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WNY Catholic priest shortage expected to continue

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 19:17:20-04

For the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, the shortage of priests is expected to continue into the future even though there is a slight up-tick in enrollment at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.

According to diocesan statistics, the average age of priests is now 68 with the median age now 70.

The diocese currently has 294 priests, but 126 of those are actually considered "retired" because they are 75 years or older.

National statistics also show the same trend.  In 1965, there were 35,925 diocesan priests in the U.S. and that number dropped to 25,868 in 2015.

Even though there are currently 40 men enrolled to become priests at Christ the King Seminary, the highest number in many years, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo expects to lose 100 priests in the next ten years.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly takes a closer look at the issue and talks with a local priest who is close to retirement age and one who is newly ordained.