Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2022.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Paul Janowiak


One of the challenges confronting the Catholic Church worldwide is the shortage of priests. Because of this, many parishes, especially in the rural areas, gather for Sunday worship without the Eucharist. This thesis will explore the rural areas in the western part of Nigeria that are faced with the problem of the shortage of priests, economic instability, lack of basic amenities, and poverty. Due to this, the people in this part of the country feel deprived, isolated, and marginalized. The thesis will propose for the commission of lay ministers to preside at the Communion service, liturgies of the Word, and sacramental preparation in the absence of a priest.

Therefore, the thesis uses constructive narrative criticism. This method is personal based on my experiences in rural western Nigeria. It will narrate the situation of the Catholic faithful living in the rural and urban settings, and from this perspective, a model of Sunday celebration will be introduced. An example of such a model is gathering the assembly with a lay presider who shares the Word in the absence of a priest. The presence of lay ministers in the rural Church will bridge the disparity between rural and urban settings. That way, the communities continue to see one another as the People of God.

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