In 1982, 46 priests of Killala diocese gathered for their annual retreat. That was 30 years ago. In less that 20 years time, in 2032, when we will be celebrating 1600 years since the coming of St. Patrcik, the statistics indicate that the number of priests in Killala will be the six.
'Who will Break Bread for Us?' isn't of course the only question that needs to be asked as our church faces a difficult future, but it is of immediate and critical concern. For, at most, we have a window of a decade or so to come to terms with the crisis. And, unless we do, a Eucharistic famine will prevail in Ireland as parishes without mass will lose their focus and resilience. Without priests, we will have no Mass and without Mass we will have no Church. For the first time in many centuries, we are facing the collapse of a scaffolding of worship that was sustained even during centuries of persecution.
Unlike other fundamental questions we need to ask ourselves as a Church, Who Will break Bread for Us, can't be obscured in a fog of waffle and distraction. Because the issue of priest - vocations is now embarrassingly quantifiable. Our priests are disappearing and we need to do something about it. Now.