Monday, April 19, 2010

The class of 2010

The USCCB's snapshot of the ordination class of 2010 is now out.  The Catholic World News summary reads as follows ...

A survey of US seminarians who will be ordained this year has found that 31% were born outside the United States, with most coming from Mexico, Colombia, the Philippines, Poland and Vietnam.

Among the other findings of the survey:

  • the average (mean) age of ordinands is 37; the median age of diocesan ordinands is 33
  • 10% are converts
  • 37% have a relative who is a priest or religious
  • 55% have more than two siblings
  • 49% attended a Catholic elementary school, and 39% attended a Catholic college
  • 60% completed college before entering the seminary; 92% held full-time jobs
  • 16% had a parent with career military service
  • 78% were encouraged by a priest to enter the seminary; few were influenced by vocational advertising
  • 50% were discouraged by parents or other family members from considering the seminary; 15% were discouraged by priests, while 4% were discouraged by religious
  • 19% attended a World Youth Day, and 8% attended a Franciscan University of Steubenville High School Youth Conference
  • 67% regularly prayed the Rosary before entering seminary; 65% regularly took part in Eucharistic adoration
  • the seminarians typically began to consider a priestly vocation when they were 18
  • Two of these figures just jump out at me: Over half (55%) of these men come from families with 4 or more children and almost half (49%) attended a Catholic elementary school.  Large Catholic families and Catholic schools continue to be seedbeds of vocations (see here and here for similar results from another survey). It's too bad we don't have very many of either in DOR.

    Also of interest is that the full report tells us that "about one in ten diocesan ordinands (10 percent) report that they lived in the diocese or eparchy for which they will be ordained less than a year before they entered the seminary."  Last year, this number was 17% and in 2008 it was 16%.  It is unclear whether this year's lower percentage actually means that fewer men are now feeling the need to seek ordination in dioceses other than their home dioceses, as fully 30% of the 2010 diocesan ordinands-to-be failed to answer this question.

    Some readers might recall that the comments on my post concerning the class of 2009 indicated that several orthodox men raised in DOR have felt the need to seek ordination elsewhere (see here). I am looking forward to 2012 and beyond when, hopefully, that need will no longer exist.


    Ink said...

    Large families, hmm? I'd offer mine, but I think you won't find too many priests. Unless, of course, Sr. Joan wants to try to recruit, but I don't think Mum would let her past the driveway.

    Lee Strong said...

    Given the currents that are flowing beneath the surface in this diocese (such as what's going on at the Irenaeus Center and the number of young people involved in pro-life efforts), I hope to see an uptick in the number of seminarians in the next couple of years. I certainly am praying for an increase!

    Mike said...


    I've never seen the corresponding stats for religious sisters but I wouldn't be surprised if they're similar.

    FWIW, when I was your age just about every nun I knew came from a big Catholic family. Of course, that was 50 years ago when larger families were much more common.

    Also (running and ducking for cover), has Mum ever considered adoption?

    Mike said...


    From your lips to God's ears.