There’s a great report on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the CARA Study of the Ordination Class of 2013.
Among the illuminating statistics which Father Sean McKnight, Executive Director of the Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, shared with us this morning at the Paluch Vocation Seminar are the following:
The median age of men ordained to the priesthood in 2013 is 32
More than a third have a relative who is a priest or religious
On average, respondents report that they were nearly 17 years old when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood.
Sixty-seven percent say they were encouraged to consider a vocation by a parish priest.
Thirty-one percent were born outside the United States
″More than half of the Class of 2013 (52 percent) report having more than two siblings, while one in five (20 percent) report having five or more siblings. Ordinands are most likely to be the oldest in their family (40 percent).
″Before entering the seminary, six in ten ordinands completed college (63 percent). Almost one quarter (23 percent) entered the seminary with a graduate degree. One in three (29 percent) entered the seminary while in college.
″Ordinands of the Class of 2013 have been active in parish ministries.Two-thirds indicated they served as an altar server and about half (47 percent) participated in a parish youth group. One-fifth (20 percent) participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary.
″More than four in 10 of respondents (42 percent) attended a Catholic elementary school, which is a rate equal to that for all Catholic adults in the United States. In addition, ordinands are somewhat more likely than other U.S. Catholic adults to have attended a Catholic high school and they are much more likely to have attended a Catholic college (44 percent, compared to seven percent among U.S. Catholic adults).
″Many ordinands specified some type of full-time work experience prior to entering the seminary, most often in education, accounting, finance or insurance. Four percent of ordinands indicated that they had served in the U.S. Armed Forces at some point.
″The survey also found that new priests in dioceses and religious orders have educational debt. Just over a quarter (26 percent) carried debt at the time they entered seminary, averaging just a little over $20,000 in educational debt when they entered seminary.