Nazareth Village, the retirement residence for priests of the Diocese of Paterson, was opened July 1st, 1993. The property was purchased from the Resolution Trust Corporation, a government agency charged with selling properties that could not be salvaged from failed savings and loans. Bishop Frank Rodimer gave permission to bid on the property with a cap of 3 million dollars. The property was appraised at 8.5 million. The diocese won the bid at 2.4 million, and sold the back part of the property for 1.6 million.
Bishop Rodimer assigned Father Ray Lopatesky as the first director and charged him with the construction and development of the property. The five condominiums were unfinished and had to be redesigned into apartments and common rooms. Through the generosity of the people and priests of the Diocese of Paterson, over 50 priests made their home at Nazareth since its opening. Nazareth village consists of 10 condominiums that have been connected to form five large buildings; Our Lady of Nazareth Residence, St. Joseph Residence, St. Francis Residence, St. John Vianney Residence, Cabrini Home Health Care Facility, and “The Carriage House” maintenance building.
Each priest-resident’s apartment has a sitting room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette. In addition, there is a card room, library, refectory, TV room, parlor, laundry, physical therapy room, scriptorium, and an exercise room for their use. The residents are charged a portion of their monthly pension for rent. Each apartment is cleaned weekly and laundry service is provided weekly. The main meal is Monday to Friday at noon. Residents may use their kitchenettes or the common kitchen in each building to prepare breakfast and dinner daily, and on the weekends.
The cornerstone and heart of Nazareth Village is the chapel, “Our Lady, Mother of Priests.” That is where the priests celebrate the Sacred Liturgy, and that is where the Lord dwells in the tabernacle for them to visit. The chapel reminds us all of the lifetime commitment that each priest makes for us. In actuality, Catholic priests never “retire” — and continue ministering to God’s people. All of the priest residents at Nazareth assist in local parishes, even well into their nineties!
When our priests gather in the chapel as a community to celebrate the Eucharist, or when they sit in silent prayer, their thoughts are on those whose lives they touched through their many years of dedicated service.
Nazareth Village is not an “old age home,” but as any priest resident will attest, it is a happy place where there is a true sense of fraternity and friendship. It is a place full of life, fun, tremendous support and much love. Msgr. Lopatesky, the Director, maintains the philosophy that for a priests successful retirement, three things are absolutely necessary; a place to call their own, something to do each day, and people who love them. Nazareth Village is founded on this philosophy, and has maintained this philosophy since its inception. From time in the seminary most priests have lived either alone or with one or two others. To retire in a larger community can be a difficult transition. Life at Nazareth does not consist of rules and regulations, but a list of “courtesies” agreed to by all of the residents.
Family, friends, visitors and guests are always welcome at Nazareth Village. There are guest rooms in each building. Priests, deacons, and seminarians are encouraged to visit the retired priests, have a meal or to make a private retreat or day of recollection.
In 2015, the Bishop and Presbyterial Council granted permission to invite priests from other dioceses and religious congregations to apply for residence at Nazareth after consultation with their individual ecclesiastcal superiors and the director. Inquires should be sent in writing or you can contact us.