April 05, 2005

Pontiff influenced diocese's growth

The Arizona Republic

Michael Clancy
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Pope John Paul II was the international face of the Roman Catholic Church, the great motivator of 1.1 billion Catholics.

His influence continues to be felt in the 500,000-member Diocese of Phoenix, where his legacy includes the appointment of two bishops and a 1987 visit that drew 80,000 people to a Mass at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

"He definitely led by example, and that spilled over into the diocese," said John Garcia, 46, of SS. Simon and Jude Cathedral, a member of the Catholic men's society Knights of Columbus. ...

For those who go to church regularly, the shortage of priests, and the prospect of having limited opportunities to attend Mass and participate in the sacraments, rates as a top issue, one that cuts across political and doctrinal lines.

The sex-abuse scandal has made recruiting and retaining priests even more difficult, Carpenter said.

The church responded with larger facilities and an increase in lay ministry, including deacons, volunteers and other church officials to take care of all the non-sacramental aspects of a parish. That frees priests to tend to matters that only they can do, such as consecrating the bread and wine and hearing confessions.

Posted by kshaw at April 5, 2005 08:14 AM