Local press reports sure make it sound that way:
Church officials are hoping an increase in the number of priests graduating from the Milwaukee Archdiocese’s St. Francis de Sales Seminary will help slow Milwaukee’s growing priest shortage. But it might not be enough as priests ordained during the 1960s and 1970s, when the church experienced tremendous growth, begin to retire.
The Archdiocese, which spans 210 parishes in ten counties in Southeastern Wisconsin, greeted the ordination of six seminary graduates last year as the sudden reversal of a long drought. It was the largest class to graduate in 17 years. Previous classes produced just one or even no new priests.
This year, the seminary ordained almost as many new clergy for the Archdiocese. Five graduates were ordained. Father Don Hying, seminary rector, says he expects six ordinations next year, then five and potentially a record seven in 2013. They would be arriving just in time, as retirements continue to drive down the ranks of clergy in Milwaukee and around the country.
“We’re still going to decline in numbers, especially when those ordained in the 1960s and 1970s retire or die,” he says. “We’re going to go down from where we are, but if we can continue to ordain six to 10 men a year, it will stabilize.”
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