Irish Priests in the United States: A Vanishing Subculture


Irish Priests in the United States: A Vanishing Subculture


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Four thousand Irish-born and Irish-seminary educated priests have served in the United States and nearly 1,250 are currently affiliated with American dioceses. The Irish-Catholic upbringing of these priests, along with their Irish education, immigrant status, and missionary spirit, distinguish them from American-born priests. These priests have left an indelible mark in the U.S. primarily by staffing Catholic parishes in the South, West, and Southwest. They are, however, a vanishing subculture due to an increasing mortality rate and the dearth of vocations to the priesthood in Ireland.

This book is the beginning of a much-needed discussion about the experiences and beliefs of Irish priests. It provides a cultural analysis of these men, including an examination of the diverse and oftentimes contradictory sides they find themselves on, regarding philosophical, theological, and pastoral issues. The book is based on archival and survey research that has revealed numerous letters and other documents. Survey research conducted in the 1990s, examines the priests' thoughts on seminary education, ethnicity, satisfaction with the priesthood, ecclesiological and theological concerns, and Vatican II.

Publication Date



University Press of America, Inc.


Lanham, MD

ISBN for this edition (13-digit)


Irish Priests in the United States: A Vanishing Subculture
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