Priests on Loan and the Diaconate

I’d like to alert you to a New York Times article about priests from other countries, especially Asia and Africa, filling shortages found in American dioceses. To read it, log on to:

www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/us/28priest.html?_r=2&hp

In my home diocese, we have several priests now from other countries serving our parishes, and doing so well from what I can see. As in many dioceses, pastoral planning has been and continues to be of great importance.

The surge of interest in the permanent diaconate coincides with this.

Diaconal identity and spirituality are developing in the context of an even greater surge of commissioned lay ministers and an increasing priest shortage.  How diaconal identity and spirituality develops in this context is critical. I believe the Holy Spirit has renewed diaconate so as to breathe life into: 1) the diakonia (service) of the Church and 2) the kenosis (self-emptying) of Jesus Christ in word, charity and worship.

I don’t think though the diaconate is here to meet the needs of the shortage of priests in our country.  

Perhaps the Holy Spirit has brought us also “priests on loan” to remind us that we are a Church universal and an American church in need of missionaries from other lands and cultures.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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