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Ordination Class of 2000

 

Report on Survey of 2000 Priestly Ordinations
by Dean R. Hoge
Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University, April 24, 2000


In March Father Edward J. Burns of the U.S. Bishops' Office on Vocations asked if the Life Cycle Institute could assist the Committee on Vocations on a survey of men ordained to the priesthood in 2000. I met with Father Burns to design the questionnaire to be sent to dioceses and religious communities. In February Father Burns sent a short questionnaire to each diocese and religious community asking if one of its staff could list the names of the men ordained in 2000, and either complete a one-page questionnaire on each or ask the men themselves to do so.

After some days of phoning and reminding, Father Burns achieved 383 completions by the March 31 deadline (309 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood and 74 to the religious priesthood). They came from 132 of the 192 dioceses and 29 religious communities. A graduate student, Patrick Lynch, and I computerized the data under Father Burns's direction.

The questionnaires were one page long, and they asked twelve questions about the ordinand's age, background, education, work experience, activities, hobbies, and recognitions. To select codes for the open-ended questions we listed all of the responses based on the 1999 questionnaires. We then coded all the questionnaires. One question asked for "principal work experience," and since many questionnaires listed more than one, we coded up to two per person. Similarly we coded up to two hobbies. Below is a summary of the questionnaires. All numbers are percentages unless noted.


Table 1: Age

Diocesan

27
28
17
19
6
4

36.2

Religious

15
37
27
15
7
0

35.8

All

25
39
19
18
6
3

36.1




Percent 25-29
Percent 30-34
Percent 35-39
Percent 40-49
Percent 50-59
Percent 60 or older

Mean age


Table 2: Race

Diocesan

72
14
7
3
0
1
*
4

Religious

73
4
19
1
1
1
0
0

All

73
12
9
2
*
1
*
3




European American
Hispanic or Latino
Asian or Pacific Islander
African-American
European
African
Mixed
Other

* Less than 1/2 percent

Table 2 shows that 12 percent of the ordinands are Hispanics (Latinos), a figure higher than in recent years. For example, a 1984 nationwide survey of Catholic seminarians (Hemrick and Hoge, 1987) found that 7 percent were Hispanic. Still the figure is lower than the percent Hispanic in the total U.S. Catholic population today (estimated at 25 to 30 percent). Table 2 also shows that 9 percent are Asian or Pacific Islanders, a figure higher than the percent in the total U.S. Catholic population (an estimated 2 to 3 percent; see Davidson, et al., 1997, p. 161). Also 2 percent are African-American, which is less than the percentage African-American in the U.S. Catholic population (estimated at 3 to 4 percent; see Davidson, et al., p. 159).


Table 3: Country of Birth

Diocesan

76
0
1
1
2
1
1
4
2
1
7
1
1
*
0
1

Religious

76
0
0
0
1
3
0
14
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
3

All

76
0
1
1
2
2
1
6
2
1
6
1
1
*
0
2




U.S.A.
Canada
Western Europe
Central America
Africa
Poland
Ireland
Vietnam
Philippines
Korea
Mexico
Colombia
Caribbean, Puerto Rico
Peru
Czechoslovakia, Slovakia
Other countries

* Less than 1/2 percent


Table 4: Highest Education Before Entering Seminary

Diocesan

20
8
51
2
13
1
*
2
2

Religious

17
4
60
1
13
3
0
0
1

All

20
8
53
2
13
2
*
1
2




High school
Associate degree
B.A. or B.S. degree
Working on advanced degree beyond B.A., B.S.
M.A., M.S.W., M.Div. or other Masters
Law degree
M.D. (Medicine degree)
Professional degree other than law or medicine
Ph.D.

* Less than 1/2 percent.


