A community of faith, wisdom, and strength

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The priesthood is a very active profession. After decades of managing a wide range of responsibilities, the transition into "senior" priesthood can be a challenging adjustment. Sixty years ago, our archdiocese made a commitment to provide our senior priests with a quality residential facility to provide for their needs later in life. Since its opening in 1964, Regina Cleri has provided a fraternal home and outstanding care for more than 400 senior priests.

Each time I visit Regina Cleri, I am deeply moved by the faith, wisdom, and strength of its community, drawn from lifetimes of ministry in a wide range of settings and circumstances. It is a joy to celebrate Mass in the beautiful chapel, and afterwards, to hear the priests' reflections on their ministry and the many experiences of their lives. The time spent with priests at Regina Cleri always leaves me with admiration and gratitude for how much they have given to our Church and our parish communities.

During my years as archbishop, on many occasions I have had the opportunity to visit with priests during their final days and hours. At such times, in addition to receiving outstanding, compassionate end-of-life care, these men are blessed to be surrounded by their brothers in Christ as they await their welcome in heaven. It is a great comfort knowing that our priests are cared for with the love and devotion of the entire staff, including the wonderful Sister Disciples of the Divine Master who have been serving at Regina Cleri for decades.

An important annual tradition of our archdiocesan priesthood is the occasion of our newly ordained priests celebrating Mass at Regina Cleri with the senior priests and the residents and staff. It is a very meaningful and inspiring day for the entire Regina Cleri community.

Also, each spring Regina Cleri is the site of the archdiocese's Golden Jubilee Mass that honors priests who are celebrating 50 years of priesthood; a mix of both Regina Cleri residents and senior priests who live in parishes or in other homes. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to thank these men for their decades of service to Christ and our Church.

I am deeply grateful to Stephen Gust who in 2009 accepted the position to be Regina Cleri's first lay director. Since then, this community has greatly benefited from his dedicated efforts and commitment to mission. He and the entire staff expertly navigated Regina Cleri through the challenges of the pandemic, much to the benefit of our senior priests. Under Steve's leadership, Regina Cleri has prioritized a positive and productive life for the priests in addition to providing the appropriate accommodation and support. I am very proud and deeply appreciate the Regina Cleri staff who provide our priests with superior attention and loyal care.

As we prepare to celebrate this special anniversary, I am reminded of Pope Benedict's reflection that "the priest is molded from Christ's own love, a love which impelled Him to give His life for His friends and to forgive His enemies." Our archdiocese has been blessed with wonderful priests who have dedicated their lives to serving God and making our communities stronger. I am deeply grateful that Regina Cleri provides them with a strong community as they continue their faithful discipleship with the Lord.