There are 6.6 million Catholics in the United States. There are approximately 38,000 priests. Some of that number of priests includes those who are retired, sick, or in special ministry. Of the lay people, even if they are retired or sick, they still need a priest.
Hopefully you are in an area where you have ready access to the sacraments. But what we miss out on having “spare” priest around is the one who has time to go on a field trip with the school or teach in the classroom, goes to lay meetings, knocks on doors and sits down with someone for a cup of coffee. Although the tide seems to be turning (very slowly) on the vocation crisis, the numbers simply will not be there for some time. Even if one million men entered the seminary today, it would be six to ten years before they hit the street and retirements now are coming quickly.
We miss the nuns also. The advantage with nuns at a parish today would not be one of cost. Gone are the days when the nuns would work for almost nothing. With smaller numbers they have needs too. But here is the interesting thing: when the nuns went to the convent after school, they prayed together and ate dinner together in community. You can bet that they talked about the school, about certain children that needed attention, asked for advice, all the topics that made for a stronger school.
We are still blessed in Catholic schools with our lay teachers. They are Catholic, most likely from the community and possibly even from the parish, and they believe in the mission of the school because believe me, they would not be there simply because the pay is so generous. They have skin in the game more than just a paycheck.
So there are some great areas of concern for prayer. Beg the Master of Harvest to send more workers for the harvest: send more good priests, increase our nuns, make strong (and Catholic) our schools.