The U.S. Catholic bishops have posted their annual survey of the newly ordained. The 2009 survey, commissioned by the U.S. bishops and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), had a response rate of approximately 70 percent of the 465 potential ordinands.They included 239 men being ordained for dioceses and 71 for religious orders. Among the survey's findings:
- The average age for the Class of 2009 is 36.
- One quarter of ordinands were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Mexico, Vietnam, Poland and the Philippines.
- Most ordinands have been Catholic since birth, although one in ten (10 percent) became Catholic later in life, on average at 21.
- Before entering the seminary, two in three ordinands completed college (65 percent), and one in five of those had a graduate degree (19 percent).
- Half of responding ordinands (51 percent) attended a Catholic elementary school, which is a slightly higher rate than that for all U.S. Catholic adults. Ordinands also are more likely than other U.S. Catholic adults to have attended a Catholic high school and are much more likely to have attended a Catholic college. .
- Whether or not they ever attended a Catholic elementary or high school, 57 percent (65 percent of diocesan ordinands and 54 percent of religious ordinands) participated in a religious education program in their parish.
- Ordinands have been active in parish ministries, with between about half and three-quarters indicating they served as an altar server, lector, and/or Eucharistic minister.
- About two-thirds of ordinands report having full-time work experience before entering the seminary, most often in education.
- Responding ordinands represent 112 dioceses/eparchies and 46 religious congregations.
The National Religious Vocation Conference hopes to work with the USCCB Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations on a similar project highlighting the newly professed men and women in religious institutes.