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New Survey of Men Being Ordained to the Priesthood Underscores the Significant Influence of Parents on Children’s Vocational Discernment

WASHINGTON – A newly-released study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, surveyed men who will be ordained to the priesthood in 2024. The data shows that families continue to be the seedbed of religious vocations: of the 392 respondents, 95% were raised by their biological parents, and 88% were raised by a married couple who lived together.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) released The Class of 2024: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood in anticipation of the 61st World Day of Prayer for Vocations on April 21. This annual commemoration occurs on the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Pope Francis has expressed his gratitude for “mothers and fathers who do not think first of themselves or follow fleeting fads of the moment, but shape their lives through relationships marked by love and graciousness, openness to the gift of life and commitment to their children and their growth in maturity.”

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the CCLV committee, echoed Pope Francis stating, “Mothers and fathers, united in marriage, are the first witnesses to love for their children. It is within the family that children are taught the faith, learn the meaning of love, and grow in virtue. This year’s study of ordinands underscores the fundamental role that families, in particularly, parents, play in building up the kingdom of God. It is through the love and support of the family that children develop into the men and women God calls them to be.”

Of the 475 men scheduled to be ordained this year, 392 completed the survey for an overall response rate of 83%. These ordinands represent 128 dioceses and eparchies and 29 distinct religious institutes in the United States. Some of the major findings of the report are:

  • On average, respondents first considered a priestly vocation when they were 16 years old. The youngest age reported was three years old and the oldest was 53 years old.
  • The average age at ordination was 34 years old. Since 1999, the average age was 35 and ranged between 33 and 37.
  • Most respondents are White/Caucasian (67%), followed by Hispanic/Latino (18%), Asian/Pacific Islander (11%) and Black/African American (2%).
  • Of those who are foreign-born (23%), the most common countries of origin are Mexico (5%), Vietnam (4%), Colombia (3%), and the Philippines (2%).
  • Of those who worked full-time before entering seminary (70%), the most common fields of employment were education (21%), business (16%), and Church ministry (13%).

The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2024 may be accessed here: https://www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/ordination-classes.

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Seek contact with nature to change polluting lifestyles, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Humanity must have more direct contact with nature to counter the modern lifestyles that are destroying the planet, Pope Francis said.

Respecting and loving the earth as well as seeking direct contact with nature "are values that we need so much today as we discover ourselves increasingly powerless before the consequences of irresponsible and short-sighted exploitation of the planet," he told members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts.

Meeting with the members, dressed in their scouting uniforms, at the Vatican April 13, the pope said people in modern society are "prisoners of lifestyles and behaviors that are as selfishly deaf to every appeal of common sense as they are tragically self-destructive; insensitive to the cry of a wounded earth, as well as to the voice of so many brothers and sisters unjustly marginalized and excluded from an equitable distribution of goods."

"In the face of this, the Scouts' sober, respectful and frugal style sets a great example for all," he said.

Pope Francis highlighted the group's recent charitable efforts, such as donating an incubator for infants to an emergency care center in Lampedusa, Italy, a landing point for migrants coming into the country.

Pope Francis enters the Clementine Hall at the Vatican for a meeting with members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts.
Pope Francis enters the Clementine Hall at the Vatican for a meeting with members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts April 13, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The incubator, he said, " symbolizes the joy of a child coming into the world, the commitment to ensure that he or she can grow well, the expectation and hope for what he or she may become."

"We live in a time of a dramatically falling birthrate," the pope said, noting that the median age in Italy is 46 while the median age in nearby Albania is 23. The falling birthrate shows that humanity "seems to have lost its taste for creating and caring for others, and perhaps even its taste for living," he said.

Sending the incubator to the Lampedusa reception center "further underlines that love for life is always open and universal, desirous of the good of all, regardless of origin or any other condition.

The scouts also helped build a nautical carpentry workshop in Zambia which he said is aligned with the human vocation of transforming God's gifts "into instruments of good," particularly in a world "where there is so much talk, perhaps too much, about producing weapons to make war."

Citing his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home," the pope encouraged the scouts to "take charge" of the current climate crisis and from there, to deeply consider "the specific place that human beings occupy in this world and their relations with the reality that surrounds them."

US, Europe, Russia urge restraint after Iran attack on Israel

Following the recent weekend attack on Israel by Iran, European countries are joining the United States in urging restraint.

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Sudan: One year of conflict

The war in Sudan broke out exactly one year ago. 12 months of fierce fighting and violence have caused a huge loss of life, the displacement of millions of people, acute hunger, and a tragic ongoing humanitarian crisis.

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Congo-Brazzaville: Bishops evaluate and offer guidance to episcopal commissions

Bishops in the Republic of Congo, over the weekend, concluded their first Plenary Assembly for 2024. The Plenary was held in the capital, Brazzaville. During the report sessions, they evaluated various pastoral projects and received reports on the activities of the Episcopal Commisions and Church institutions.

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St. Paternus: Saint of the Day for Monday, April 15, 2024

St. Paternus.The first 5th century saint. He followed his father's path by becoming a hermit in Wales. He founded the monastery at the great church of Paternus, and became a bishop of that region. He was known for his preaching, charity and mortifications. Scholars believe his story is an amalgam. His feast day is April 16.

Council of Cardinals commences April meetings in the Vatican

April 15 marks the start of the April working session of the C9 - Council of Cardinals, in the presence of Pope Francis.

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The invisible and indelible wounds of war

Dr. Richard Mollica, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, shares with Vatican Media his decades of experience in assisting trauma survivors as they and their families seek healing from the hidden wounds of war.

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Poland: Thousands join National March for Life in Warsaw

Thousands of people express their support for the lives of unborn children and their opposition to expanding access to abortion, as they took part in Poland’s National March for Life on Sunday.

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Cardinal Parolin tells university students their commitment counts

The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, encourages university students of the Università Cattolica in Milan, to make the most of their time now, in order to create a better future.

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