeal collection. On behalf of all the priests of our Diocese, I encourage your continued support of this vital appeal which cares for those Catholic Priests who have served for decades in the Diocese of San Jose in their later years.

Currently, there are 44 retired priests in the Diocese and 99 others currently serving our parishes and other diocesan assignments. In addition, the Diocese has 45 priests reaching retirement age, 70 years old, in the next 15 years – 15 in just the next five years.

Our retired priests rely on their minimal Social Security since they were paid a very modest wage and the Priest Retirement Plan payments for their living expenses and end-of-life needs. Like the general population, priests are living longer, more active lives, placing a greater demand on retirement resources. COVID-19 has only increased the challenge to provide adequate care (Source DSJ Website) for them.

I’d like to thank you for your continued support of our ministry.   May Jesus, the Good Shepherd, protect and bless you and your family.  May Mary, the Mother of Priests and the Mother of all the baptized, shield us with her maternal care.

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