Aug 08, 2002 — The Roman Catholic Church has been a powerful force in the North Country since the region was settled by whites hundreds of years ago. But the once-firm fabric of community parishes is under increasing strain. A shortage of priests has forced the Diocese of Ogdensburg to close churches, and move priests to serve more congregations. The process has continued through the summer and fall. Currently, one in four parishes in the North Country lacks a resident pastor. As Brian Mann reports, the crisis began long before the current sex-abuse scandals, and it's changing the work of the local churches.