Marking Vocations Sunday, a letter from the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, Francis Duffy which was read out at weekend Masses highlighting the decreasing number of priests.
At the moment each parish has at least one priest - there are 51 priests in ministry in the 41 parishes of the diocese, however this is likely to change due to the ongoing decline.
Over the next five years, twelve priests will reach retirement age (75) and only one priest will be ordained.
During the following five years an additional ten priests will reach retirement age. Just two students are currently studying for the priesthood ‘so the outlook for the short to medium term is one of dramatic decline’.
Bishop Duffy explained that he will initiate a process to engage parishioners and clergy in planning for the future.
“As part of the preparation, I will meet with Parish pastoral councils and listen to their views, as I believe they play a key role in the diocese.”