Here is a very interesting article about women lay ministers in the Catholic church.
The Dallas Morning News has excellent religion reporting, btw.
Here is an excerpt:
In the United States, the number of lay parish ministers went from tiny in the 1960s to 22,000 in 1990. There are now almost 31,000. For the last few years, lay parish ministers have narrowly outnumbered diocesan priests.
"Most Catholics over 40 can remember when parish ministry was primarily the realm of the priesthood, but within a generation we've seen a dramatic shift," said David DeLambo, associate director of pastoral planning for the Diocese of Cleveland.
About 80 percent of lay parish ministers are women, according to a study by Dr. DeLambo for the National Pastoral Life Center in New York City.