Members of the Diocese of Rochester’s Prince of Peace chapter of Catholic Golden Age marked the chapter’s 15th anniversary with a celebratory dinner in December 2005.
Catholic Golden Age is a national organization founded in 1975 in Scranton, Pa., to support and meet the needs of Catholic senior citizens. The organization’s leaders help members deal with and confront issues they think senior citizens are concerned about, including loneliness, poor health and inactivity.
Members of Catholic Golden Age also can save money by participating in the organization’s vision, hearing, dental and prescription-drug program or Access to Care, a program endorsed by the organization that can help seniors save money on nursing-home, medical equipment and home health-care costs. They also may be eligible to receive discounts on rental cars and popular vacation attractions, according to the organization’s Web site, www.catholicgoldenage.org.
Catholic Golden Age members also are included in the prayers, Masses and novenas of more than 20 congregations of priests, brothers and women religious, and each year the pope imparts an apostolic blessing on members.
The national organization has provided services for more than 1.5 million Catholics since its inception more than 30 years ago, said Irene Peters, president of the Prince of Peace chapter.
Peters was instrumental in founding the Prince of Peace chapter in 1990. A native of Rochester, Peters was living in Richmond, Va. and was president of a Catholic Golden Age chapter there when she met three women from Hornell at a national Catholic Golden Age conference. She was planning to move back to Rochester soon, and the women from Hornell urged her to start a chapter in her home diocese when she returned.
Peters took their words to heart while she was still living in Richmond and began driving to Rochester on the weekends to do some of the initial work necessary to form a new chapter.
“I just got in my car and drove 500 miles. I don’t know how I did it,” Peters recalled.
More than 50 people came to the new chapter’s first meeting, which was held Nov. 18, 1990, she added. In the coming weeks Peters and the other founding members of the chapter adopted a set of bylaws and voted to christen their group the Prince of Peace chapter.
“It was because it was a time when we were having problems in the Middle East. It was also around Christmastime that we voted,” Peters said.
Since then, the chapter has drawn more than 150 members from dozens of parishes throughout the diocese. The group is looking for new members, however, and is open to anyone — Catholic or not — who is at least 50 years old.
Members of the chapter typically meet once a month at St. Ann’s Community on Portland Avenue in Rochester. The meetings often feature speakers who give presentations about issues facing members, such as Medicare Part D. The chapter also organizes pilgrimages to religious sites and parties for members celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries, Peters said.
“What has always impressed me mostly are the good programs they have. … It’s just a good Catholic organization,” said Margaret Leavy, the chapter’s corresponding chairperson.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about the Prince of Peace chapter of Catholic Golden Age, contact Margaret Leavy at 585/594-2776.