During the month of June, Bishop O'Connell met with priests working in all four counties of the Diocese of Trenton for his annual pre-summer report on the "State of the Diocese." in his prepared remarks the Bishop shared the following information:
- There are 107 parishes in the Diocese of Trenton including about 10 parishes that have been merged or combined (twinned) under the leadership of a single pastors or priest administrator.
- There are 200 priests with faculties to work in the Diocese of Trenton, including retired priests from local dioceses, adjunct priests assisting in parishes, and members of men's religious orders. Of that total number, 166 are priests of the Diocese of Trenton. Only two priests, including the Bishop, work full-time in the Chancery.
- Within the next five (5) years, 51 priests of the Diocese of Trenton will be 70 years of age or older and eligible for retirement from full-time ministry, leaving 115 diocesan priests to serve in our 107 parishes. These numbers do not account for priests who may die or become otherwise incapacitated; priests who may resign from the priesthood or who may not continue to serve as priests.
"These numbers are sobering," observed the Bishop, "And they underscore the need to promote and encourage vocations to the priesthood in every parish, school and organization so that ministries reserved to the priest such as being a pastor, celebrating the Eucharist, hearing confessions, anointing the sick and dying can continue."
There are currently 30 young men in seminary formation and 8 entering the seminary in August of this year. Six (6) transitional deacons were ordained priests on May 31 of this year and 6 more will be ordained priests on June 6 of next year.
Please pray for vocations to the priesthood in our Diocese and encourage and support those discerning this vocation.
Rayanne Bennett, Office of Communications