Priests on the decline

By Caroline Goggin

July 18, 2014 Updated Jul 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM EDT

Syracuse, NY (WBNG Binghamton) There have been quite a few changes in the churches of the Southern Tier. Many of these are directly related to the loss of priests.

The Diocese of Syracuse attributes this loss to the lack of young men entering the seminary.

"Pastoral planning should always continue," said Director of Communications for the Diocese of Syracuse Danielle Cummings. "And that's the key message. We should always be planning for the future."

But what does the future of the Catholic Church hold?

A lay minister is currently operating five churches in the Southern Tier, and most parishes only offer one mass on Sunday.

This has forced the Catholic Church to look for priests.

"Society and culture is very different than what it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s. This is not a natural place in some people's minds to land," said Cummings.

Ten men have landed as seminarians in the Diocese of Syracuse. However, this is a number that many fear won't sustain the future of the church.

Church officials believe the community is the only thing that will sustain it.

"They have to be a part of the process," added Cummings. "And that includes prayer, that includes parish community, welcoming others and being apart of the evangelization."

In Broome County, most of the catholic churches are now being overseen by one man.

Cummings told Action News church officials are asking for patience and understanding, as they continue their pastoral planning.