Someday--there will be priestless parishes?

This is what my new parish priest said yesterday…speaking really about central Florida, mainly. I looked at my husband shocked…he said that there will be more Deacons taking over non church positions, so that more priests can be at mass…but, he said the day is coming when the priests will ‘run out,’ here in central Florida. It saddened me.

What do you think about his statement? And, hypothetically…let’s say this is a strong possibility…what will be the future of the RCC?:frowning:

This isn’t the future. This is the current situation in Nevada. For example, yesterday we went to a communion service at our parish because there are not enough priests to cover all the mass times needed. We have two priests for our parish and they cover for about 3 other rural areas.

The RCC is still strong. The deacons are wonderful and we are seeing older men becoming deacons. The Church has been around for 2000 years I think it will continue just fine. In the meantime however, we are praying for more vocations.

1. There are maps of priestless parishes in the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia, reflecting the state of the Church in the US as it was before V2 - so it is not a new problem.

  1. God will take of the Church :smiley: - so there is absolutely no need to worry. Unless we believe that God is incapable or superannuated :slight_smile:

I agree with both of you–yet I am praying hard for the strength of the RCC!!

Was it not Paul who wrote - when I am weak I am strong…

Gottle? Cant recal the verse at the moment…

Were I live we have one priest for 3 parish’s. All three parish’s are in different towns. We do have Mass every Sunday. However, Confession is not that often. I normally go to another larger parish for Confession. In my mom’s parish, there is one priest for 2 parish’s. Again, both parish’s are in different towns.

The RCC is fine.

It is only in North America and Europe that there is a priest shortage.

We will see more priests from other countries (such as Poland, Phillipines and Africa). Our pastor just announced this week that we will be getting a new Associate Pastor - from Slovkia.

Help from those lands will get us by until the strong, orthodox young men graduating from the seminaries now can become bishops.

It is here now. Some in Minnesota only have Pastoral Administrators and Area Faith Communities (1 priest for 2-4 parishes) are also here and becoming more common.

God Grant us more Priests
God Grant us more vocations
God Grant us moreTLM’s which will give us more Priests

The Church has overcome such difficulties in the past–St. Basil describes the more radical measures that were taken in times of great shortage:

All the solitaries in the desert, where there is no priest, take the communion themselves, keeping communion at home. And at Alexandria and in Egypt, each one of the laity, for the most part, keeps the communion, at his own house, and participates in it when he likes. For when once the priest has completed the offering, and given it, the recipient, participating in it each time as entire, is bound to believe that he properly takes and receives it from the giver. And even in the church, when the priest gives the portion, the recipient takes it with complete power over it, and so lifts it to his lips with his own hand. It has the same validity whether one portion or several portions are received from the priest at the same time.

The Church will survive, of that we are assured. Thank God that He is in Charge and we are not! By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church will survive even against our best efforts to defeat it…

Several causes are manifested in the parishes of today that impact vocations:

The Culture of Death and the killing of the unborn and the elderly.

Catholic families are smaller, fewer and fewer parents advocate relligious vocations [priests, nun, monks, etc] for their children. In fact many parents work to keep their children from acknowleding the call to a religious life. Instead, they want their only child [or their two children] to seek careers and families [of only one or two children - so they can be grandparents]. Our sociaety is anti-child and pro-material [high powered career] oriented.

Parish [and Seminary] support is meager [see all the threads justifying why we can’t be held accountable for our support - as in it is no ones business - especially the priests - how much I give [or don’t] to support the parish and the archdioscese and the seminaries, etc. If we don’t care enough about our parishes to provide the resources for it to fulfill its gospel mission, why would anyone want to seek the role of priest? We are called to come together as a family of God to eat the family meal, the Eucharist. This sustains us and enables us the Grace to evangelze…who do we eevngelize first?..our children, of sourse and that by example…what example do we set? A Starbucks coffee is worth mire than the Eucharist…

In spite of all these challenges, good, holy men are choosing to enter into the seminary and accept a vow of obedience in order to serve God and us…Praise be to God…

look at your families, how many sons, brothers, uncles, nephews and cousins are in the priesthood? Ask one of them if they have considereda priestly vocation…You may be the voie of Jesus, asking them to answer a higher calling…

I’m also in central Fl, so I know what you mean. Like other posters have said, a shortage of clergy is nothing new and isn’t the end of the world for our Church and our Faith. I keep getting this feeling that our generation (folks in their 20s and teens, mostly) are pushing for a new springtime in the Church. Look at the large numbers of young people who are interested in the traditional Mass, for example, as well as the massive numbers of people who are attending Papal Masses and reading the Pope’s writings. Religious orders who have a strong adherence to orthodoxy and tradition are thriving and are bringing in large numbers of vocations.

There are priestless parishes now. Both in the US and other places. Parishes that have deacons celebrate communion services with reserved hosts. Or that have to go without Mass until the "circuit riding’ priest gets to their town.

