African priests strengthen U.S. church

In its infancy, many of the parishes in the Phoenix Diocese were founded by priests from Ireland who left their native land to serve in the Southwest.

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Today, an explosion of growth in the Catholic population of Africa has fostered a fresh bounty of foreign-born priests serving the Phoenix Diocese as well as dioceses sprinkled throughout California, Texas, New York, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. Heralding from places like Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, South Sudan and Tanzania, 30 African priests — among them 13 from various orders — are spread out in parishes throughout the diocese.

“We are a missionary diocese,” said Sue Schindel of the vicar for priests office for the Diocese of Phoenix. “We don’t have enough priests in…

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