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January 27, 1995     The Message
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January 27, 1995

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Future parish staffing: Clergy numbers.d B" PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor Any compilation of numbers can be suspect. That's the first word and the first warning in a recently prepared report: "Clergy trends for the future" in the Diocese of Evansville. The numbers in the report were collected by Holy Names Sister Louise Bond, chancellor, from various sources. Efforts to predict and project future parish staffing needs are not new, but were given a more prominent push in recent months as a result of Synod' 93. Among the facts gathered for the report are statistics on the number of priests available to serve Catholics throughout the world. The latest numbers are from 1992. The statistics are reported in the 1995 Catholic Almanac, from Our Sunday Visitor Pub- lishing..Division, Huntington, Ind. The Almanac's principal sources include Vatican docu- ments, which are collections of reports from dioceses and Catholic Conferences in the world. Sister Bond notes that the world reports are not stan- dardized -- that is, some dioce- ses may have counted active and inactive priests in their re- ports; others may have used only active parish priests. The various methods used in com- piling statistics mean that mathematically precise com- parisons are not possible. Even the rough numbers, however, paint a clear picture: there are many more priests available in Canada and the United States than there are Projections: Active in Parishes -- if one new priest is ordained each year, and, -- if all eligible priests retire at age 65. Year Diocesan Religious Order Total Priests Priests 1994 63 5 68 1995 52 5 57 2000 52 5 57 2005 43 4 47 Projections: Active in Parishes -- if one new priest is ordained each year, and, -- if all eligible priests retire at age 70. Year 1994 1995 2000 2005 Diocesan Priests 63 58 57 57 Religious Order Priests 5 5 5 4 Total 68 63 62 61 II Ratio of Priests to Catholics (1992 Statistics) Country/ i Total I Total I Catholics Continent Priests Catholics per Priest Africa 21,754 95,613,000 4,395 Asia I 35,830 92,548,000 2,583 Canada 10,555 12,585,000 1,192 Central America 21,619 134,065,000 6,201 Europe 222,476 5,229 288,172,000 404,636 1,295 960,512,000 Oceania 7,241,000 1,385 South America 37,739 273,431,000 7,245 United States 49,434 56,857,000 1,150 ., .,, ,, Worldwide 2,374 Evansville* , I 68 1 88,237 I 1,297 J II II Diocesan policy on priests' retirement *a. Ira priest wishes to retire at age 65, his resignation will be accepted. b. At age 70, a priest would be expected to retire from his current position. However, if he ex- presses a wish to continue in the active ministry and is able to do so, he will be asked to ac- cept a position of less responsibility unless he has already done so in the previous five-year period. c. At age 75, a priest's retirement from any official position in the diocese is mandatory, but he will be free to offer his services in a parish or institution in the Diocese with the approval of the Ordinary. Third Synod of the Diocese of Evansville Approved May 3, 1969 Effective September 8, 1969 II i i li l i I II in most of the world. Although dioceses have served the Diocese of Evansville has fewer priests than the U.S. av- erage, there is still an abun- dance as compared to the worldwide average. In 1994, the Diocese of Evansville had 68 priests in parish service, for 88,237 regis- tered Catholics, or a ratio of one priest per 1,297 Catholics. The United States as a whole has one priest for every 921 Catholics; in the world, the ratio is one priest per 2,112 Catholics. The future is more difficult to describe. A recent study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate provided some facts, which have been updated by study of available facts in the diocese. Over the past 15 years, 19 priests have died or resigned from active service; only 14 were ordained. Over the past 15 years, ap- proximately 77 percent of all active diocesan priests have been assigned primarily to parish service. The remaining 23 percent were assigned to school, hospital, chancery and other special ministries, or to full time study. Retirement age in the Dio- cese of Evansville is 65, al- though some priests retire ear- lier because of ill health, and many more delay their retire- ment to continue parish ser- vice. Projections for the future are built upon a range of "ifs" and "what ifs." If all priests would chose to retire at age 65, 46 priests would retire from active parish service in the Diocese of Evansville in the next 10 years, that is, between now and 2005. What if all priests waited until age 70 to retire? Then only 29 would retire in "the next 10 years. Sister Bond noted that the likelihood for the future is that the number of retires will prob- ably be somewhere in between 29 and 46. What about the possibility of priests coming from other dio- ceses to serve in southwestern Indiana? Priests from other ily in the Diocese but in the last 15 priest has the Diocese of cardination is by which a cleric a diocese and authority of its activity is any future, there is no pert an increase of the Diocese of through this means, In the diocese Benedictine prte service in femur tions about Benedictine similar to the for diocesan priests. : Because of the because Benedietir have charisms for other service to the slight decline in the priests available for vice is projected. priests will be cording Since 1980, 10 parish service for the Diocese Two priests are ordained this year. A reasonable the next 10 years new priest will b, each year. all tions -- ac such an effort is necessary for ph following cc made. If one new each year, priests actually 65, the Diocese will have a priests (includi priests) to serve in 2005. If one new each year, priests retire a Diocese of a total of 61 members ties) to serve the the year 2005. If what really h somewhere in numbers, then in Catholics who n v parishes will be more than 47 but Pastoral Life Coord Three pastoral life coordinators currently serve iril in the Diocese of Evansville. The practice of other than a priest in pastoral leadership dates bacl Benedictine Sister Diane Fischer serves as ordinator of Holy Name Church, Bloomfield. pointed by Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger in 1991. Deacon Robert Hayden of Evansville is pastoral nator of Blessed Sacrament Church, Oakland CitY, DeaCO * Hayden was appointed in 1993, succeeding Preske of Evansville. Benedictine Sister Mary Terence Knapp is dinator of St. Nicholas Church, Santa Claus, served since 1989 -- the year,the former St. was established as a parish. Sister Knapp is the first person other than a to such a position of parish leadership in t title at the time was Pastoral Admini Name Church, Bloomfield, from 1981 to 1989. The late Donald Lahay, formerly active as s Diocese of Evansville, served as pastoral Saints Church, Cannelburg, and of St. Mary County. During his years of service to the two his wife Clare rede at, All Saint,!