The Diocese of Gaylord announced this past week that Reverend Rubén D. Muñoz has been pulled from duty as a priest for the Diocese. Details are lacking as to the circumstances regarding the abrupt departure of Fr. Munoz.

Every priest that is taken out of ministry by the Diocese leaves an ever growing and gaping hole in the massive priest shortage problem the Diocese is experiencing.  At some point, if the trend continues, the Diocese will have no choice but to close parishes.

But what about foreign priests that come from Africa and India? They have been relied upon by some bishops to help with the shortages.  This may not be viable, due to recent federal government bureaucratic changes that have made it difficult, if not impossible, to process visas for priests wanting to come to the United States for ministry. According to an article reviewing this problem, ” the federal government announced that same month in a Federal Register notice a procedural change in how it processes green cards for foreign-born religious workers.  Such a bureaucratic technicality may seem unremarkable, but its practical implication is that — combined with dwindling native vocational numbers and historically high immigration — some foreign-born priests and religious sisters and brothers relied upon by U.S. dioceses may not be able to remain in the country.”

Combined with other factors, such as the sexual abuse crisis which could sour the vocation of a serious young man discerning the priesthood, the situation within the Diocese of Gaylord has become increasingly concerning.  Please pray for vocations!