retirement musings

i had a wonderful dinner with some friends the other night. i had not seen them in about two years and there was much catching up to do. at one point of the evening, the topic turned to retirement and bucket lists. then i was asked when i was going to retire.

for me, retirement is always a curious thing to imagine.

i am at the age where a number of folks i know are either retired or close to it. for them, finances, insurance, and pensions are part of the equation for not working full time any more. being a claretian missionary has afforded me the gift of not worrying about retirement– i am fortunate indeed. so for me, i think not about retiring but scaling back and/or a change of ministries and activity. as a claretian priest i live a different style of life; i do not have a “job”

so as i stand today, here are some musings on possible changes in ministries and activities as i get older:

i would like to live and serve in a parish– just not as a pastor. i would want to keep my administrative responsibilities to a bare minimum– none if possible! dealing with finances, personnel issues and building/plant management bring me no joy at this point in life. in a parish, i would serve in whatever sacramental needs there are. but within the community, i can have more time to dive into personal areas of interest connected to ministry.

in a parish, i can (selfishly) incorporate things that interest me and that activities that i enjoy.

i can work with the school’s chess club. if there was not a school, i could go to a neighboring parish or community center. i would try to strike a good balance between developing the basic skills of the game but also having fun with speed chess and chess variation games. on my day off, i can go down to the local gathering spot– like near the santa monica pier– and play some social chess with whoever shows up.

i would enjoy facilitating peace circles at different levels. i could develop a leadership enrichment model at the parish level.

i could be an assistant coach for youth basketball. helping run drills and aiding the coach would be great fun. for many, coaches are some of the most influential people in their lives. after practice, we can have some fun with games of h-o-r-s-e and shooting contests. i can impart the beauty of such nba stars as spencer haywood, freddie brown, gary payton and shawn kemp. we could have some new recruits for the “bring back the sonics” movement!

i can work with the people in music ministry. at the right time, i could choose one of the groups and play guitar or percussion with them at their practices. over the years, i have cultivated a decent liturgical guitar sense but i rarely share it with others. i have collected a good number of percussion instruments too. i love to play the bongos and tambourine. and i have been forever affected by the catchy caribbean beats from our lady of fatima parish in perth amboy, nj! on my day off, i want to join in on some local drumming circles. there is something primordial about becoming lost in a group of drums.

i hope to continue to be involved in interfaith community organizing too. at protest gatherings, i can be guy banging on the drum to get the groups’ energy level going!

i have never seen a parish hiking club but i would like to be part of something like that. i want to hike among my friends– the trees– til the day i die. walking among tree energy is reinvigorating and a true gift of God for us. perhaps i can help discover a way to incorporate some basic tai chi movements and deep breathing exercises in the warm up and cool down to the hikes.

so, as i age i would like to keep up my fitness, music, chess and reading as much as possible.

for my vacations, i could join the apostleship of the sea and be a chaplain on some cruises. i did it once in 2011 to alaska. it was the most relaxing vacation i had ever had in my whole life! maybe i can talk a cousin in hawaii into a different kind of working vacay. since he is a pastor, we could coordinate vacations and i could cover his masses while he is gone and stay at the rectory for some hawaiian time away to revive my aloha spirit. of course, seattle will always be my hometown vacay get-a-way for me.

so, i do not have “retirement” plans. i just have age appropriate activity and ministry adjustments. all of this or none of this could happen. but i had fun this morning dreaming a little bit…

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


  1. DC says:

    Can you give me a call when you have a moment?


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      i just now saw this… my cell changed to 206-722-2527. please call me if i do not call you first


  2. That sounds like an amazing “age appropriate activities abs ministries adjustment” plan! Totally doable and fulfilling!


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      possibly! the old joke is: if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for your life

      Liked by 1 person

  3. DC says:

    It seems the number I have does not work.


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      new cell: 206-722-2527


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