The recent death of Father Chet Collins highlights the crisis in the Gaylord Diocese: Fr. Collins was a 77 year old in charge of two parishes (Mancelona, Bellaire). In times past, when vocations were abundant, a priest this age would have had the designation of retired pastor, pastor emeritus, or a similar title. As a no longer full-time priest, he could help with parishes across the Diocese.
But those days are gone. Now, many dioceses across the United States are relying on priests in their 70’s and even in their 80’s for help in administering the sacraments and running parishes. Furthermore, to have this situation arise, ie, where a 77-year-old priest is pastor of two parishes, further underscores the dire priest shortage in our Diocese.
There are no ordinations planned this year for the Diocese of Gaylord. From where will Fr. Collins’ replacement come? Bishop Walsh announced recently that he would be traveling to the parishes Fr. Collins served in order to meet with parishioners and discuss “long term pastoral care needs” of the parishes. Will he have a priest with him to take over the duties of Fr. Collins?
Please pray for vocations.