Editorial | Thanks to our retired priests

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On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in His victory over sin and death — the centerpiece of the Catholic faith.

We also pay tribute, in a special way, to men who trace their priestly lineage to the apostles — the retired priests in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

The second collection, the Archbishop's Easter Appeal for Retired Priests, benefits priests in their retirements, regardless of where they live and whether they remain active in sacramental ministries. Active retired priests live in parishes, at Regina Cleri or on their own. Retired priests needing more assistance or care may be in assisted living at St. Agnes Home in Kirkwood or skilled nursing at Mother of Good Counsel in Bellefontaine Neighbors.

About 90 retired priests live in the archdiocese, almost equally divided among parishes, Regina Cleri or private residences, with a few more at St. Agnes Home and Mother of Good Counsel.

In advance of the Easter Sunday collection, this issue of the St. Louis Review profiles four joyous, retired priests: Msgrs. Richard Lubeley and Jerome Buchheit; and Fathers Harold Voelker and Donald Glastetter.

At 96, Msgr. Lubeley is the oldest among archdiocesan priests. He genuflects on cue in concelebrating daily Mass, staying in shape by riding an exercise bike.

At 91, Msgr. Buchheit is one of the elder statesmen among archdiocesan priests, but it's hard to tell that based on his activity: Masses five days a week at area nursing homes, weekend Masses at parishes as needed and Benediction at Regina Cleri.

At 88, Father Voelker no longer is out-and-about celebrating Masses, but he's readily available for spiritual direction and remains as engaging as ever.

At 77, among the youngest of his retired brethren, Father Glastetter is retired priest in residence at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Washington, handling a variety of duties at the parish, with regular visits and on-call at Mercy Hospital in Washington.

Being on-call really is no different in retirement as it is before retirement. Being a priest is a 24/7 proposition. Call almost any parish, and among the first options on the automated answer is "for sacramental emergencies." Priests are on-call to answer these emergencies

Also, being a retired priest doesn't make a man a former priest. He might not be a parish pastor anymore, but he's still a priest. He celebrates Mass, hears confessions, baptizes babies, officiates weddings and presides at funerals.

Once a priest, always a priest, as joyous as ever. The Archbishop's Easter Appeal gives St. Louis Catholics the chance to thank retired priests for the work they've done without fanfare, humbly sharing the Gospel and ministering at our parishes and schools. 

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