Every year the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) presents findings from a national survey of ordinands to the priesthood. This year’s survey represents a response rate of approximately 74 percent of the 497 potential ordinands reported to CARA by theologates, houses of formation, arch/dioceses, and religious institutes. These 366 ordinands include 279 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood, from 119 different dioceses and archdioceses, and 87 ordinands to the religious priesthood.
A Few Major Findings
- The average age of ordinands for the Class of 2013 is 35.5. The median age (midpoint of the distribution) is 32. Three-quarters of responding ordinands are between 23 and 39. This distribution is slightly older than in 2012, but follows the pattern in recent years of average age at ordination in the mid-thirties.
- Ordinands of the Class of 2013 have been active in parish ministries, with two-thirds (67 percent) indicating they served as an altar server and about half (47 percent) participating in a parish youth group. One-fifth (20 percent) participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary.
- On average, responding ordinands report that they were nearly 17 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood. Two in three (67 percent) say they were encouraged to consider a vocation to the priesthood by a parish priest. Other frequent encouragers include friends (46 percent), parishioners (38 percent), and mothers (34 percent).