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Archives ‘You never retire from being a priest’

Sept. 29, 2021

Editor’s note: As part of this Priest Appreciation edition, the North Country Catholic is highlighting several retired priests of the diocese and how they continue to live out their vocations here in the North Country.

By Mary Beth Bracy
Contributing Writer

PERU – Even in retirement, Msgr. Dennis J. Duprey is still a few steps ahead of the rest of us. Sitting on his porch, he recounted humorous anecdotes about the days when Msgr. Joseph G. Aubin, Father Patrick W. Mundy, and Father Eduardo C. Pesigan III ate dinner together with him at St. Peter’s in Plattsburgh. Msgr. Duprey recalled some of their jokes and how they doubled over in laughter. Able to converse on any topic, Msgr. Duprey soon shifted to a discussion on Christianity and culture. He also grows stellar tomato plants.

On June 16, 2021, Msgr. Duprey retired. Though he was originally supposed to retire last year, Bishop Terry R. LaValley asked if he would go to St. Augustine’s in Peru. Msgr. Duprey was happy to do so and likened it to transitioning half way out of full ministry. St. Augustine’s is a “wonderful parish,” he shared. There are “lots of ideas” and the faithful are a “great help.”

Due to COVID, Msgr. Duprey publically celebrated his 50th anniversary a year late, as it was scheduled and rescheduled several times. A special Mass and dinner were held at St. Peter’s in Plattsburgh on August 15. Bishop LaValley and several priests were in attendance. Faithful from around the North Country came to share this special milestone with their pastor, family member, and friend.

Though no longer pastor at St. Augustine’s, Msgr. Duprey continues to reside at the rectory and offers Mass there a few weekends a month. He also celebrates or concelebrates weekday Masses there. Additionally, he sometimes fills-in at parishes throughout the diocese on weekends. Always ready to help, Msgr. Duprey recently oversaw the Apple Fest at St. Augustine’s.

Moreover, Msgr. Duprey remains dean of Clinton County and visits each of the parishes once a year. He is pleased to take “a load off of other priests who would usually have to do that,” and is able to complete tasks associated with the role more easily with his flexible schedule.

Very appreciative of the slower pace of retirement, Msgr. Duprey enjoys the moments to “do nothing.” Not being required “to keep a regular schedule all the time” is welcomed, and “as you get older” it is nice to live at a “slower, more deliberate pace.” It provides “more opportunity for reflection.”

Retirement also provides Msgr. Duprey with time to visit his many relatives and friends. He recently visited one of his sisters for a week and was able to accompany a relative to a medical appointment. When he goes on a trip, Msgr. Duprey said he no longer needs to hurry back to oversee things at a parish as he did when he was a pastor. He is able to stop and play golf with other retired priests.

Msgr. Duprey plans to drive to Florida this year and visit loved ones along the way. The trip will take a month, whereas in the past he would only have about 11 days in Florida each year.

“Retirement affords you to see people you do not see, people you’ve touched or who have touched you,” he reflected.

It means your “adjusting to a pace you’re capable of,” that will “enrich your life and others.” It is important to keep a “rhythm to life,” so it is “not haphazard.” The contribution of retired priests is needed and, in some ways, he shared that they function like a community of religious. They also help with confession services throughout the year.

In the future Msgr. Duprey said he would like to do more “outreach to others” and volunteer in various activities, whether with the St. Vincent de Paul society or soup kitchens.

“Recreation is important,” said Msgr. Duprey, who walks several times a week and noted Peru is a great community for walking, whether in the downtown or on hiking paths. “September is the best golf month for the year. The trees are beautiful, the weather is best, and there are fewer people” on the courses.

Msgr. Duprey also enjoys reading, when it doesn’t put him to sleep, and watching television. He calls others more regularly and talks with Msgr. Aubin several times a week.

“You never retire from being a priest,” concluded Msgr. Duprey, you “simply retire from administrative duties.”

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