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Ordination Class of 1999

 

Report on Survey of 1999 Priestly Ordinations
by Dean R. Hoge
Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University, April 6, 1999


In January Father Timothy Reker 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 1999. 1 met with Father Reker to design the questionnaire to be sent to dioceses and religious communities. In late January Father Reker 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 1999, 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 Reker achieved 418 completions by the March 19 deadline (340 ordinands to the diocesan priesthood and 78 to the religious priesthood). They came from 175 of the 193 dioceses and 85 religious communities. A graduate student, Patrick Lynch, and I computerized the data under Father Reker'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 1998 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

29
26
17
18
6
3

35.9

Religious

7
38
26
21
7
0

37.2

All

25
29
19
19
6
2

36.2




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

77
10
7
2
2
*
0
1

Religious

65
9
17
1
1
3
4
0

All

75
10
9
2
2
1
1
1




European American
Hispanic or Latino
Asian or Pacific Islander
African-American
Native American; Indian
European
African
Mixed

* Less than 1/2 percent

Table 2 shows that 10 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. 16 1). 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

81
*
1
1
1
1
0
1
4
1
*
3
3
1
0
0
0
0
1

Religious

68
1
5
0
4
3
0
1
9
0
1
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
5

All

78
*
2
1
1
1
0
1
5
1
*
3
2
*
0
0
0
0
2




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

* Less than 1/2 percent


Table 4: Highest Education Before Entering Seminary

Diocesan

17
10
55
1
11
3
1
1
1

Religious

18
3
51
0
18
3
0
4
3

All

17
8
54
1
13
3
1
2
1




High school
Associate degree
B.A. or B.S. degree
Now 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.


Table 5: Any Catholic Education

Diocesan

61

45

60

Religious

76

76

62

All

63

51

61




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.)


Table 6: Principal Work Experience

Diocesan

14
17
12
7
9
6
7
5
4
3
3
3
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
*
1
*

Religious

37
3
4
26
1
5
6
1
3
4
5
0
8
3
3
1
*
3
0
*
1
0
*

All

18
14
11
9
9
6
6
4
4
3
3
3
3
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
*
*
*




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
Other Government worker
Artist, musician, drama, photographer, designer
Counselor, psychologist
Physician, dentist
Social work
Legal assistant, paralegal
Scientist
Child care worker, nursery school teacher
Reporter, editor, writer
Volunteer

NOTE: Only 326 ordinands mentioned work experiences. Some mentioned more than one, so we coded up to two experiences.

* Less than 1/2 percent.


Table 7: Noteworthy Activities

Diocesan

6
6
4
2
1
1
1
1

Religious

10
3
6
0
0
1
1
0

All

6
5
4
2
1
1
1
1




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

NOTE: A total of 93 ordinands mentioned activities.


Table 8: Noteworthy or Interesting Hobbies

Diocesan

15
12
11
7
6
4
2
2
3
1
1
1
2
*
8

Religious

21
5
9
18
3
1
4
1
*
1
*
*
*
*
14

All

16
11
11
10
5
4
3
2
2
1
1
1
1
*
10




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 185 ordinands mentioned hobbies.


Table 9: Recognitions

Diocesan

1
1
*
*
0
0
3

Religious

5
0
0
0
*
0
1

All

2
1
*
*
*
0
3




National Honor Society
Academic Honor Roll, Dean's List
Athletic Award
Included in Who's Who
Fulbright scholar
National Merit Scholar
Other

NOTE: A total of 29 ordinands mentioned recognitions.

* Less than 1/2 percent


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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