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USCCB Report: More than 500 to be ordained priests in U.S. this year

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Vestments slated for newly ordained priests await their function in the sacristy of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains before the 2014 ordination Mass. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)
Vestments slated for newly ordained priests await their function in the sacristy of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains before the 2014 ordination Mass. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

An April 21 news release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reported that 548 men are slated to be ordained to the priesthood in the U.S. this year. That number is slightly down from 595 in 2015, but up from 477 in 2014.

The same report that notes the total number of potential ordinands includes a host of information about the class of 2016.  The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) gathered the data for “The Class of 2016: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood.” CARA collects the data annually for the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

Among the highlights of the report:

*The average age for the Class of 2016 is 35. The median age (midpoint of the distribution) is 32. Eight in 10 respondents are between 25 and 39. This distribution is slightly older than in 2015, but follows the pattern in recent years of average age at ordination in the mid-thirties.

*Five in ten ordinands (52 percent) report some type of full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary, most often in education. Five percent of responding ordinands report prior service in the U.S. Armed Forces. About one in seven ordinands (14 percent) report that either parent had a military career in the U.S. Armed Forces.

*Seven in 10 (70 percent) indicate they served as an altar server and about half (53 percent) reporting service as a lector. One in six (17 percent) participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary.

*Nineteen percent of potential ordinands reported having five or more siblings, while 96 percent reported having at least one sibling. About half reported having two to four siblings. Overall, ordinands are more likely to be middle children.

Approximately 80 percent of the 548 potential ordinands reported to CARA. These 440 respondents include 352 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood, from 140 different dioceses and archdioceses, and 88 ordinands to the religious priesthood.

For the full USCCB release, click HERE.

To access the full survey, click HERE.

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