Priest shortage in Michigan hits local parishes


There's a shortage of priests in southwest Michigan right now. That has the local bishop making some tough decisions.

The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo will assign priests to serve multiple parishes, allowing them to keep churches open while dealing with the issue.

The Bishop met with a local church Monday night to talk about changes.

Hundreds of people showed up at Saint Joseph and Bernard Parish in Benton

Harbor to hear firsthand about changes coming to their congregation.

"Trying to re-organize a bit so we have the priests that are available to us being positioned, as well as, possibly to provide Pastoral care for the people," said Bishop Paul Bradley.

Bishop Bradley says these changes are happening because there are only 55 priests to cover 59 parishes. They're also facing an increase in retirements and fewer young men becoming ordained priests.

"Within those there might be two or three parishes grouped together. So that means one pastor will have responsibility for more than one parish. Two likely and in many cases three," said Bishop Bradley.

Some church members are thankful the problem is be addressed.

"So to me it was like I'm glad they are taking a proactive stand on this because this is something had to be done," said church member, Ed Nickel.

But with new changes comes new concerns.

"Oh everybody is concerned there is going to be changes," Nickels said. "Some people are going to lose their priest some people are going to lose their regular mass time so everyone is going to have to change."

It takes about six years to become an ordained Catholic priest.

That means Catholic churches could be facing these issues for the next 15 to 20 years.

Priests will get their new assignments around Easter. They'll start their new schedule on July 1st.

Here's a list of churches in Michigan that will be grouped together with one priest underthe changes:


St. Anthony, Buchanan

St. Gabriel, Berrien Springs

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Bridgman

St. Mary of the Lake, New Buffalo

St. Mary's Assumption, Three Oaks

St. Agnes, Sawyer

St. Joseph, St. Joseph

Lake Michigan Catholic

St. Mary, Niles

St. Mark, Niles


Holy Maternity of Mary, Dowagiac

Sacred Heart of Mary, Silver Creek

St. Margaret Mary, Marcellus

Our Lady of the Lake, Edwardsburg

St. Ann, Cassopolis


Holy Angels, Sturgis

St. Joseph, White Pigeon

Immaculate Conception, Three Rivers

St. Clare, Centreville

St. Barbara, Colon

St. Martin of Tours, Vicksburg

St. Edward, Medon


St. Joseph, Watervliet

Immaculate Conception, Hartford

St. Mary, Paw Paw

Holy Family, Decatur

St. John Bosco, Mattawan

St. Basil, South Haven

Sacret Heart, Bangor

St. Jude, Gobles

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off