“Ask a Priest: How Can We Recruit Priests for Our Parish?”

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Q: We are a rural Catholic church in the South. As you can expect, we are having problems throughout the diocese in finding priests for our parishes. Our current pastor has about a year and a half left before he retires. We would like to attract a priest to pastor us over the next six to 12 years. We have fewer than 200 families in our parish, but expect to grow as population shifts. Is there a website we could use to locate priests who would consider moving to our parish? They could be missionary priests or others who would consider meeting with us. How can we get the word out on a national basis that we would like to speak with priests and their bishops about the possibility that one might eventually become our pastor? Thank you. – T.N.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: Thanks for your desire to have a priest for your parish in the future.

Recruiting a priest from outside the diocese is something that would be done by the bishop or someone he appoints. Laypeople can’t recruit on their own for something like this.

The best thing would be to contact the chancery, though it is probably already well aware of the priest shortage.

In the meantime you might want to promote Eucharistic adoration for vocations in your area. “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

While the presence of foreign-born priests is a godsend for many parishes, the better long-term solution is to promote vocations among the young men in your own diocese. As much as the U.S. is experiencing a priest shortage, the problem is even more acute elsewhere in the world.

Perhaps you can work to find vocation prospects in your area, and pass on the leads to the diocesan vocations director.

For more ideas, see http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/adoration/holy-hour-for-vocations.cfm.

You might also think about getting parishioners to pray for the perseverance of a particular seminarian in the diocese. I hope some of this helps.

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One Comment
  1. I found this question very strange. I have never heard of a parish looking for ways to “recruit” a pastor for their parish. How would the parishioners of a Catholic Church not know that their church comes under the authority of the Bishop of their diocese? Where or how did the parish acquire the current “pastor”?

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