WASHINGTON — The 59th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations will be celebrated by the Catholic Church on May 8. The Fourth Sunday of Easter is commonly referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday” for the Gospel reading about the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, just as Jesus did for us. While upholding all vocations, the Church places a special emphasis each year on this day to pray for vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life, and support for those currently living out one of these vocations.
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) stated, “The Church is grateful to God for continuing to call men and women to serve his people as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. As the Church in the United States begins its three-year revival of devotion to the Holy Eucharist, I encourage the faithful to pray to Our Eucharistic Lord to send out more ‘laborers into his harvest’ (Mt. 9:38, Lk. 10:12) and to keep those set apart for His service, faithful to their calling.” In conjunction with the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the CCLV committee released the Ordination Class of 2022 Study, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. A few of the major findings of the report are:
On average, responding ordinands first considered priesthood when they were 16 years old. Responding ordinands were scheduled for ordination on average 18 years later (at the age of 33).
Three in five responding ordinands (60%) are Caucasian. One in five (22%) are Hispanic/Latino. One in ten (11%) are Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian. Relatively few (4%) are African/African American/black
A quarter (26%) are foreign-born. The most common countries of birth are Mexico, Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, and India.
One in ten (9%) report being homeschooled. Between 39-42% of respondents attended a Catholic school on the K-12 and/or college level.
Before entering seminary, 74% regularly participated in Eucharistic Adoration and 72% prayed the rosary.
Half of responding ordinands (50%) participated in parish youth group, three in ten (28%) participated in Catholic Campus Ministry/Newman Center and 25% were involved in Boy Scouts.
Seven in ten (74%) served as altar servers before entering the seminary. Other commonly cited parish ministries include lector (51%), extraordinary minister of Holy Communion (37%) and catechists (37%).
Nine in ten (90%) were encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life (most frequently, the parish priest, friend, or another parishioner).
Sadly, half of responding ordinands (48%) were discouraged from considering the priesthood by one or more persons. Most often, this person was a family member (other than parents) or a friend/classmate.
The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2022 can be accessed here: https://www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/ordination-classes.
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