Projections of priests available to serve parishes

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Anne Marie Amacher
Father Hai Dinh of parishes in Hills, Lone Tree and Nichols, front, right, talks with one of his parishioners, John Runge, at the Synodal Summit at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City June 22. In the background are Father Troy Richmond and Father Chris Weber.

Diocese of Davenport parish planners are preparing for parish ministry based on the availability of priests to serve the current 74 parishes by the end of the year 2030. The projections:

  • A decrease from 51 priests serving parishes in 2024 to 37 priests by the end of 2030.

The 37 priests projected to be serving in 2030 includes 25 diocesan priests who would not yet have turned 70 (current retirement age), 5 current seminarians being ordained by 2030 and 7 priests from outside the diocese serving in diocesan parishes.

For planning purposes, the projection assumes priest retirement age remains at 70, that current priests retire at age 70, that 5 current seminarians are ordained and that 7 priests from outside the diocese (mostly international priests) continue to serve diocesan parishes.

  • Forty-four of the 51 priests currently serving in parish assignments are Davenport diocesan priests, 6 are international priests, and 1 priest is from the Des Moines Diocese. Thirty-five of the 44 serve as pastors and 2 are senior priests. Nineteen of those current 44 priests will be at least 70 years old by the year 2030.
  • Based on current projections, “we would have 37 active priests to be assigned to the 74 current parishes of the diocese,” said diocesan Parish Planning Director Dan Ebener. The number of pastors available (based on current practices) could drop to about 28.
  • Today, the diocese has 39 pastors serving in 74 parishes. “We have 11 parishes in Scott County, with 10 pastors; 9 parishes in Johnson County, with 7 pastors; 8 parishes in Clinton County, with 3 pastors; and 47 parishes in the other 19 counties, with 19 pastors,” Ebener said. “We have 7 counties with only one parish, mostly in the southern part of the diocese.”

While 70 years of age is the eligible retirement age for diocesan priests, some may continue to serve as pastors or as senior priests after age 70. Not all priests continue serving until the age of 70.

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