The USCCB released this hopeful news yesterday:
The average age of men ordained to the priesthood in 2011 is trending younger with the average age for the 2011 class at 34, with more than half between the ages of 25 and 34. This is slightly younger than in 2010, and follows the trend over the past five years of ordinands becoming younger.
These figures stand out in The Class of 2011: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood, an annual national survey of men being ordained priests for U.S. dioceses and religious communities, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a Georgetown University-based research center. The entire report can be found at www.usccb.org/vocations as well as on the bishops’ vocation Web site, www.ForYourVocation.org. It is the 15th annual survey of ordinands commissioned by the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Some other stats that jumped out at me:
Half between 25 and 34 years of age
Seventy-one percent were altar servers
Sixty-seven percent attended Catholic college
Four in five report that both parents are Catholic
A third have a relative who is a priest or religious
Nearly a quarter report having five or more siblings(!)
Finally, the number of priests to be ordained this year:
480 potential ordinands [were] reported by seminaries , houses of formation, dioceses, and religious institutes. They included 275 men being ordained for 128 dioceses and 54 ordinands for religious orders, such as the Jesuits, Dominicans and Franciscans.