A study of potential ordinands for 2008 reveals a diverse set of men will present themselves for priestly ordination this year.
According to a press release from the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, 401 men will be ordained in 2008. The Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) surveyed about 84 percent of the potential new priests on behalf of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations.
The CARA survey revealed that most ordinands have been Catholic since birth, though almost one in ten is a convert. Ordinands were somewhat more likely to have attended a Catholic high school, and much more likely to have attended a Catholic college. Between half and three quarters of the 2008 class had been active in parish ministry before entering the seminary, serving their parishes as lector, altar server, or Eucharistic minister.
The average age of an ordinand is 36 for the diocesan priesthood and 39 for the religious orders, according to the CARA survey. About 30 percent of new priests are between 25 and 29 years of age, while about 39 percent are in their thirties.
Jeffrey Montz, one of the youngest ordinands at 25, said the call to the priesthood was clear when he was young. He started his freshman year of college in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ formation program at St. Joseph Seminary College.
David Link, 72, is one of the five future priests over the age of 65. A former dean of the University of Notre Dame law school, Link is a widower who heard his call to the priesthood through prison ministry.
The Archdiocese of Chicago will ordain 11 men, four of whom were born in Poland and two of whom were born in Mexico.
One third of the ordinands for 2008 were born outside the United States. They include Hai Duc Din, 46, from the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, who spent a year in a Vietnamese labor camp.
The Archdiocese of Boston will ordain seven priests, as will the Archdiocese of Washington. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will ordain three men, all of whom are in their twenties.
The Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, will ordain four men, its most since 1982. The Diocese of Rockford, Illinois will ordain seven.
The three men being ordained for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are all fourth degree Knights of Columbus. The Diocese of Santa Fe will also ordain three men, one who is a former Marine and another who is a former Episcopalian minister.
More information on the 2008 class of ordinands is available at www.usccb.org/vocations/classof2008