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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019

There won't be enough priests for Ireland - but regular people will step in?

So says a bishop, anyway.


LAY CATHOLICS IN Ireland will step in to fill the void left by the fall in those entering the priesthood.

That is the prediction of the Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, who says that the pastoral ministry will “bring the church closer together”.

Just 14 men entered the priesthood last year in Ireland with just 57 in England and Wales.

However, Leahy says that the time has come for regular mass-goers to be asked to take on a bigger role in the church.

“Everything has its time and the time is right for a greater role by the laity in pastoral ministry.

“However, there are those who will have a priestly or consecrated-life vocational calling and I would urge them to listen to that. It can be challenging, it can sometimes have moments of loneliness and certainly a road less travelled. But no path is free of challenges or moments of loneliness and priests would readily admit that there is a huge sense of fulfilment in the role, particularly in the service of God.”

He thanked those in the congregation who have already pitched in.

“But it is true that we need also lay people directly committed to the workings of the parish community.

“For the community to be vibrant, it needs the creativity and energy of committed women and men who dedicate themselves to building up the parish community.”

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