The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) has released the results of its annual survey of candidates for ordination to the priesthood. The Class of 2011 includes 480 members, 329 (69%) of whom participated in the survey. Of those 329, 275 are scheduled for ordination as priests for 128 different dioceses and archdioceses, with the remaining 54 anticipating ordination as members of religious orders.
Some of CARA’s findings include …
- The average age of ordinands for the Class of 2011 is 34. The median age (midpoint of the distribution) is 31.
- 8% are converts.
- 82% report that both of their parents are Catholic.
- 34% have a relative who is a priest or a religious.
- 53% come from families of four or more children.
- 47% attended a Catholic elementary school, 39% attended a Catholic high school and 39% attended a Catholic college.
- 70% reported praying the Rosary regularly and 65% reported regular participation in Eucharistic adoration.
The same two figures that caught my attention last year continue to seem noteworthy: About half of the potential ordinands come from large families and about half of them attended Catholic elementary schools. As I wrote then,
Also of interest is the fact that 12% of the diocesan ordinands report that they had 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 10%, while in 2009 it was 17% and in 2008 it was 16%. CARA does not speculate as to the reasons for this phenomena or its apparent decline the last two years. It is, however, an open secret that many orthodox men who were raised in a “progressive” diocese like DOR and who have felt a call to the priesthood, have found it necessary to seek ordination elsewhere (see here). In other words, DOR’s “priest shortage” is, in part, a self-inflicted wound.
Full CARA report here.