Washington D.C., Jul 6, 2021 / 11:30 am
The Diocese of Burlington has reported a record-low number of priests this year, with only 50 diocesan priests ministering to the entire state of Vermont.
“The drop of eight [priests] in one year caught us off guard, but we still have 50 priests in parish ministry,” Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington told CNA on July 2.
Earlier this year, four international priests serving in the diocese had to return to their home countries after their visas were set to expire. Three of those priests are from the Philippines, and one is from Nigeria.
The diocese said in a May 3 statement that the priests had to return home because their visas would expire before any application for green card status could be approved. Although the diocese said it began applying for visa renewals in a timely fashion, recent developments extended the renewal process to around a year longer than expected. The priests could return to the diocese in 12 months, Bishop Coyne said at the time.