The head of the largest Roman Catholic diocese in New England says the collections at Christmas Masses will help pay for housing and health care for 745 retired and sick priests.
Archdiocese of Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley says church resources haven't been able to keep pace with rising costs of health care and housing for ailing and elderly priests.
O'Malley calls on Catholics to give generously. He says the collections are a special Christmas gift to priests who spent their lives officiating at weddings, baptizing children, visiting the sick, presiding over funerals and providing spiritual services.
He says in his Christmas message people who've drifted away from the church are welcome back.
The Boston archdiocese is the spiritual home for more than 1.8 million Catholics, making it the fourth-largest archdiocese in the United States.