Church Turns to the Average Person to Lead Parishes with Fewer Priests

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Faith, prayer, and fewer Catholic priests.

As the Church ordains fewer priests, it is relying on laypeople to play more
active roles providing pastoral leadership.

Bishop Terry LaValley says the Diocese of Ogdensburg is now looking at what
he calls Parish Life Coordinators, to act in the absence of a resident priest in parishes without them.

"We do not want our parishes to lose the presence of the church. If there cannot be physically a priest presiding there, we still need to have the church present," said LaValley.

It's quite the dilemma. In the catholic faith, only a priest can celebrate mass.

But priests are getting older and with fewer entering the vocation, it is
becoming more difficult.

While the ratio of laity to priests has steadily increased in the Catholic
Church, the Ogdensburg Bishop sees it more of a necessity as the number of
Diocesan priests continues to decline.

For someone to be appointed a parish life coordinator, they must possess a
Master's Degree in Church Management or its equivalent from an accredited
Catholic higher education institution.

Church leaders tell us this new approach providing pastoral care to build
up the Catholic faith in parishes without a resident priest is a big
priority for the Ogdensburg Diocese in the months and years ahead.

Friday, December 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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