The priest shortage in the Catholic Church has been an ongoing concern for decades. The numbers are sobering: Between 1980 and 2012, the ratio of Catholics per priest worldwide rose from 1,895 to 2,965. Last October, the Vatican reported that this ratio is now 3,210 Catholics per priest.  

The good news on the home front is that the Diocese of Orange won’t be in panic mode any time soon. While more clergy are always welcome to any diocese, the number of priests and deacons, as well as those in training, remains at a healthy level.  

“If you compare [the numbers] now to 50 years ago, there is a discrepancy in the number of priests,” says Fr. Brandon Dang, the Diocese’s director of vocations. “And while overall we can always use more good men to answer the call to the priesthood, at the local level we’re blessed to have a good number of priests, relative to other dioceses.” 

Fr. Brandon notes that an estimated 150 to 200 priests serve in the Diocese, and that 23 men are currently in formation to serve after they’re ordained. In addition, 148 active deacons call the Diocese of Orange home, says Deacon Frank Chavez, director of the Office of the Diaconate. 

“Every parish in the Diocese – except for two – has at least one deacon,” Deacon Frank says, adding that the need for Spanish-speaking deacons in Hispanic neighborhoods is greater. “They can be bilingual or even monolingual.” 

And what Fr. Brandon notes about the number of priests in the Diocese certainly applies to deacons: “We prefer quality over quantity.” 

The next priesthood and diaconate ordinations will take place at Christ Cathedral on June 12 and October 23, respectively.  

Full story at OC Catholic.