Catholic Free Press

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  • Mar
  • 27

Father Remillard stays busy in retirement

Posted By March 27, 2014 | 12:11 pm | Lead Story #1
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By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

HOLDEN – Father Andre Remillard retired from active ministry in 2012. He stepped down from his position as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Jefferson, where he spent 15 years, because of Parkinson’s disease.
Although he’s not running a parish, he stays very busy. He helps out at St. Mary’s, as well as at some of the other parishes. He’s often called to say Mass, to hear confessions and to preside over funeral liturgies.
“It’s very, very meaningful for retired priests to have the opportunity for doing that,” he noted.
The day we spoke, he had spent the morning at St. Mary’s. He said it’s very “consoling” to be able to return from time to time. The current pastor, Father Timothy Brewer, is “really doing a great job,” said Father Remillard.
“People love him,” he added.
PIC2011_logoFather Remillard said the parish of 1,500 families is a “great community.” Despite the fact he’s not there anymore, he still sees his former parishioners when he shops or does business in Holden.
“Every place I went I ran into a parishioner,” he said about a recent outing. “I plan on a little extra time when I run errands. You see people and they share stories with you.”
His former parishioners also tell him he looks healthier, and more relaxed, than when he was running a large parish. “It’s always nice to hear,” he said.
Father Remillard said one blessing that’s come with retirement is the ability to focus on pastoral work, rather than on other concerns.
“I’m relieved to be retired from administration and (now) being really able to do ministry,” he stated.
Fortunately, said Father Remillard, he hasn’t needed the services of the Retired Priests Ministry, funded by Partners in Charity donations. He’s able drive and live independently, despite his illness.
But he said the visiting nursing care provided by the ministry is extremely helpful for the older priests. These members of the clergy are seen by Sister Mary Ann Bartell, CSE, and Sister Mary Joseph, CSE, who assist them with medication and accompany them to doctors’ appointments.
“It’s very important that retired priests are well taken care of,” he said. “They can live in a place with dignity and not have to worry about, ‘What’s going to happen to me.’ ”
When he was pastor of St. Mary’s, he encouraged his parishioners to support Partners in Charity. “For the most part, people responded very well,” he noted. “We pretty much always reached the goal.”
Father Remillard pointed out that many people in the pews are not aware of the fact that the Collection for Retired Religious is for men and women who live in religious communities. Diocesan clergy do not receive these funds. Instead, they rely upon Partners in Charity donations.
Catholics tend to respond generously to the needs of retired priests.
“People love their priests and they’re very concerned about the welfare of their priests,” noted Father Remillard.