Please pray for vocations! Encourage your sons!

it has already happened in many dioceses of the US, parishes are clustered under one pastor who visits for at least one weekend Mass, funerals, weddings and baptisms are conducted mostly by deacons, who also handle marriage prep, most of the pastoral duties, with the priest visiting at scheduled times only for Mass and confession. In some dioceses the anomalous position of “pastoral minister” or “pastoral associate” held by a layperson, even a nun or another woman has become common (and entirely non-canonical, by the way).

in mission territories, in the US and elsewhere, it has long been common for priests to visit regularly and for deacons, catechists or others to carry on leadership of the community, with religious instruction, sacramental prep, bible study, liturgies of the Word etc. in his absence. Then when he comes all the baptisms, confirmations, 1st communions, marriages, confessions etc. take place at once.

There are priestless parishes now. Both in the US and other places. Parishes that have deacons celebrate communion services with reserved hosts. Or that have to go without Mass until the "circuit riding’ priest gets to their town.

Please pray for vocations! Encourage your sons!

With the exception of deacons celebrating communion services, this describes the situation that existed in many areas of the U.S. in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century. Only then the “circuit riders” were on horses, not automobiles!

At Mass this morning, our new assistant pastor was preaching about the Gospel ('beg the harvest master to send more workers into the vineyard"). He noted how blessed we are in our parish - there are four priests living in our rectory right now. We have a pastor, an assistant, and one “in residence” priest who has a full-time administrative post within the diocese. For the next few weeks, there is a priest from Africa staying at our rectory who is preaching at various parishes in the diocese. In his sermon, Father reminded us in his sermon to pray, pray, pray, pray for vocations. Amen, Father! :thumbsup:

I am in Iowa… same situation. My “cluster” of 4 parishes has one priest. Now, two of the parishes are small (less than 100 families), but still, it is not easy for the pastor to be everywhere at once. And, if we did not have help from local retired priests, one of those small parishes would be closed (a lot of parishes have been closed in my Archdiocese in the last couple years).

There is another issue involved. With proper organization, we might have enough priests to “do the circuit” for Sunday Masses, but what will parish life be like? Confessions are definitely more difficult to schedule because the priest often arrives just before mass and then has to leave right after for his next parish mass.
Parish life might be different when the pastor (who, practically speaking becomes really just a travelling “sacramental priest”) is only seen occasionally by parishoners. The fatherly leadership position of the pastor will be changed. Many of these clusters are starting to have deacons or laity in the non-sacramental administrative positions called, for example, “pastoral associates”. Some more “progressive” lay people actually like this situation because they think it gives the laity more “power” in the Church. Some are also arguing for more of what is called Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest. I know that it is necessary at times, but I the sacrifice of the Mass is much preferible to a Sunday Communion Service.

We need to pray for vocations, and dioceses will have to get creative–making use of foreign priests, etc.

Face it, the U.S. is a mission territory again. We need to be evangelized in order to remain a functioning church.

By the way, I do not mean to disparage leadership by deacons nor the laity. Deacons fulfill much needed roles in catechesis, evangelization, preaching, liturgy, charitable work, etc. I, also, am of the opinion that the laity could use their gifts to do a lot of non-sacramental/administrative things that the priests do not have to do (book-keeping, organizing religious education, etc., leading the plethora of meetings that a priest has to deal with in the modern day diocesan/parish bureaucracy). However, it will be an odd situation when some lay parish administrators start serving as leaders for the parish, including telling the “sacramental priests” what they are to do and not to do.

Not really odd at all. In our parish the deacon is the administrator and takes care of the day to day stuff. The priests (one from Mexico, one from India) take care of the spiritual side of the parish.

In my community in CT, we had a few parishes combine, going from 4 priests (2 each) to one. Some are in danger of closing, but the Dominican church nearby has 3 priests and plenty of visiting ones. From my limited exposure and perspective, it seems the communities like theirs do better than the diocesan priests, at least in our area.
On TV, EWTN’s nuns are overflowing (the attraction via the TV would only last so long and the women stay) and the friars in Fr. Groechel;s Franciscan group in NYC went from 15 to over 100 in a few years. I suppose the calling to those groups takes more sacrifice, the new members are very motivated and love not only God but their particular type of order. Diocesan priests have a great calling too, but bogged down by all the paperwork, meetings, a sometimes needy or apathetic parish, you get overwhelmed alone. I know one priest that told me when he wasn’t “assisting” anymore and they wanted him to be the parish priest alone, he asked to be a hospital chaplain. He loved it and later in his late 50’s settled into a parish that practically ran itself. I asked him why he didn’t like it as much. He said diocesan priests were the thing most guys became in his day…the lack of the vow of poverty, the 3 squares and a warm bed, housekeeper, secretary, etc. made it more appealing and you could do “priestly things”. The priests met for bowling, pizza, etc. and you had your own community. Now, it’s “I’m busy, I need a vacation, I have to be everywhere at once”.
I keep praying for vocations and hearing of 2 districts with 15 men going into the seminary is heartening, but we have a long way to go…I have faith though that the church will prevail through these growing pains and be more devout because of it.

St. Anthony Messenger ran an article (a year ago) concerning how the Diocese of San Bernardino was handling its priest-less parishes.

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