However, some Roman Catholics said that the national day of prayer is an ironic example of the pope's failure to understand some of the reasons for the decline, reported the Boston Herald Saturday.
"We think it behooves the church in the United States and particularly in Boston to look at why ... the main reason being that lay Catholics feel disengaged from the church," said Suzanne Morse, a spokeswoman for Voice of the Faithful, a group of lay Catholics that formed in response to the clergy sexual-abuse issue in Boston.
"The Catholic Church right now is in crisis in this country, and the decline in priests is one of the symptoms."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has said it would ordain 50 percent of the priests -- fewer than 500 -- than it did in 1965.
Boston's Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley said one of the reasons for his decision to close 83 of the archdiocese's 357 parishes was because it ordained only seven priests this year, compared to 50 or 60 a year 50 years ago.