The Diocese of Rockville Centre is blessed and privileged to be able to care for its senior priests, men who have dedicated their lives to serving God and Community. Often devoting more than 60 years to ensuring that Christ could be present daily in all of our lives, our priests have witnessed and celebrated with us life’s great joys and its inevitable sorrows. They have been Christ’s presence during our weddings, and our children’s Baptisms and Confirmations. They have held our hands and prayed with us during our greatest challenges. They have helped us to see God in these moments and have always shared His love with us.
St. Pius X residence was originally located in Uniondale, New York. For many years, it served as a residence for priests who were involved in administration and teaching at the prep-seminary of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The high school seminary was known as St. Pius X Prep Seminary. The rector of the seminary also functioned as rector of the residence. Additionally, there were priests who resided at the residence while ministering elsewhere, notably Mercy Medical Center and Nassau University Medical Center (previously Nassau Medical Center).
In 1984, St. Pius X Prep Seminary closed its doors, although the building remained in use as a residence for senior and retired priests, among other functions. With the passage of almost fifty years, it became evident that the building itself warranted attention physically.
In 2004, Bishop William Murphy, 4th diocesan bishop, created a task force (Task Force for the Retirement Needs of Priests). He looked to this task force of priests, religious and lay people to study the issues related to the needs of retired priests, including those living at the St. Pius X Residence in Uniondale. Bishop Murphy charged the task force with presenting to him viable recommendations regarding the continuing care of retired priests so that he might be able to make the best possible decision on behalf of the entire presbyterate.
This inquiry process resulted in establishing the St. Pius X Residence at the Dominican Village complex on the grounds of the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters in Amityville, New York in December, 2008. This enabled the diocese to accommodate the increasing needs of our priests.
The Dominican Sisters welcomed our priests into their congregate living retirement mode. Consequently, this arrangement benefits the Sisters financially while having a positive impact on our needs as well.
St. Pius X Residence’s continuing existence, now at Dominican Village, is in response to the compassionate Christ and the Church’s mandate to care for those who minister as priests for the good of the people of God. This care for these our brothers is not a matter of entitlement. Rather, it is the Bishop who through the generosity of the people of God, mercifully extends the care of Christ to those who are in need.
Together with the assistance of the pastoral associate, the rector provides for the spiritual, educational, recreational, and communal life of the priest residents. The priests are encouraged to take advantage of these activities that are part of living at the residence. Our presence to one another is viewed as inherent to the life we are trying to live together as a community of diocesan priests.
While the residence has the services of full-time companions to care for the priests, there are limits as to what can be done in an efficient and safe manner for the residents. When these priests require more individualized attention, an evaluation will be made involving the diocesan bishop as well as those who are involved with his immediate care to determine if moving into a skilled nursing home would be more beneficial. Those decisions are, admittedly, difficult but are made in the best interest of all priests residing at St. Pius X. It is the rector ultimately who, having consulted with the diocesan bishop, may determine that a resident’s physical or mental health and condition is such that his continued residency is detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the resident or other residents. The rector will discuss this matter openly with all parties concerned. The cooperation of the priest, his family and care givers is an expectation whenever physical and/or mental health issues come into play.
St. Pius X has established a relationship with Good Samaritan Medical Center, West Islip. Good Samaritan is the hospital that is used by all priest residents. A potential resident must be willing to make a transition from his current physicians and specialists to those connected with Good Samaritan. The medical staff has guided the rector in creating a list of physicians and specialists who are on staff at the hospital and available for our use and consultation. A primary care physician is in place for each priest resident. He may be seen at the residence or at the physician’s practice office.
The residents commit themselves to serving the people of God in their retirement. Part of their daily prayer is to pray for and with our benefactors and all those who tend to our needs. We pray for the continued graced life of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
A priest who is considering a move to the St. Pius X Residence, Amityville needs to be aware of certain requirements.
- First, he must make a request of our diocesan bishop. The Bishop, in turn, usually asks the rector of the residence to meet with the priest-applicant to ascertain the rector’s recommendation, which will take into account the best interests of the priest-applicant himself and the current priest-residents
- Only incardinated priests may live at the residence
- No priest who has ever been removed from priestly ministry may apply for residency
- Ordinarily, residents are retired either due to age or because of medical issues that warrant care. Occasionally, priests who are actively engaged in priestly ministry may qualify temporarily to reside at the residence
- There are certain documents and matters of information that the priest-applicant must supply in the process of discerning whether St. Pius is suitable for him.
A priest-applicant is required to provide the following documents and information:
- Completed health care proxy along with power of attorney form;
- Supply a copy of his will to the diocesan chancellor;
- Copies of his medical insurance/Medicare cards;
- Particulars regarding his burial wishes;
- Information concerning medication and medical personnel;
- Each priest-resident must sign a form that allows both the rector and the pastoral associate to act on his behalf whenever he is hospitalized at the nearby Good Samaritan Medical Center. This expressed permission allows the administration of the residence to be part of any discharge planning. This is not intended to infringe upon the rights and duties of the priest’s named health care proxy.
St. Pius X is not licensed by any state or federal agency. The expenses of the residence are supplemented by the parishioners of the diocese along with donations made annually to a special collection for this purpose. It is understood that each priest-resident gives a portion of his diocesan pension towards the expenses incurred while residing at the residence. The amount of this monthly contribution is determined by the Bishop as a result of his consultation with what is known as our diocesan Sickness, Disability and Retirement Board.
Should a priest die while a resident at St. Pius, it is understood that the Diocese of Rockville Centre will cover most funeral and burial costs incurred and, through the office of the diocesan chancellor, all arrangements will be made.
All members of the presbyterate of the Diocese of Rockville Centre are encouraged to remember the needs of our retired priests in their estate planning. Inquiries may be addressed through the Diocesan Office for Institutional Advancement at (516) 379-5210.