Ireland, once a mighty powerhouse of priestly vocations, sent men by the thousands to the United States, Canada, and elsewhere to help build the Church here, over the last 150 years. But the Emerald Isle is now struggling just to ordain enough priests to meet its own ever-dwindling church-going Catholic population.
DUBLIN’S CATHOLIC archdiocese will soon have barely enough priests to serve its 199 parishes, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.“We have 46 priests over 80 and only two less than 35 years of age. In a very short time we will just have the bare number of priests required to have one active priest for each of our 199 parishes,” he said in Dublin’s pro-cathedral at the weekend.
He was speaking at a Mass on Saturday to celebrate the feast of St Lawrence O’Toole, principal patron of the Dublin Catholic archdiocese, of which he was archbishop from 1162 until 1180. Last April Archbishop Martin said there were now 10 times more priests over 70 than under 40 in the archdiocese.
In April also it emerged that the number of priests in Tuam Catholic archdiocese is set to fall by 30 per cent over the next four years, leaving most parishes there with just one resident priest. . . . (continue reading)