Saratoga County

Priests’ home set for closure

The decline in numbers of Redemptorist priests and brothers is being blamed for the eventual closing

The decline in numbers of Redemptorist priests and brothers is being blamed for the eventual closing of the St. John Neumann Residence for elderly Roman Catholic clergymen at 233 Lake Ave.

The Redemptorist residence, which dates back to the early 20th century, is a city landmark. The skilled nursing residence is next door to St. Clement’s Church.

The residence is owned by the order of Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province. A date for closing the residence and the future use of the property have not yet been determined, according to province officials.

“It’s an unfortunate and sad decision,” said Marion Lunt, a spokeswoman for the province.

“They get excellent care [at the skilled nursing facility],” she said.

Lunt said there are about 40 rooms in the St. John Neumann Residence but only 26 men are currently residing there.

She said the maintenance and costly upkeep of the aging building is another concern of the province.

These 26 men, retired priests and brothers, will be moved to another third-party nursing facility, Lunt said.

“We are looking at other places, nursing homes,” Lunt said. She said the province is considering moving the older priests to a skilled nursing facility in Maryland but no final decision has been made.

Lunt said the decision to close the Neumann residence was based on many factors, but was primarily driven by the decline in the number of Redemptorists in the Baltimore Province.

“In the 1960s, the Baltimore Province numbered 600 or more men [but] today the province has less than 200 members,” says a statement from the Redemptorist Provincial office in Brooklyn.

“This decision is another way in which the Roman Catholic Church’s vocation crisis manifests itself,” the statement says.

“The St. John Neumann Residence has a large capacity, and the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province will not need such a space in the future,” the statement says.

Over the next several months, the province will explore several options and make a decision about another skilled nursing facility, province officials said.

No decision has been made concerning future use of the property, the statement says. “No changes regarding St. Clement’s parish were discussed.”

Lunt said the Redemptorists (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer) organizes its 5,875 priests and brothers by provinces, which are groups of communities within geographical areas.

Between Jan. 21 and Jan. 31, the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province met in its retreat house in Long Branch, N.J.

Seventy-four men served as chapter delegates during this leadership council, which meets every three years to elect leaders, set policies and plan for the future.

Lunt said that it was during this January session that chapter delegates decided that the province needed “to find a health care model more aligned with their personnel numbers and with faithful stewardship of their resources.”

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