The Catholic church has a shortage of priests. The latest statistics show there is one priest for every 1,493 Catholics. Understandably, that has the church worried.
It was one of the topics discussed this week, at a conference of priests in Biloxi.
Father Chris Munch was one of the priests on hand for the Provincial Convocation of Priests, at the Broadwater hotel. At the age of 30, Munch, who grew up in Poplarville, is the youngest of the 42 priests in the diocese of Biloxi.
"My whole initiative for becoming a priest, when I would look at the priest in Poplarville at the time, Father Vallor, and the gift he gave to the people, I thought I want to do that, " Father Munch said.
But fewer young men, like Chris Munch, are entering the priesthood. The reasons are many. Some of those at the conference said it certainly has something to do with the breakdown of the family in America today. Another factor has to be, the barrage of bad news the church has endured in recent years.
One expert predicts by the year 2015, there will be a decline of nearly 46-percent in the number of priests in this country. But, those in the clergy, are still hopeful about the future.
"I think it will make it more difficult in the short term. I think in the long term we will be able to see a death and resurrection," Father Dominick, of St. Mary Church in Poplarville, said.
Despite the declining numbers, there are still men willing to make the commitment and sacrifices to enter the priesthood. Father Dennis Carver, had a successful career in New Orleans as a customs house broker, but a decade ago, he felt the calling to enter the priesthood. He has never regretted his decision.
"Not one, it is a wonderful way of life,'' he told WLOX News.
"The only regret I have is that I did not do it earlier. It is a great, fulfilling way of life for me."