United States bishops and CARA report on 2023 ordination class

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On April 30, the Catholic Church marked the 60th annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Celebrated on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is often referred to as "Good Shepherd Sunday" in reference to the Gospel reading that teaches that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.

Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) stated, "Surveys of recently professed men and women religious and men ordained to the priesthood show that families and encouragement from the parish priests alongside Catholic schools provide optimal environments for a vocational call to grow. On this day, let us thank God for continuing to call men and women to serve him and his Church as priests, religious, and consecrated persons. We pray that all families, teachers, and priests will continue their essential work of instilling the faith and love of Jesus in our children."

In conjunction with the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the CCLV committee released the Ordination Class of 2023 Study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Out of the 458 men scheduled to be ordained this year, 334 completed the survey for an overall response rate of 73 percent. These ordinands represent 116 U.S. dioceses and eparchies and 24 distinct religious institutes.

A few of the major findings of the report are:

-- Most of the ordinands received formation at a seminary in the South and the Midwest (31 percent for both) followed by the Northeast (17 percent), West (13 percent), and abroad (7 percent).

-- Responding ordinands indicate they first considered priesthood during elementary school (32 percent), followed by high school (26 percent). Religious ordinands are more likely than diocesan ordinands to first consider a vocation in college (23 percent) and graduate school (20 percent).

-- Hispanics/Latinos constituted 16 percent of the responding ordinands. Between 2006 and 2023, the share of Hispanics/Latinos averaged 15 percent and ranged between 11 percent and 22 percent.

-- Ordinands who attended Catholic elementary school constituted 43 percent of all respondents, and 34 percent attended a Catholic high school.

-- Most respondents (93 percent) were baptized Catholic as an infant and raised primarily by their biological parents (96 percent) and a married couple living together (92 percent).

-- Over half of respondents (63 percent) cited their parish priest as an encouraging influence on their vocation.

-- The full CARA report and profiles of the Ordination Class of 2023 can be accessed here: www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/ordination-classes.