New Survey of Men Being Ordained to the Priesthood Underscores the Significant Influence of Parents on Children’s Vocational Discernment

| 04/15/2024

By: The Good Newsroom

The ordinands who completed the survey represent 128 dioceses and eparchies and 29 distinct religious institutes in the United States

Bishop Earl A. Boyea Jr. of Lansing, Michigan, celebrates a September 23, 2020, Mass during the dedication of 40 acres of land in Howell, Michigan, donated for the planned "Casa USA" project.
Bishop Earl A. Boyea Jr. of Lansing, Michigan, celebrates a September 23, 2020, Mass during the dedication of 40 acres of land in Howell, Michigan, donated for the planned "Casa USA" project. The complex will include a replica of St. Pio of Pietrelcina's famous "Home for the Relief of Suffering" hospital in Italy, an adoration chapel, a medical school and the Terri Schiavo Home for the Brain Injured in the spirit of the Italian saint's devotion to the critically ill and dying. (CNS photo/Richard G. Lim, courtesy Catholic Healthcare International)
WASHINGTON – A newly-released study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, surveyed men who will be ordained to the priesthood in 2024. The data shows that families continue to be the seedbed of religious vocations: of the 392 respondents, 95% were raised by their biological parents, and 88% were raised by a married couple who lived together.
 
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) released The Class of 2024: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood in anticipation of the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 21. This annual commemoration occurs on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Pope Francis has expressed his gratitude for “mothers and fathers who do not think first of themselves or follow fleeting fads of the moment, but shape their lives through relationships marked by love and graciousness, openness to the gift of life and commitment to their children and their growth in maturity.”
 
Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the CCLV committee, echoed Pope Francis stating, “Mothers and fathers, united in marriage, are the first witnesses to love for their children. It is within the family that children are taught the faith, learn the meaning of love, and grow in virtue. This year’s study of ordinands underscores the fundamental role that families, in particularly, parents, play in building up the kingdom of God. It is through the love and support of the family that children develop into the men and women God calls them to be.”
 
Of the 475 men scheduled to be ordained this year, 392 completed the survey for an overall response rate of 83%. These ordinands represent 128 dioceses and eparchies and 29 distinct religious institutes in the United States. Some of the major findings of the report are:
  • On average, respondents first considered a priestly vocation when they were 16 years old. The youngest age reported was three years old and the oldest was 53 years old.
  • The average age at ordination was 34 years old. Since 1999, the average age was 35 and ranged between 33 and 37.
  • Most respondents are White/Caucasian (67%), followed by Hispanic/Latino (18%), Asian/Pacific Islander (11%) and Black/African American (2%).
  • Of those who are foreign-born (23%), the most common countries of origin are Mexico (5%), Vietnam (4%), Colombia (3%), and the Philippines (2%).
  • Of those who worked full-time before entering seminary (70%), the most common fields of employment were education (21%), business (16%), and Church ministry (13%).
The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2024 may be accessed here.
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