WASHINGTON—As the Catholic Church prepares to celebrate the WorldDay for Consecrated Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB)Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) is releasing theresults of a survey taken of the most recent Profession Class of 2017 conductedby the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The survey results have been releasedto coincide with the annual celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life,which will be celebrated in the Church on Friday, February 2, 2018 and inparishes on the weekend of February 3-4, 2018.
Commenting on the World Day for Consecrated Life, CardinalJoseph Tobin, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark and Chair of the USCCB'sCommittee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations states: "For twenty-oneyears, the Church has designated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord,Candlemas Day, as an appropriate moment to thank God for the gift ofconsecrated life. Jesus is manifest as 'light of revelation for the Gentiles'and 'glory for God's people, Israel.' Consecrated men and women reflect thislight as witnesses of Jesus in a world that is often shrouded in shadow. Theyare the glory of God's people. We pray for the perseverance of consecrated menand women and ask God to continue enriching the Church with their uniquevocation."
The survey polled women and men religious who professedperpetual vows in 2017 in a religious congregation, province, or monasterybased in the U.S. CARA received a response from 600 of 768 major superiors foran overall response rate of 78 percent among religious institutes.
Of these 216 identified women and men religious, a totalof 100 sisters and nuns and 51 brothers and priests responded to the survey.These 51 men may include some brothers who intend to pursue studies leading topriestly ordination. This represents a response rate of 73 percent of the 208potential members of the Profession Class of 2017 that were reported to CARA bymajor superiors.
Some of the major findings of the report are:
- Nearly nine in ten or 86 percent of responding religiousregularly participated in some type of private prayer activity before theyentered their religious institute. About two-thirds participated in EucharisticAdoration, prayed the rosary, or attended retreats before entering. Nearly sixin ten participated in spiritual direction before entering.
- Most religious did not report that educational debtdelayed their application for entrance to their institute. Among the 4 percentwho did report having educational debt, however, they averaged about 4 years ofdelay while they paid down an average of $29,100 in educational debt.
- The average age of responding religious is 41. Halfof the responding religious are age 36 or younger. The youngest is 24 and theoldest is 86.
- Two-thirds of responding religious (64 percent) identifyas white, more than one in six (18 percent) identifies as Asian, and more thanone in ten (11 percent) identifies as Hispanic.
- Most responding religious (67 percent) were born in theU.S. Of those born outside the United States, the most common country of originis Vietnam.
- Among those identifying as Hispanic/Latino almost six inten (62 percent) are foreign born. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander/NativeHawaiian seven in ten are predominantly foreign born. Nearly all identifying asCaucasian/White (94 percent) are U.S. born.
- One-half of responding religious attended a Catholicelementary school, more than four in ten (44 percent) attended a Catholic highschool, and a near equal proportion (43 percent) attended a Catholic collegebefore entering their religious institute.
- On average, responding religious report that they were 19years old when they first considered a vocation to religious life, but halfwere 18 or younger when they first did so.
- Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) respondingreligious report that someone encouraged them to consider a vocation toreligious life.
- Over four in ten reports that a parish priest (43percent) encouraged their vocation.
- Half say they were encouraged to consider a vocation by areligious sister or brother. Women religious were more likely than menreligious to do so.
- Over four in ten (41 percent) report that they wereencouraged to consider a vocation by their friends.
The entiresurvey and press release, General Intercessions and a bulletin quote for theWorld Day for Consecrated Life, as well as more information on the Secretariatof Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations can be found at www.usccb.org/consecratedlife.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, World Day forConsecrated Life, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life,and Religious Vocations, Presentation of the Lord, Profession Class of 2017,Candlemas Day, Clergy, Vocations, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate(CARA), religious congregations, province, monastery, sisters, nuns, brothers,priests, Eucharistic Adoration, rosary, survey, Catholic education,Hispanic/Latino, vocations
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