Caring For Our Fathers: New priest retirement residence opens with dedication, blessing

September 22, 2015

HOUSTON - From all across the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, family, friends and guests of retired priests gathered Sept. 12 to celebrate the dedication of the new Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Priest Retirement Residence at St. Dominic Village in Houston.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, who led the dedication, was joined by Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz, retired Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza and retired Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Rizzotto.

“I’m just amazed a beauty of (this residence),” said Archbishop Fiorenza. “Thank you so much for your kindness and goodness and your contribution and I am deeply grateful to you. I am deeply honored that this place bears my name.”

Cardinal DiNardo reflected on how many priests have been instrumental in the lives of the faithful in Houston.

“We may remember priests who brought us compassion in our hour of need, or modeled for us what it means to serve those on the fringes of society, or guided our families with spiritual direction through their loving, pastoral care,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “These priests’ support of our journey required great sacrifices on their part. Many of these priests are now elderly and require care.” 

He also noted how “this dedication would not be possible without the transformational gifts of many donors who allowed this campaign to begin and finish in record time.” He thanked Raye White for her generous “incredible lead gift” to the residence.

The new construction features a communal living space with 24 residential suites, full-service kitchen, dining area, gathering space, library and study, courtyard and chapel.

This residence came to fruition under the leadership of Bishop Sheltz, Monsignor Frank Rossi and Father Sean Horrigan.

The residence’s construction effort was led by architect Mike Griffin; general manager George Pontikes and wife Laura, who provided liturgical art for the residence; Bert Libourel, project manager; and Chuck and Cindy Mormino who volunteered time and talent for the project.

“Thank you so very much for ensuring that our dream of providing this wonderful residence for our priests became a reality,” Cardinal DiNardo said. 

Father Nils Thompson, O.F.M., was excited about the new priest retirement residence. His boxes at the Pope John XVIII Home for Retired Priests had been packed up and ready to move into the new building the next week. 

“I’ve been living in the other home for the last four years, so I’m very pleased and excited about this new building,” Father Thompson said.
A product of a Catholic education in Galveston, Father Thompson was happy to to be in his home diocese.

“This is a wonderful gift to the priests that has been well deserved for a very long time,” said Theresa Bramanti of St. John Vianney Catholic Church. “I thought the blessing dedication was lovely. I’m very impressed with the layout and how they have thought of everything. It allows our priests to retire in a style that they should.”