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CARA 2020 ordination study provides hope for state of vocations in the Church

News of the Diocese

May 1, 2020

CARA 2020 ordination study provides hope for state of vocations in the Church
At a time when the faithful are prone to despair and struggle with the sadness of not having the sacraments available, and with the public celebration of Masses/liturgies suspended – through May 29 in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland -- the annual ordination report from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, also known as CARA, offers some encouraging news. According to the report, the 2020 ordination class is a ray of light, a tangible sign of God’s continued care for his Church.

As a part of its mandate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations sponsors an annual survey -- in conjunction with CARA -- of the members of the current year’s ordination class nationwide. CARA said each of the men to be ordained in the coming months shows the loving work of God to sustain his Church through the calling of new priests to minister his saving sacraments and preach the Good News.

The survey results reflect that the men being ordained this year are from a variety of backgrounds who have all responded to God’s call to serve his people. The study data is derived from 77% of the 448 identified members of the class who responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 82% are being ordained to the diocesan priesthood and 18% are being ordained to the priesthood for an institute of religious life or society of apostolic life.

Among the report’s major findings are:

  • Across the country, the average age of ordination this year is 34. On average, the respondents were 16 years old when they first considered a call to the priesthood.
  • Two-thirds of the respondents – 67% -- are Caucasian; 16% are Hispanic/Latino; 10 % are Asian/Pacific Islander/naïve Hawaiian and 6% are African/African American/black.
  • The four most common countries of birth among the foreign-born candidates for ordination are Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria and Columbia.
  • Between 35% and 44% of all respondents attended a Catholic school for at least some of their schooling.
  • Seven in 10 respondents (72%) participated in Eucharistic Adoration on a regular basis before entering the seminary, a similar proportion (70%) prayed the rosary, more than two in five (44%) attended prayer group/Bible study, and two in five (38%) participated in high school retreats.
  • Seven in 10 respondents (73%) served as altar servers before entering the seminary. Half (50%) served as lectors. Four in 10 (40%) served as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.
  • Nine in ten respondents (89%) were encouraged to consider the priesthood by someone in their life, most frequently a parish priest, friend, or another parishioner.

Click here to see the full CARA report and profiles of each ordination class from 1998-2020.

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