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Typical new US priest: 32-year-old who prays Rosary, takes part in Eucharistic adoration

Catholic World News - May 21, 2014

The typical member of the priestly ordination class of 2014 is a 32-year-old cradle Catholic who has three or more siblings, according to a survey of 365 of the 477 men slated to be ordained to the priesthood in the United States this year. The survey was conducted for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

The typical ordinand also regularly prayed the Rosary and took part in Eucharistic adoration before entering seminary, according to the survey.

31% of the ordinands are foreign born, with the most typical foreign countries of birth being Mexico (6%), Vietnam (4%), Colombia (2%), Poland (2%), and the Philippines (2%). On average, these foreign-born seminarians have lived in the United States for 13 years and arrived in the US at age 23.

A disproportionately high percentage of ordinands attended a Catholic elementary school (50%), Catholic high school (41%), or Catholic college (45%).

In addition, a disproportionately high percentage were home schooled: 5% were home schooled, typically for seven years, at a time when less than 2% of US children were educated at home. If one assumes that all of the homeschooled seminarians came from the United States, then 7% of US-born ordinands were home schooled.

Among the survey’s findings:

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  • Posted by: Defender - May. 21, 2014 5:54 PM ET USA

    When I taught 5th grade and middle school, I included altar serving, basic tenets of our Faith, a Catholic novel to read, a visit to an abbey, Latin, etc, as part of the Religion program. I've had a handful of students tell me they were thinking about the priesthood, so I think there is a definite correlation. As for the short time I taught in a Jesuit HS, I can second normnuke's observation.

  • Posted by: normnuke - May. 21, 2014 3:46 PM ET USA

    The most significant item in that welter of stats is the last: 80% were altar servers. I was in a Jesuit parish for more than 20 years and never once saw an altar boy. When the Jesuits left , one lamented to me that in the 40 years the Jesuits served the parish there was not a single vocation.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 21, 2014 7:41 AM ET USA

    At last, some good news! The only negative I could find here -- I'm a pessimist by nature -- is that the total number of these ordinands was 477 and not 4770.

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