Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Vocation Overseas Pipeline

In a December blog it was noted that there has been a slow-down in the number of ordinations in Poland. That, in turn, affects the recruitment of Polish priests and seminarians by US dioceses’ (including Chicago) to bolster their own dwindling and graying clergy.

So from where do dioceses import their priests now? Africa, and more specifically, Nigeria. At least that’s Chicago’s experience. Spokesman Fr. Jerry Boland said there were currently 160 international priests (ordained overseas) working in Chicago.  The largest single group is from Nigeria. This is not counting international religious-order priests or foreign-born seminarians studying to be ordained for Chicago.

Reports say the 24% of US major seminarians are foreign-born. Bishops counter complaints of some priests and laity about the newcomer’s language and cultural difficulties, by pointing to the gift of their valid and licit sacramental work. Other critics see the US Church wielding economic enticements to deprive other countries of their native vocations where the priest/parishioner ratio is often more desperate than in the United States.

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