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Priests Retirement Trust Fund

Our Priests. Our Turn.

The dozens of diocesan priests supported by the Priests Retirement Trust Fund have each given many years, often forty or more, in service to God and the Catholic communities of New Hampshire. The parish priest is a part of every Catholic family. They offer counsel and comfort, and they lead us in celebrating the sacraments.

The Need

Parish priests generally retire sometime after 70 and often decide to live independently in retirement. Though retired, many senior priests continue to celebrate Mass and support parish life. The Priests Retirement Trust Fund provides a monthly stipend and benefits. For most priests this stipend is one of their only means of support. This fund helps many of our senior priests stay active in the community. We need your help to support New Hampshire’s retired priests.

Depending on Our Generosity

Last year was the fourth annual collection for this fund and, despite an ongoing difficult economy, parishioners gave generously, with total gifts of more than $260,000. The need continues this year. When you contribute to the Priests Retirement Trust Fund, your gift will go toward helping current and future retired priests. We also ask you to prayerfully consider giving more than a one-time offering through pledged or planned giving.

Donate online: 

A Chance to Give Back

September 21-22, 2013

Please use the envelope from this brochure or your parish envelope for the diocesan Priests Retirement Trust Fund collection. One easy way to contribute a continuing pledged gift is with your credit card. You can drop the envelope into the collection on September 21 and 22 or you can mail it directly to the Diocesan Priests Retirement Trust Fund, PO Box 310, Manchester, NH 03105-0310. Each parish will be notified of gifts made by its parishioners received directly by the Trust Fund.

For those interested in planned giving please contact Melanie English at (603) 669-3100 or menglish@rcbm.org.

Msgr. Donald J. Gilbert, J.C.L.

When he was ordained in 1968, Msgr. Donald Gilbert had no idea he would spend the bulk of his career as a Judge and then Judicial Vicar of the Diocese. He was at St. Pius X Parish in Manchester when Bishop Odore J. Gendron asked him to become a Judge for the Tribunal. Fr. Gilbert had never felt drawn to Canon Law while he was at seminary with the exception of Matrimonial Law, which had always seemed of significance to him for the lives of his parishioners. To his surprise, Msgr. Gilbert felt right at home in the Tribunal Offices.

“I took to it right away. It’s a different type of ministry, but I felt at ease with it. Most days are spent meeting with people who are giving testimony, which allows me to aid in their seeking closure and healing. The other part of my days are quieter, spent writing the decisions. It is a good balance for me.”

In the early 1980s, after he had been at the Tribunal for several years, Msgr. Gilbert went off to Catholic University as a full-time student to obtain his Licentia in Canon Law. He wrote his thesis on the coping behaviors of adult children of alcoholics and how these behaviors often have a negative impact in the marriage relationship.

Msgr. Gilbert became Judicial Vicar in 1990 and served in that position for nine years. At that point he felt a need to return to parish life full time. He was appointed pastor at St. Matthew Parish in Windham. He remained there until 2008 when he asked Bishop John B. McCormack for permission to retire. Msgr. Gilbert had every intention of “savoring my new status,” but it was perhaps the shortest-lived retirement in history: just two weeks!

An unexpected vacancy in the Tribunal had Bishop McCormack calling Msgr. Gilbert and asking him to please come back to his old post as Judicial Vicar, on a part-time basis. Msgr. Gilbert agreed, and he had been serving there, two days a week, until this past July, when Rev. Georges de Laire was appointed Judicial Vicar. Msgr. Gilbert continues to serve in an advisory capacity.

All told, 28 years of Msgr. Gilbert’s 45-year priesthood has been invested in Tribunal ministry of which he says, “It’s a special place. People come and open their souls looking for a just judgment in their case. Often, the conclusions are quite evident but there are always those cases that keep me awake at night in search of a just decision. It’s not a comfortable time, especially since I don’t have King Solomon as a judge. These decisions have been a part of my ministry – difficult but meaningful.”

Msgr. Gilbert also provides both regular and fill-in weekend ministry for parishes in the diocese. In his words, “These are the best days – ministry only! No building projects to oversee, no parishes to merge, no staff to supervise, no checks to write, no one to call on the carpet. Just administering the sacraments and bringing people closer to God.”

Retired Priests Supported by this Fund

Rev. Marcel Allard Rev. Paul Gregoire
Rev. Gerald Auger Rev. Patrick Irwin
Rev. A. Albert Bellefeuille Rev. Thomas Keenan
Rev. Florent Bilodeau Rev. Edward Kelley
Rev. Roger Bilodeau Rev. Francis Kelso
Msgr. Raymond Blair Rev. Joseph Klatka
Rev. Roland Blais Rev. Maurice Lacroix
Rev. Robert Boisvert Rev. Donald Lafond
Rev. Gerard Boucher Rev. Maurice Lampron
Rev. Thomas Bresnahan Msgr. Daniel Lamothe
Rev. Roland Cote Rev. Robert Marchand
Rev.Emmett Coyne Msgr. James Markham
Msgr. Charles Crosby Most Rev. John McCormack
Rev. Wilfred Demers Rev. Paul McHugh
Rev. George Desjardins Rev. Humbert Oliveira
Msgr. Charles DesRuisseaux Rev. Stanley Piwowar
Rev. Anthony Di Russo Rev. Victor Polito
Rev. C. Peter Dumont Rev. Mark Rundzio
Rev. Gerald Dunn Rev. Daniel St. Laurent
Rev. John Finnigan Rev. Norman Simoneau
Rev. Leonard Foisy
Rev. Richard Smith
Rev. Leo Frechette
Rev. George Soberick
Rev. Andre Gagnon
Rev. Daniel Szopa
Rev. Leo Gagnon
Rev. Andre Thibodeau
Most Rev. Odore Gendron Rev. Richard Vickery
Msgr. Donald Gilbert Rev. James Walsh
Rev. Cornelius Goggin Rev. Richard Wegman
Rev. Robert Goodwin
Rev. John Wright
Questions about the diocesan Priests Retirement Fund? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, or write to the diocesan offices by clicking here.

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street, Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105-0310
(603) 669-3100
Fax: (603) 669-0377

© Diocese of Manchester