Shortage of clergy threatens Catholic colleges' identity

The shortage of Roman Catholic clergy isn

Iraqi Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, leader of the ancient Chaldean Church, left, gives communion at a Christmas Eve mass in central Baghdad, Iraq on Monday, Dec. 24, 2007. (AP Photo)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The shortage of Roman Catholic clergy isn't just being felt in church.

Religious orders that have founded and run Catholic colleges and universities are grappling with how to retain the institutions'
religious identity in the face of declining numbers of priests and nuns.

Rev. Timothy Lannon, president of Saint Joseph's University in
Philadelphia, can envision a time when a lay person will lead the Jesuit school because of the dwindling number of his brethren. Currently, there are only about 3,000 Jesuits nationwide and their average age is 60.

At La Salle University in Philadelphia, the founding Christian Brothers also face shrinking numbers.

And at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, only two sisters remain among the faculty at the 5,700-student campus.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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