Archbishop Elpidophoros of America sent an e-mail to community council presidents across the United States urging both communities and the faithful to contribute to strengthening the priests’ retirement plan.
In his letter, among other things, the Archbishop said that “as you know, last year during the 45th Clergy Assembly it was mentioned that the Pension Fund of the Clergy and Laity employees of the Archdiocese of America has been underfunded. Recognizing this problem, our Holy Archdiocese is working diligently and tirelessly to draw up a plan to address this deficit.
The solution we have implemented at the beginning of this year provides for financing the deficit over a period of thirty years, but we hope that we can reduce the period of thirty years with the voluntary donations of our faithful.”
The Archbishop of America also wrote to the presidents that “starting with Father’s Day this year on Sunday, June 20, our Archdiocese will formally begin nationwide fundraising efforts to achieve our goal by welcoming the $ 100 donation from every family in your community. ”
Archbishop Elpidophoros added that “this day was chosen specifically because it is important for fathers everywhere. Together with the celebration of Father’s Day, we must also honor and remember the respected Clergy of our Church in America.”
The Archbishop of America also calls on presidents to set an example. Particularly the Archbishop wrote: “I invite you to lead by example and personally participate in this blessed campaign, I kindly ask you to help spread this effort to your community and to all your parishioners by encouraging them to visit https://www.supportourfathers.org where they can donate electronically for this noble and very honorable purpose. Of course, donations can be sent to the Archdiocese with the indication ‘Father’s Day Campaign’ while donations are tax-deductible”.
It is recalled that the issue of the deficit of $ 65 million of the priests’ pension fund was revealed by the “National Herald” a few days before the 44th Clergy Assembly of the Archdiocese that met in Boston in early July 2018.
This issue has been the concern of Archbishop Elpidophoros since the first days he took over the helm of the Archdiocese. In his last interview with the “National Herald” on March 13 & 14, 2021, he had said the following: “I was very tired of this issue because I did not expect it to be so complicated. I believed that in a historic Archdiocese such issues of Pension and Insurance Funds and medical care of the people would have been solved long ago.
The explosive pension problem of the clergy did not allow me to sleep during the first months of my ministry in America. I knew that the funding deficit of about 65 million was constantly growing and would one day lead the Fund to collapse, rendering it incapable of paying the pensions of our retired clergy, leaving them exposed to old age after so many years of successful service. Even if this were to happen decades later when I would not be alive.
My colleagues and I spent many hours in meetings, teleconferences, conversations, meetings with both clergy and our financial staff and experts on such pension and insurance funds.
Today I am pleased to announce that a solution has been found for this Fund. It is a solution that will not burden the communities, the priests themselves, or the Archdiocese more financially.
I would like to emphasize: we do not ‘freeze’ or replace the existing Pension Program. We are consolidating it”.