ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Bishop Gerard County CSSp of Kingstown has observed that the “sudden illness” of two priests—Msgr George Bardowell and Fr Andrew Roache has awakened the diocese’s attention to the fact that there is no structure in place for the care of priests, especially for sick and retired diocesan priests.
“There is no retirement home and no retirement financial investment fund,” the bishop said in a letter to the faithful, January 18. In the letter, Bishop County proposed the ‘I Care’ project—an initiative of the members of the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council aimed at supporting priests. He noted this venture would require the support of all Catholics through “pledges” to the fund.
The proposed ‘I Care Trust Fund’ is an arrangement whereby parishioners make a financial contribution that is set aside for the specific purpose of assisting with the critical medical needs of active and retired priests and also to provide for all aspects of life after retirement from priestly ministry. It will be managed by a Board of Trustees consisting of three to four committed persons.
“Parishioners will be asked to commit themselves to making a monthly, quarterly or annual pledge to the fund. Pledge envelopes will be given out in the parishes. However, parishioners can choose to make the contribution directly to the bank account,” the letter stated.
The letter also mentioned that in each parish, there will be a “cell” (a minimum of five and a maximum of 15 persons) responsible for driving and managing this project in the respective parish. “This initiative has my full approval and support,” Bishop County said.
He closed the letter with an urgent appeal for the diocese’s support to the ‘I Care Trust Fund’ adding that diocesan priests and their Bishop have to depend on the diocese to which they serve for their care. “And the diocese has an obligation to care for its priests and Bishop.”