The Catholic Diocese of Springfield will welcome the largest graduating class in nearly three decades to the priesthood Saturday. Springfield Bishop Timothy Mcdonnell will ordain six men in a ceremony at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield. Deacon Matt Alcombright from North Adams is one of the men to be ordained. He says the robust crop of new priests is a sign that the Catholic Church is still alive and growing.
“I think we live in a world today where are people are seeing th Catholic Church in a negative light still and in a shadow of declining numbers and closing churches and that might be true in some areas but it also shows that the church is very alive and active and that young men are being called to be priests.” Alcombright said. ” To have this many is rare.”
According to data compiled by Georgetown University, the number of priests in the United States has dropped steadily since 1965, from 59 thousand priests then to 39 thousand in 2011. Deacon Matthew Guidi of Holyoke, Deacon Yerick Mendez of Westfield and Deacon James Nolte of Simsbury, Conneticut will also become priests this weekend.