Table 5: Any Catholic Education

Diocesan

60
50
59

Religious

64
51
65

All

60
50
60




Percent who attended Catholic elementary school
Percent who attended Catholic high school
Percent who attended Catholic college

The levels of Catholic schooling are much higher for the ordinands (Table 5) than is true of the total U.S. Catholic population. For example, in a 1993 nationwide Gallup survey, 54 percent of Catholics 54 or younger reported that they had attended Catholic elementary school and 26 percent said they had attended Catholic high school. The percent 35 to 54 years old who had attended Catholic college was only 10. (See D'Antonio, et al., 1996, p. 71.) percentages of all ordinands (383) are 6, 4, 1, 0, 0, 1, and 3, respectively.


Table 6: Principal Work Experience

Diocesan

13
16
6
8
9
5
7
5
2
4
3
1
3
1
1
0
1
1
2
0
2
1
8

Religious

27
6
0
21
6
4
2
4
2
0
4
1
1
5
0
1
4
1
0
1
5
1
7

All

16
14
5
11
9
5
6
5
2
3
3
1
3
2
1
*
2
1
1
*
3
1
7




Educator: teacher, administrator, coach, guidance
Skilled or unskilled labor, farm worker
Sales, real estate
Church ministry: parish admin., relig. educator
Manager, supervisor, high govt. official
Banking, finance, broker, accountant, auditor
Engineer, computer programmer
Military
Scientific assistant, technician
Nursing, phys. therapist, public health, paramedic
Clerk, bank teller, bookkeeper
Lawyer
Government worker
Artist, musician, drama, photographer, designer
Counselor, psychologist
Physician, dentist
Social work
Legal assistant, paralegal
Scientist
Pharmacist
Reporter, editor, writer
Volunteer
Other

NOTE: Only 304 ordinands mentioned work experiences. Some mentioned more than one, so we coded up to two experiences. The percentages shown are of the total work experiences reported (418 in all).

* Less than 1/2 percent.


Table 7: Noteworthy Activities

Diocesan

34
26
9
2
2
6
21

Religious

50
30
0
0
0
0
20

All

37
26
7
2
2
5
21




Catholic organization; campus ministry
Social welfare or educational service
Leadership or organizations
Government training program
Athletic participation
Studied abroad
Other clubs

NOTE: A total of 57 ordinands mentioned activities. The percentages shown are of these 57. The percentages of all ordinands (383) are 6, 4, 1, 0, 0, 1, and 3, respectively.


Table 8: Noteworthy or Interesting Hobbies

Diocesan

11
13
15
13
3
6
4
3
3
5
5
*
2
3
14

Religious

16
14
7
12
2
9
7
2
2
5
5
0
0
2
16

All

12
13
13
13
3
7
5
3
3
5
5
*
2
3
14




Individual sports (incl. tennis, squash, bowling)
Reading
Team sports
Music
Musical instruments
Mountain climbing, camping, orienteering
Movies
Painting, drawing, drafting
Gardening
Photography
Traveling
Architecture
Visiting family and friends
History
Others

NOTE: A total of 164 ordinands mentioned hobbies. Some mentioned more than one, so we coded up to two hobbies. The percentages shown are of the total hobbies reported (276 in all).


Table 9: Recognitions

Diocesan

18
29
0
3
3
47

Religious

0
50
25
0
0
25

All

16
32
3
3
0
45




National Honor Society
Academic Honor Roll, Dean's List, Cum Laude, etc.
Athletic Award
Included in Who's Who
National Merit Scholar
Other

NOTE: A total of 38 ordinands mentioned recognitions. The percentages shown are of these 38. The percentages of all ordinands (383) are 2, 3, 0, 0, 0 and 4, respectively.

* Less than 1/2 percent

We found two small changes in the ordinands since 1998. The percentage of Asians and Pacific Islanders rose slightly (from 6 percent to 9 percent), and the percentage of those who have earned a Master's Degree rose slightly (from 9 percent to 13 percent). Otherwise, the ordinands in 2000 are similar to those in 1998.


References

D'Antonio, William V., James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge, and Ruth A. Wallace. Laity American and Catholic (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1996).

Davidson, James D., et al. The Search for Common Ground: What Unites and Divides Catholic Americans (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1997).

Hemrick, Eugene F., and Dean R. Hoge. Seminary Life and Visions of the Priesthood: A National Survey of Seminarians (Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association, 1987).

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