This means that the U.S. Catholic population, which is projected to grow to nearly 80,000,000 by 2038, will be served by only 25,000 priests. Over a fifty year period, the American Catholic Church will see a 50 percent increase in members and a 60 percent decline in the number of priests to serve them.
As the Church’s demographics have changed and vocations have declined, some parishes have become larger and more complex. One third of American parishes have grown in size to what would be considered a “mega-church”””in the Protestant Evangelical community, a mega-church is one with more than 2,000 members. A few American Catholic churches have as many as 20,000 parishioners. As parishes continue to expand, creative pastors and staff are launching dozens of new ministries and activities for people of all ages.