Diocese to establish priests’ retirement home
Veronica Ambuul
/ Categories: Diocesan News, Vocations

Diocese to establish priests’ retirement home

By Veronica Ambuul

COLORADO SPRINGS. Over the past 30 years, Msgr. Bob Jaeger has worn many hats in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, including Master of Ceremonies, Vicar General, and Vicar for Clergy, in addition to his parish assignments at Holy Family in Leadville, St. Peter in Monument and St. Paul in Colorado Springs.

He has also served as chaplain for Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders, and on numerous committees and boards of directors.

At age 73 — three years beyond the standard retirement age for priests in the diocese — it is not surprising that Msgr. Jaeger is ready to move out of full-time ministry and relinquish some of his current duties. As of July 1, Father Kyle Ingels will take over the role of Vicar General and Legatus chaplain. And Father Gregory Golyzniak, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Monument, has already assumed the role of Vicar for Clergy.

However, Msgr. Jaeger said he has one big task left to accomplish: to oversee the establishment of a retirement home for priests of the diocese — and then become one of its first occupants.

“According to canon law, the Church is supposed to take care of her priests,” Msgr. Jaeger said. “The biggest expense for anybody is housing. The priests will pay rent, but it’s not going to be as much as it would be if they had to get their own place.”

With those considerations in mind, in December 2023 he requested permission from Bishop James Golka to begin the initial phase of the project.

“I asked for permission to negotiate for property, solicit donations and funding, acquire the land and request RFPs for the design and construction of the retirement home,” Msgr. Jaeger said. Along with a committee made up of Father Greg Bierbaum, Father Francisco Quezada, Father Gus Stewart and Father Brad Noonan, Msgr. Jaeger has been studying priest retirement homes in other dioceses. He has also been working with architects to develop a design for a retirement home in Colorado Springs.

The planned facility would provide one-level, independent living for up to 10 priests, with the possibility of future expansion. Each resident would have a 950-1,000-square-foot apartment consisting of one bedroom, two bathrooms, a living room, kitchenette and attached garage.

Bathrooms will be handicap-accessible, and Msgr. Jaeger said he anticipates the residence providing one meal a day.

With the main design elements having been determined, the next step is to find a location. The committee is seeking 3-5 acres of buildable land in the Pikes Peak Region.

“The next phase of the plan is to select property acquired either through donations or purchase,” Msgr. Jaeger said. “We believe the funding for this project, both land and buildings, should come from parish and individual donors.”

It’s important that the retirement home be located in or near the Colorado Springs metropolitan area so that the priests can help out at local parishes and be near hospitals, doctor offices and other health care services, Msgr. Jaeger said. And although the current plans are for new construction, the committee will also consider adapting an existing building if a suitable one becomes available, he said.

Those interested in donating to the retirement home can contact Msgr. Jaeger at 719-650-0113 or at the St. Paul parish office at 719-471-9700.

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