Snapshot: 480 New Priests in 2011, Five Year Trend: Younger (+more cool stats)

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 as well as on the bishops’ vocation Web site,  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.

Deo Gratias!



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  • Padraig

    While it looks impressive, it is just a number. Why are catholics always going gaga over priests statistics? Like it is a referendum on the health of the church.

  • Bruce

    Just as long as they preach the truth about life (evils of abortion) and marriage (only between one man and one woman), things should go well.

    • David b.

      That seems like a very simplistic approach to this complex world. Keeping men from marrying each other won’t wolve poverty or international conflict. If you think it will, you may want to do some traveling and see the world as it is.

      • Romulus

        “Solving poverty” is a secular goal. It’s not what the Church is for.

      • Jarrad F

        David b.

        Bruce is not so far off as you think. Both of the things mentioned by Bruce (abortion and same-sex marriage) function in society from debasement and corruption within the fabric of society itself. They are micro issues that would lead to larger sicknesses like the ones you mentioned.

        Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that “Wars are consequences for the way we live” Since it seems that we are very good at starting wars and occupying countries lately, maybe Bruce’s advice isn’t too bad.

        Oh and the finds are from the US only. Hardly the world…

      • Bruce

        The poor you will always have with you. If you believe otherwise, then you are calling Jesus a liar. There is no such thing as utopia. If you believe that, you are not a Christian either.

    • Michael B

      Bruce, while I agree that priests should teach and devote homilies to the Church’s teachings on life and human sexuality, that’s just part of the Truth entrusted to the Church by Christ. I think priests should teach and preach the entire Truth revealed to the Church by Christ, in-season and out-of-season, but always with charity.

      • Bruce

        Michael B, of course.

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    God bless these young men. As Abp. Dolan’s story from the airport tells us, at this time in the history of the Church, they have thier work cut out for them.

  • T Pringle

    Love the picture! Having spent two years at Miami’s St. John Vianney College Seminary I can attest to the great character of the men studying to become our future pastors. They’re excellent guys who love the Lord and love serving the Church. The future of the church is extremely bright! Thanks for sharing the info!



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