.- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver will ordain 11 new priests for his diocese May 13, on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
The ceremony will bring the total number of ordinations for Denver this academic year to 14; three men were ordained in December. This is the largest number of ordinations in Denver since the 1960s. There were five ordinations in 2002-03 and seven in 2004-05.
The Archdiocese of Denver ranks third nationwide in ordination class size for 2006. According to the Official Catholic Directory, the Church continues to average between 400 and 450 priestly ordinations each year since 2003. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has cited a trend towards older and better educated ordinands; the average age of whom nationally is 37.
In Denver, their average age is 34 and many have had full-time careers in various fields. For example, Deacon Frank Garcia, 48, taught over 20 years in Colorado’s Jefferson County Public Schools before entering the seminary. Deacon Michael Freihofer, 42, was an officer in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years, where he taught calculus and coached the Academy’s women’s volleyball team.
When asked about their calling to the priesthood, many of the ordinands describe an attraction to the priesthood since childhood, while others experienced their calling in later years, usually during college or foreign missionary work.