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Posted February 6, 2007

Wilmington bishop approves priests' plan
to address clergy shortage

WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli of Wilmington has approved 17 recommendations made by priests of the diocese designed to help the shrinking number of priests better serve the growing number of Catholics in the diocese.

The recommendations, approved Jan. 18 at an annual meeting of diocesan priests, address areas such as the role of the priest, deacons and laity; collaboration among parishes; and better distribution of priests and deacons. They also call for improving fraternity and communication among priests and improving priests' image.

Under the recommendations, the diocese will "develop strategies by which the deacons and laity can fully assume their roles and responsibilities"; study the implementation of a "geographic cluster model" to encourage parishes to collaborate with one another; develop a "general ministry description" for parish priests that will be tailored to each parish; and develop a communications strategy "to depict positive images of the priesthood."