Infographic: Few Hispanics among men to be ordained as priests in 2018

Ten priests at the conclusion of their ordination Mass on May 27, 2017, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)Ten priests at the conclusion of their ordination Mass on May 27, 2017, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

Only 20 percent of the respondents to a survey of men scheduled to be ordained as priests this year are Hispanic, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The figure adds to concern about the low percentages of Hispanics entering the priesthood, enrolling in seminaries and entering religious orders. Among seminarians in the 2017-18 academic year, 15 percent identified as Hispanic, lower than the 34 percent of the nation’s Catholic population who are Hispanic and far less than the 52 percent of U.S. Catholics under 30 who are Hispanic.

Though most U.S. Catholics under 30 are Hispanic, only about one-fifth of respondents to a CARA survey of ordinands were Hispanic.

The Rev. Jorge Torres, secretary of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors, believes the church can overcome the disparity by creating more opportunities for evangelization and catechesis within Hispanic communities.

Advertisement

“We need to be more involved with U.S.-born Hispanics—not just administering sacraments, as beautiful as they are,” he said. “We need to find a different path to help them see how they want to serve God and their neighbors.” Father Torres is the vocations director for the Diocese of Orlando, Fla., where 50 percent of seminarians are Hispanic.

Many young Hispanics feel called to provide for their families, which can be an obstacle to discernment, Father Torres said, or cannot afford the college education needed for religious vocations. He said that increasing Hispanic enrollment in higher education is an important goal so “academics won’t be a stumbling block” to the “men and women who want to serve God.”

The ages of those scheduled to be ordained this year range from 25 to 70.

“It’s an incredible task,” he said. “but the more leadership is open to the Latino community, the more [Latinos] will respond.”

According to CARA, overall seminary enrollment has remained steady: There are 3,369 students at the post-baccalaureate level of priestly formation in 2017-18, reports the Georgetown University-based research center, a slight decrease of 36 from the previous year—but far below the enrollment of 8,159 in 1967-68, which has been unequaled since CARA began compiling data that year.

Infographic sources: “The Class of 2018: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood,” Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate; data on postulants and novices at 768 religious institutions from “Women and Men Entering Religious Life: The Entrance Class of 2017,” CARA; seminary data from “Catholic Ministry Formation Enrollment: Statistical Overview for 2017-2018,” CARA; data on U.S. Catholic population from “A Closer Look at Catholic America” (2015), Pew Research Center, and “America’s Changing Religious Identity” (2017), PRRI.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

The setting of “West Side Story” is San Juan Hill, the nickname of the Lincoln Square area of Upper West Side of Manhattan—an area bulldozed and redeveloped into the Lincoln Center performing arts complex in the early 1960s.
Ryan Di CorpoFebruary 25, 2020
Lent is not the time for hating my body or ignoring it or making it suffer for things that I have done, no matter what the voice of my eating disorder says.
Amanda Martinez BeckFebruary 25, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden departs services at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 23. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernie Sanders may yet unify the Democrats, writes Robert David Sullivan, but there are still questions about what to do if most primary voters oppose him.
Robert David SullivanFebruary 24, 2020
In this last week of Ordinary Time before Lent, take time to reflect on the ordinary blessings in your life and cultivate gratitude for them.
James Martin, S.J.February 24, 2020