Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Encore Priests

Encore Priests: Finding New Purpose, New Meaning and New Direction in Retirement

Encore Priests is a formation program designed especially for the needs and challenges of senior priests, as outlined in The Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests (USCCB, 2001).

Upcoming Dates

Pre-Retirement Workshop - November 28-December 1, 2016


The $600 program fee includes three nights' accommodations in the St. Simeon Residences, all meals from Monday supper through Thursday lunch, your individualized 23-page Retirement Success Profile for Diocesan Priests (RSP-DP), and program sessions covering the 15 factors crucial for achieving succes in your retirement. Other materials beyond the RSP-DP will be available for purchase.

From the Church's Documents

Pastores Dabo Vobis (no. 77) and the Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests (no. 95) strongly urge ongoing formation for senior priests, noting that such formation must be both supportive in the face of challenges at this stage of life and encouraging in helping priests continue to make their unique and irreplaceable contribution to the Church and its mission on the basis of their experience and season of life.

The Current Situation

  • 50% of U.S. priests will have reached retirement age by 2020.

  • Priesthood ordinations are running below the replacement rate.

  • Priests are living longer since original retirement ages were established.

  • A growing body of literature says "Baby Boomers" are wanting to reinvent themselves, combining personal meaning and social purpose.

  • Many retired priests hunger for more than weekend fill-in ministry.

Personally Life-Giving

Encore Priests is a program to train priests for new ministries that will be life-giving for both the priest personally and the Church in general. The program aims to help retired priests continue to offer their wisdom while extending their generous service in new and creative ways.



A Workshop Designed for Priests in Their 60s or Approaching Retirement

Encore Priests prepares priests for their transition into retirement. Of course, priests never fully retire. By the very nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders, priests always have some form of priestly ministry. But how can a mature priest transition into a retirement that is meaningful and vital?

If you're a priest nearing retirement age, this workshop is designed to help you:

  • plan for the transition into retirement

  • make your retirement meaningful and purposeful

  • discover your strengths and your likely challenges, and how to best engage both

  • discover the 15 spiritual growth factors that can transform retirement into an energizing time of personal and spiritual development

  • learn the steps to make the most of your retirement

Retirement Success Profile for Diocesan Priests

Prior to the workshop, participants will complete a Retirement Success Profile designed especially for priests.

This 120-item profile offers the priest an overview of how well he is preparing for retirement. This scientifically designed assessment measures the 15 factors crucial for achieving personal success in retirement:

  • Ministry Reorientation

  • Attitude Toward Retirement

  • Self-Direction

  • Health Perception

  • Financial Security

  • Current Life Satisfaction

  • Projected Life Satisfaction

  • Life Meaning/Spirituality

  • Leisure Interests

  • Personal Adaptability

  • Lifespan Development

  • Felt Responsibility for Caregiving

  • Personal Support System 

  • Perception of Age

  • Re-formation of Priestly Work Functions

At the workshop, each participant will review his personalized 23-page report to help him create a personal and successful transition into retirement.

Program Designer

Dr Richard Johnson

Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D., PCSG, is founder of the Johnson Institute for Spiritual Gerontology and Maturing Adult Faith Formation. Nationally recognized for his pioneering work in these areas, Dr. Johnson has presented his work in numerous parishes, dioceses and religious communities.

He has given keynote addresses and presentations in conferences including the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators, the National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy, the National Federation of Priests' Councils, the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers, and others.

Dr. Johnson has authored several books, including Creating a Successful Retirement: Finding Peace and PurposeDiscover Your Spiritual Strengths and The 12 Keys to Spiritual Vitality: Powerful Lessons on Living Agelessly.

Amenities for Workshop Participants

  • Private room and bath facilities

  • Wi-Fi Internet access

  • Workout facilities

  • Satellite TV and DVD player in our beautifully appointed St. John Vianney Center

  • Opportunities for communal prayer with monastic community 

  • Daily Mass and prayer with fellow priests

  • View a slideshow of our facilities

All times CDT

Mon., May 8  
2:00-4:00 p.m. Check-in and Registration
4:30 Welcome Social
5:00 Evening Prayer
5:30 Dinner
6:30 Program Session - Reviewing Your Retirement Profile
Tues., May 9   
7:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-10:45 Program Session - Looking Ahead: Ministry Reassessment, New Attitudes About Retirement and New Directions 
11:00 Mass
Noon Lunch
1:30-4:30 Program Session - Looking at the Now: Health, Finances and Personal Satisfaction
5:00 Evening Prayer
5:30 Dinner
Wed., May 10  
7:00-8:30 Breakfast
8:45-10:45 Program Session - Looking Inside: Personal Renewal, Life Satisfactions, Life Meaning, Spirituality and Leisure
11:00 Mass
Noon Lunch
1:30-4:00 p.m. Program Session - Looking Around: Adaptability, New Development and New Responsibilities
4:15 Confession available
5:00 Evening Prayer with Monastic Community (optional)
5:30 Dinner
Thurs., May 11  
8:00-8:30 Breakfast
8:45-10:45 Program Session - Looking at New Realities: Support Systems, Maturation, Re-Forming New Work Functions
11:00 Mass
Noon Lunch and Departure

Workshop Fee

Workshop fee is $600, which includes the $50 nonrefundable fee for the Retirement Success Profile for Diocesan Priests (RSP-DP). The workshop fee also includes meals and overnight accommodations from Monday supper through Thursday lunch.

Extended overnight accommodations and meals, subject to availability, would be in addition to the cost of the workshop. Call the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates by the registration deadline for availability and pricing.

Online Registration Forms and Deadlines for 2017 Workshops

Workshop - . Registration deadline - Friday, . 

Download, print, complete and return registration form by mail or fax to (812) 357-6283. 

Or call (800) 357-8477 or email to register.

"I highly recommend the Encore Priests program at Saint Meinrad seminary. The 'Retirement Success Profile - Diocesan Priest' frames a number of spiritual challenges that a priest needs to give some thought to as he considers retirement. I can't wait to share the experience with my priests' support group and to strongly encourage a couple of them who are my age to attend the upcoming Encore Priests program." - Louisville

"Understanding how we approach retirement begins with our ordination. The sooner we balance our life, our priesthood, the easier the transitions in our life are seen as positive and life-giving." - Sioux City

"I found the program inspiring, enlightening, and spiritually motivating" - St. Louis

"The Pre-Retirement Workshop helped me to frame retirement in a positive way, as an opportunity for new possibilities and growth." - Detroit