Welcome to the Laity in Support of Retired Priests (LSRP)
We are a non-profit organization formed to understand the diverse issues of our diocesan priests in their retirement years, with the aim to enhance their lives through education and communication. Our mission strives to improve the quality of life for senior priests and bishops in all 50 states.
The need is clear.
Here are a few facts according to studies published by the National Federation of Priests' Councils (NFPC) and Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University (CARA):
"The median salary of U.S. diocesan priests increased by 8.4 percent
from 2008 through 2013 ... from an average of $22,350
in 2007-08 to $24,236 in 2013."
- Social Security benefits for senior priests are minimal due to low annual incomes over their earning lifetime
- Diocesan priests are independent contractors often paying both the employee and employer portion of the Social Security & Medicare taxes
There currently are about 30,000 diocesan priests affiliated with Catholic parishes and other religious associations and institutes in the United States. Of these, about 20,000 are currently in active (fulltime) ministry, and about 10,000 are retired. Only about a third as many new priests are being ordained each year compared to the number needed to make up for those who are retiring, dying or otherwise leaving active ministry. The magnitude of these changes will affect every diocese in the United States over the next few years:
- On average, dioceses now have one retired priest for every two active priests.
- Half of all priests currently in active ministry are over age 60.
- A significant number of priests in active ministry expect to retire by 2019 or earlier.
The average retirement age for priests is now 70 years, with many continuing to work fulltime until they reach age 75 -- and some even later. Aging diocesan priests in retirement face many of the same concerns as do lay people, such as financial security, declining health, loneliness, and often loss of community.