U.S. ordination class of 2009 trending younger

U.S. ordination class of 2009 trending younger

.- Priests to be ordained in 2009 tend to be younger than those of recent years and come from a variety of different backgrounds, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports.

Several dioceses will ordain large numbers of men this year. The Archdiocese of Newark will ordain 13 men for either the archdiocese or for the Neo-Catechumenal way. The Chicago Archdiocese will ordain ten men, while the Washington Archdiocese will ordain eight. The Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee will ordain six men. Cincinnati, which has averaged five ordinations a year since 2000, will ordain seven in 2009.

The Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon will ordain seven, its largest class since the early seventies.

The median age of 2009 ordinands is 33, younger than in recent years. Allen Offa, one of three to be ordained for the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is 25. Two of the five men to be ordained for the Archdiocese of Detroit are 26, while the oldest is 36.

There are several converts among the 2009 ordination class. Benjamin Roberts, of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, considered ordination in the Lutheran Church but converted to Catholicism in 1999. The Washington Archdiocese’s Daniel Gallaugher was raised as an Evangelical Protestant. Two ordinands from the Archdiocese of Detroit were Baptists.

Daniel Maxwell, an ordinand from the Diocese of Baker, Oregon who entered the Catholic Church at 17, is from a family who hasn’t had a Catholic blood relative for 200 years.

Some ordinands come from notably large families. Jacob Runyon, from Fort Wayne-South Bend, is oldest of 11. Matthew Mason of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire is the oldest of seven. The Philippines-born Giopre Pardo of Oakland is one of seven brothers, one of whom is a priest and seminary spiritual director in the Philippines.

Several other ordinands were foreign-born, the USCCB reports.

Justin Minh Nguyen of the Diocese of Austin was a skilled tailor and a refugee from Vietnam. He is one of five to be ordained for the diocese. Quy Vo, a refugee from the Philippines, is being ordained for the Diocese of Albany.

Joel Bugas, a 43-year-old to be ordained or the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, was a three-term mayor in his home town in the Philippines.

The foreign-born Fernando Jimenez will be the first Hispanic to be ordained for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, while Peruvian native Pablo Migone will be ordained for the Diocese of Savannah.

Pawel Sass, a native of Poland, will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington. Budi Wardhana, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, will be the third native Indonesian-born priest ordained to serve in the United States.

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