Lay people step up amid priest shortage in Ireland

Lay people will begin leading prayers at the graveside or in crematoria in some parishes in the Diocese of Down and Connor this summer, in response to the shortage of priests.

The move is part of a pilot announced by the Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, in his role as apostolic administrator of the diocese in a new pastoral letter entitled, “Be part of God’s Amazing Dream”.

Published for Pentecost, Bishop McKeown reveals that within 15 years, the diocese will, for the first time in its history, have more priests who are retired than in active ministry.

Down and Connor currently has 86 parishes and 146 churches ministered to by around 84 priests in active ministry.

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