But that is changing, what with India modernizing and all. There are fewer and fewer Indian Catholics who join the seminaries -- they'd rather be writing software. And as people leave Kerala for jobs in the faster-growing parts of the country, the intensity of their faith also goes down, which means the children of such families do not aspire to the priesthood any more.
The church here is ancient, with three separate rites, each with its own liturgies and bishops. Here in Kerala, a state in southwest India, Catholics of the Syro-Malabar rite trace their roots to the Apostle Thomas, who according to lore arrived by boat in A.D. 52, made disciples among the ruling Brahmin class and planted seven churches.About 20 percent of Kerala’s population is Catholic, and being faithful is more than a once-a-week event. Families pray together at home in the evenings, kneeling at shrines in their sitting rooms. Mass attendance in many dioceses is over 80 percent. And the entire community turns out for local festivals on saints days.
Catholic parishes will soon have to start looking elsewhere for their priests.