Baton Rouge diocese announces changes to address priest shortage
BATON ROUGE - As the number of available priests continues to shrink and the number of practicing Catholics continues to rise, the diocese of Baton Rouge is taking steps to ease the burden placed on remaining clergy.
The Pastoral Planning Task Force of the Diocese of Baton Rouge released a summary of its recommendations for the diocese Sunday. The task force, which was commissioned by Bishop Robert Muench, has made a number of recommendations to address the growth in the Catholic population and a dwindling number of priests.
Actions recommended so far include a diocese-wide reduction of masses where appropriate, shared pastors for churches in close proximity to one another and expanding support services for priests.
Task force chairman Father Trey Nelson, who is pastor at St. Jude the Apostle in Baton Rouge, said the group consists of 12 members that includes lay persons, religious and priests.
According to a diocese spokesperson, the total number of priests in the diocese has decreased from 146 to 100 while the number of parishes has grown from 64 to 67. Over the same period, the Catholic population of the diocese has risen from over 172,000 to approximately 235,000, and the number of Catholics per priest has nearly doubled from approximately 1180 to over 2300.
A detailed description of all changes can be found by clicking HERE.