Vestments worn by Catholic priest for the celebration of mass

The lack of priests continues to be a major issue confronting the Catholic Church in Dominica and by extension the region, according to local clergy.

That issue is expected to get some attention when the 29th Annual Conference of the Association of Diocesan Clergy of the Province of Castries takes place in Dominica.

Portsmouth Parish Priest, Father Herman Sharplis, said unless there is a solution to make the priesthood more attractive to young men, the problem will always remain.

“Many of the Dioceses continue to have a shortage of priests. Even if we look at this as a session, it will always continue to be a major issue for the church. People may say it’s because catholic priests are not allowed to get married, but we see a shortage in the Anglican churches, where there are married priests,” he explained.

Meantime Deacon Alvin Knight said the fact that Catholic priests are not allowed to get married could deter the interest of young men in the priesthood “to some extent”.

He said, however, becoming a priest is a calling from God.

“It can deter some young men from taking on the vocation as a call from God. Is either you get the call or you don’t.  If you have the call there will be no barrier to you becoming a priest,” he pointed out.

Knight said the priesthood could be more attractive to priests if they were allowed to get married. “But that too has its own difficulties. From my own experience, even being a deacon can take a toll on marital relationship because you are called to serve God’s people anytime and anywhere,” he explained.