Number Of African Catholic Priests In The US On The Rise

Number Of African Catholic Priests In The US On The Rise

From Voice of America

There are more than 6,500 foreign-born Catholic priests in the United States – that’s a fourth of the total number of clergy, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA.)

Over the last 50 years, U.S. Catholics increased from 46.3 million to 66.6 million, while the number of priests dropped by a third – from 58,632 to 38,275.

Meanwhile in Africa, the number of priests more than doubled. So the United States started recruiting its clergy.

Mary Gautier of CARA wrote the 2014 book Bridging the Gap: International Priests Ministering in the United States. She says more than 1,000 U.S. Catholic priests are of African descent. More than 600 are Nigerian and 70, like Father Issac, are Kenyan.

Gautier says the United States is not experiencing the kind of shortage of priests that other countries are, but it is a shortage for Catholics used to having more than one or two priests in a church.

“I don’t think it’s wrong for us to be attracting these men but I also think we have to be very conscious and intentional about not exploiting their situation or their need,” says Father Phillip Brown, rector at the Theological College – the national seminary of the Catholic University of America. His religious order doesn’t recruit priests; it travels to Zambia to develop the church there.

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