Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Picking up the slack

As they prepare to close the "public" part of their November meeting, the U.S. bishops are preparing guidelines for the formation of "lay ecclesial ministers"--basically lay people doing all kinds of church work, from religious ed to youth ministry to parish administration. Those who receive a salary and work at least 20 hours a week now number more than 30,000, an increase of 53% since 1990. They work alongside about 42,000 U.S. priests, down from more than 57,000 in 1985. Add to that the scores of volunteer lay parish ministers, and you'll get a good picture of who is keeping the U.S. church afloat.

Oh yeah, by the way, 80% of those lay ecclesial ministers are women.


At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Spirit is at work here.... calling people forward to serve. Perhaps the "priest shortage" is the will of God. I should clarify the "shortage" is of ordained priests. But in actuality there is no "priest shortage" -- so I can agree with Archbishop Curtiss when he claimed this -- more than once. It seems there are plenty of priests (and priestesses) coming forward, just not the ones he wanted. Yes, I do believe the Spirit is truely working here... Now if the hierarchy would just get out of Her way!


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