Seminary Graduates Are Getting Younger: SURVEY

Apr 23, 2024

A survey conducted and published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in April found that the cohort of priests set to graduate later this year will trend younger than average.

The survey was commissioned by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University and examined the backgrounds of almost 400 men poised to be ordained into the priesthood. The median age of respondents scheduled to be ordained was found to be 31 years old.

This means half were between the ages of 26 and 31, while the rest were between 31 and 67. The average age of the ordinands is 33. The average age of diocesan priests since 1999 has been between 32 and 37. Religious priests trend slightly older at around 35. (LEARN MORE: Children Fail Basic Classes Across US)

Significant Influence of Parents

“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,” the USCCB wrote on their website.

The site also shared these statistics:

  • 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%).

How Important Are Parental Rights To You?

The influence of parents is significant in shaping not just their own child, but the world their child inhabits. Some members of local, state, and federal government think parents should have less control over their children than the state. What do you feel?

Sign up for www.millionvoices.org today (text MV to 80550) and share this article with your friends and family so they can stay informed and share the love today.

Based on responses collected between Jan. 10 and March 10 from 392 men expected to be ordained later this year, the survey had a margin of error of +/-2.7 percentage points.

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