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DULUTH - Being Easter, many family’s' hunts for Easter eggs comes only after finding Jesus at mass.
demographics of members in the Catholic Diocese of Duluth are changing.
Churches, however, have northland–wide shifts already in motion.
Eric Hastings led church–goers during St. Benedict’s Catholic Church
during Easter services: the holiest day on the Catholic calendar.
"It's a day of renewal. It's a day of new hope, the hope of eternal life,” Father Hastings said.
have that rootedness in Christ and so at least this day they come to
church and give god thanks for the life of Jesus, his son,” Hastings
Although packed for the high holiday, the Catholic Diocese
of Duluth, which covers more than 22,000 square miles and serves 58,000
people, is seeing it's flock age, baptism and marriage numbers decrease,
and the availability of church leaders fall.
"We have six men
being ordained into the priesthood this year. The priests are essential
to the catholic faith. We still know that in a few years we will have
less priests. So we're beginning to be proactive,” Hastings said.
example, Hastings says, Duluth and Proctor currently have eleven
pastors. Within five years that number could be cut in half - expanding
responsibilities of those remaining.
"There's a joy to that
because then there are more resources to use for the ministry of the
church and people and time and talent and treasure. But then the
downside, of course, is that it's more difficult for the priest to know
his people in both communities but that's part of the reality and the
challenge of living our faith today as a priest,” Hastings said.
rates among Catholics nationally are also declining. In 1960, families
were more likely to have five to six children. Now it's only two or