Profiles in Mission: Fr. Richard Felt

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Name: Fr. Richard Felt

Parishes served:

What does this campaign mean for the priests of the diocese?

[As priests get older] it can be kind of lonely. You are used to being with people your whole life. There’s a special bond with other priests through the sacrament of Holy Orders, a sacramental brotherhood. The ideal is to live together in some kind of community and share your life together. Priests would want to be in a Catholic place when they can no longer take care of themselves. Your faith is so important to you as a priest and to be in a place where there’s no other Catholic people makes it kind of hard. [My friend] Fr. Moynihan was in a regular rest home and he was so disappointed that he couldn’t be in a Catholic place with Mass and common prayer and the religious and liturgical life going on. I think most priests would like that.

What do priests do now when they retire?

What you can do right now is you can either live in the rectory and you can pay a little to the rectory and you help them out on a regular basis. Or, you can get your own condo or apartment which is what most of the priests do.

How does this campaign speak to evangelization and discipleship?

It’s a practical way of living out the Gospel teaching of giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty and visiting the sick. To have the respect for people in need and as priests get older, we have to take care of our priests, too. To preach the Gospel is to live [it] out …: “when I was sick you took care of me” (Mt 25:36). Living out the teachings of Jesus — that’s the evangelization part of it. I think if it’s a Catholic place, people would come and visit the priests there. Our parish used to go Christmas caroling at care centers or go visit the priests.

If a priest were going to help out at a parish but couldn’t drive, a parishioner could go to the retirement home and pick them up.