The 2001 ordination class shows changes
By Tony Staley
Anyone who doubts that the United States is becoming more diverse or the universal nature of the Catholic Church need only to look a national survey of the 2001 ordination class.
Of the more than 400 men who will be ordained to the priesthood across the U.S. (none for the Green Bay Diocese) this year, 13% are Hispanic, 7% are Asian or Pacific Islander and 1% are African-American. Some 28% of the ordinands were born outside the U.S. with 35% of them moving to the U.S. before they were 20.
Catholic schools are vital in nurturing vocations - 64% attended a Catholic elementary school, 54% a Catholic high school and 56% a Catholic college. About 10% served in the military.
What led the ordinands to the seminary? Far and away it was personal contact, especially by a priest, friend or seminarian. Second was a retreat program. Most ordinands were active in their parishes as altar servers, lectors and Eucharistic ministers.
Our need for vocations to priesthood is obvious and will grow as more priests from large ordination classes continue to retire. It is our duty as Catholics to pray for more vocations and to put our prayer into action by personally recruiting men for the priesthood. The need is clear. So is the solution.