Out of sight, out of mind
Once ubiquitous, the parish priest is disappearing into thin air, with troubling effects on young Catholic imaginations.
A few years ago while teaching, I realized that my students, mostly Catholic high school graduates, considered bishops to be distant administrators and not teachers. This attitude initially puzzled me, but I soon realized that, because of the decline in priestly vocations, most had been taught solely by laypeople and did not view clerics as teachers.
Picturing the perfect priest
Our readers have some strong ideas about how to build a better clergy--from training to ordination requirements to personal traits that make a priest great.
All you priests, seminarians, and those consid-ering the ordained life out there may want to sit down, put your feet up, and take a deep breath before you read any further. The results of our special survey, "What do you want in a priest?" are in. More than 800 readers and other Catholics weighed in with their opinions, and many of their wish lists make the Easter Vigil look short in comparison.
One size pastor doesn't fit all parishes
Multiple parish pastoring became an issue in the United States in the late 1980s and early 90s as the number of priests started to decline, according to Mark Mogilka, who was the director of stewardship and pastoral services for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin for 16 years.
"Some bishops proclaimed, ‘We will never close a parish,’ but that forces your hand," he explains. "You have to increase the number of multiple parish pastoring situations."
Roamin' Collar: Multi-parish priests
Pastors across the country serve two, three, and even seven parishes. With innovation and flexibility, parishes are learning as they go.
Seniors need some class: Let's have religious ed for our church elders
Jesus taught adults, so why are parishes so focused on educating young children when the older members could really use the lessons?
Sounding Boards are one person's take on a many-sided subject and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.
Men of the same cloth? Old priests vs. new priests
As wing tips and clerical collars replace sandals and golf shirts, parishes react to a new style of priest.
When the alarm clock rings, Father James Moore, 33, pops out of bed. He brews coffee, makes his bed, and launches into prayer.
Down the hall, Father Bart Hutcherson, 48, likes to set two alarms half an hour apart to ease into the morning. He doesn’t bother making his bed.
Priestly people skills
Many consider fervent “JPII priests” a clear byproduct of today’s seminaries—which leads them to wonder what kind of social training seminarians receive.
Homegrown clergy: The case for a new kind of priesthood
Mmusong is a small but vibrant Catholic community of about 700 high in the mountains of South Africa. On Sundays the simple church building is full, but most of the time not for Mass, only for a service of the Word.
Mass is something rare in Mmusong. The priest of the distant parish center serves nine communities, and he is able to celebrate Mass in Mmusong only once a month.