Fr. John Manning has lived a full life in the Cleveland Diocese. He was ordained in 1972 and served at several parishes – including 21 years as pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church – but most of his career was on the faculty of Borromeo College and St. Mary's Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. Though still teaching an occasional course, Fr. Manning retired in 2021.
Like many retired priests, Fr. Manning stays active in the church and is generous with his time. He fills in for pastors, helps with penance services, and gives presentations in the Theology on Tap program, including a series on the history of the Catholic Church in Cleveland, sharing his deep knowledge of history with humor and personal anecdotes.
“As a parish priest, you’re the CEO, CFO, maintenance supervisor and more! So in retirement, it’s a great experience to be freed from that, living a simpler life, catching up on reading, really reflecting on the scriptures, and doing what I was ordained to do – to preach, celebrate and walk with people.”
As former Bishop’s Delegate for Senior Priests, Fr. Manning says many are pleased the diocese remembers their needs, especially with additional support from the Heart of a Shepherd campaign. “Many are retiring now, and there’s concern about finances as we rely on Social Security and the retired clergy pension. An increase is so important with inflation in groceries and other expenses.”
He was astounded by the generosity of donors to the Heart of a Shepherd campaign. “I thought most people wouldn’t know about the need for seminary renovations or helping retired priests. I’ve heard many priests say it is so gratifying and impressive.”