Cleansing Fire

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Lexington Diocese leads in Catholics per ordinand

February 20th, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

From IChooseYou.com, the web site of the Office of Vocations of the Diocese of Lexington …

Lexington, KY ranks at the top of the list in Catholics per Ordinand. The results are for the three ordination years of 2007-2009. Lexington ordained 7 priests, with a total of 46,798 Catholics in 2009, making it 6,685 Catholics per Ordinand. The nationwide numbers were; 1,411 priests ordained, with 65,611,808 Catholics in 2009, making it an average of 46,500 Catholics per Ordinand.

The data is from the Winter 2011 CARA Report (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) from Georgetown University, which also published this table of  of the top 20 dioceses, as determined by their Ordinand-to-Catholic ratios.

CARA also reported on the top 20 dioceses (actually, due to a tie, the top 21) in total ordinations over the last 3 years for which data is available.

The report goes on to add …

CARA has compared the results of the five top-20 priest-to-parishioner comparisons for ordination years 1993–1995, 1997–1999, 2000–2002, 2003–2006, and now 2007–2009. Only 26 dioceses placed in the top 20 two or more times. In summary:

• Only the Diocese of Lincoln was in the top 20 all five times [Why am I not surprised?]
• Four dioceses were listed four times: Bismarck, Fargo, Peoria, and Wichita
• Nine were on the list three times: Alexandria, Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville, Omaha, Savannah, Sioux Falls, Tyler, and Yakima
• And 12 were listed twice: Charleston, Charlotte, Covington, Duluth, Gaylord, Mobile, Owensboro, Pensacola-Tallahassee, Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Steubenville, Tulsa, and Wheeling-Charleston

At the other extreme, for the three years 2007-2009, 11 dioceses with a total of almost 1,350,000 Catholics had no ordinations, and another 13 dioceses with almost 1,360,000 Catholics had only one.

On a local note, the Diocese of Rochester with its 309,773 Catholics had 4 ordinations during 2007-2009, which works out to 77,443 Catholics per Ordinand, as compared with the national average of 46,500.

Update: Rich Leonardi provides us with some of the history behind the Diocese of Lexington’s success story.  See here.

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2 Responses to “Lexington Diocese leads in Catholics per ordinand”

  1. It’s worth nothing that Lexington’s Bishop Ronald Gainer is a tough, no-nonsense shepherd, who kicked off his episcopate last decade by “kicking out” a gaggle of dissenting nuns from his chancery, earning him the ire of the retrogrades at FutureChurch:

    Even more disturbing than the footwashing fracas are indiscriminate mass
    firings in early April of five high-ranking Catholic officials by Lexington Bishop Ronald Gainer. The terminations include the Chief Financial Officer, Stuart E. Duba, and four of the diocese’s top women leaders. They are Director of Education, Dr. Margaret Ralph who had been an employee of the Dioceses of Covington and Lexington for 30 years; Director of Parish Leadership, Sr.Liz Wendeln; Director of Lay Ministry Formation, Sr. Iris Ann Ledden; and Director of Pastoral Services and the Office of Religious, Sr. Helen Maher Garvy. All the nuns had held respected leadership roles in their religious communities before taking positions with the Lexington diocese.

    The purge was apparently carried out at the behest of a right wing wealthy group, the Association of Blue Grass Catholics (ABC). Gainer’s predecessor, Bishop J. Kendrick Williams, was a strong supporter of women in the Church. He was frequently harassed by the ABC who objected to his implementation of Vatican II. The group often tape recorded homilies of suspected priests and targeted the women leaders going so far as to offer Williams a million dollars to fire Dr. Ralph. These conservative Catholics objected to the women’s strong advocacy of greater lay involvement in Church leadership, particularly the New Faces of Ministry program designed to deal with the shortage of priests. They accused them of exaggerating the priest shortage to shift pastoral control from priests to nuns or lay people.

    Gainer announced that the five positions would be reorganized under the leadership of two deacons. Severance pay was contingent upon signing an agreement negating the possibility of suing the Diocese. No evaluations and no communication about job performance were given. In a memo outlining the events, Sr. Helen Garvey asked: “What do these continuing unjust actions throughout our Church signal for the People of God? How do we allow the dynamics of secrecy, misuse of power and arrogance, so evident in the sexual misconduct scandal, to persist in our church? The issue is one of a just process, which embodies the spirit of Vatican II and which respects the dignity of women.”

  2. avatar annonymouse says:

    Imagine a Bishop Gainer appointed to be Bishop of Rochester! From my keyboard to God’s (and the Apostolic Nuncio’s) eyes and ears!


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