P.E.I. turns to India for new priests
Soon one in four priests on the Island will be from India
With priests on P.E.I. aging, and younger Islanders increasingly not interested in the calling, the Roman Catholic Church is bringing in priests from India.
Six of the province's priests are now from India, and two more will arrive this spring. With those arrivals one in four priests on the Island will be from India.
The imports were Charlottetown Bishop Richard Grecco's idea.
"Our native priests are aging. This year, I'm anticipating four retirements," said Grecco.
"It may seem like a lot, but it's just going to keep us on an even keel with the number of priests we need for the number of parishes that we have."
The average age of P.E.I.'s priests is more than 60.
The need to bring in priests from abroad is a radical shift from the situation a generation ago, when the Island was sending hundreds of priests to ministries overseas.
"Forty years ago we had over 250 priests from the Island in the missions abroad, and I think that was a blessing from God," said Grecco.
"Now that we are in need of priests, missionaries are coming here. And I think for graces received, God is blessing us with these gentlemen. "
The Indian priests are posted in churches all over P.E.I., including Summerside, Souris, Bloomfield and Miminegash.