Church Using Internet to Recruit Priests

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The Irish Catholic Church has joined the parade of marketers looking to the Internet for results. Yesterday, the Archdiocese of Tuam in western Ireland opened a Web site with an advertising campaign and telephone service in the hopes of recruiting young men into the priesthood.

The church has been struggling to attract new clergy since Ireland's economy took off in the 1990s. An average of 50-60 new priests join Irish parishes annually, a number that is far below the 200-300 that joined in the 1960s.

The campaign is geared toward men between the ages of 17 and 25. The Web site itself features a popular Gaelic soccer player. A telephone hotline has also been set up to counsel young men interested in joining.

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