I hear my local priest say in his homily that there’s a shortage of priests in Ireland, is there really a shortage of priests?
Well, there certainly is a shortage of young priests in Ireland. In some dioceses there are parishes with no priests at all and in most parishes there are no young priests.
There is an effort to address this problem by so-called ‘clustering’ of parishes (e.g. one priest serving several parishes), but this puts a lot of strain on priests.
Some dioceses have welcomed younger priests from other countries to help deal with the critical shortage. Others have enlisted lay people to help with tasks such as leading funeral prayers and services. These were traditionally part of the priest’s role, but lay people can do them too.
I think we can safely say that the situation is getting worse, that there are fewer young men coming forward for ordination, and that this will have a huge impact on the Church’s life (parish life in particular) into the future.
Most popular questions
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- Is a brother the same as a priest?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- Why do we have priests? Can’t lay people do the work of priests?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- At times, I find it very hard to pray. Is prayer easier when you become a priest?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- Why can’t priests date and get married?
- What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?