Roman Catholic Priests

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts average employment growth for all clergy through 2022. There is a shortage of priests in the Roman Catholic Church, however, with the number of priests having declined by about 31 percent since 1985 because of retirement and those leaving the profession for other reasons. Opportunities for positions in the priesthood are increasing and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In 2013, there were 26,558 diocesan priests and 12,350 religious priests serving the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Priests are needed in all areas of the country, but the greatest need is in metropolitan areas that have large Catholic populations and in communities near Catholic educational institutions.


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