Only one Catholic priest will be ordained on the island of Ireland in 2020, according to a report by Sarah MacDonald to the Tablet, August 18th, 2020.
On Sunday Aug. 23rd 2020, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam will ordain Rev Shane Costello to the priesthood for the Archdiocese, at Knock Basilica, Co Mayo.
Oddly, more bishops than priests will be ordained this year. The new bishop of Achonry, Fr Paul Dempsey is due to take place on 30 August. The new bishop of Kilmore, Fr Martin Hayes is due to be ordained at the end of September.
According to Fr Paddy Byrne, parish priest of Abbeyleix and Ballyroan in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, the problem of an ageing and declining number of clergy has been highlighted by the Covid-19 lockdown because the majority of clergy have had to cocoon as they are over 70 years of age.
Clergy are “blue in the face” talking about the vocations crisis, according to Fr Byrne.
“We need a radical reappraisal in Ireland – an honest dialogue about what has gone wrong with the vocation of priesthood.”
“The Church has a huge opportunity to be present in the bits and pieces of people’s broken lives and to do that with great fulfilment. But it is very sad that we are coming to a moment where the presence of clergy will be no more unless we do something to bring about real change,” Fr Byrne warns.
For the full Tablet report, click here.