Priesthood ordinations up 24.7% this year

I have in the past mentioned the Opus Bono Sacerdotii which is dedicated to helping priests who are in trouble.   This is an organization which deserves support.

That said, I saw a fine statistic on their Facebook page.

595 men are expected to be ordained to the priesthood in the United States in 2015, an increase of 24.7% over last year’s figure of 477, according to data released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I’ll tell you what this is… this is the Benedict Effect.

However, do pray for vocations to the priesthood.  I heard from a little bird that applications are down this year in many places.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Benedict XVI, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Frank H says:

    Among the 595 is one of my sons, thanks be to God, one of six being ordained for the Diocese of Columbus, which has over 30 men in various stages of formation. And I’m looking forward to visiting the Diocese of Madison in late June for the ordination of the nephew of a great friend.

  2. ASPM Sem says:

    I don’t know about applications, but at SJV in Minnesota there are already 50 new men on the list and we’ve started to have to turn people away. We do plan to try to house the 50 on the list currently, however from what I’ve heard.

  3. Father, while this is great, two things: 1) this is not enough. In my archdiocese of Toronto, we only have 2 ordinations this year. Down from 5-10 in previous years. 2) even if they are ordained, they will mostly be sent to parishes where the Spirit of Vatican II priests of the 60’s to 80’s still reign as rulers, a thumb they will be squashed under. It’s a start but things still need to improve overall, including your often touted “biological solution.” Deo Gratias though for these men, knowingly going into such war zones.

  4. rwj says:

    While I entered the seminary during the pontificate Pope. St. John Paul II, I was ordained during that of Pope Benedict’s. My experience was that Benedict constantly reinforced everything that attracted me to the Church– the beauty and truth of the Deposit of Faith, as well as the celebration of Liturgy in a way that demonstrates its transcendence. It was such a benefit to me, I know it had an effect. Prayers for all in formation today, and for Francis and Benedict!

    I wonder if there are others, like myself, that may not have truly appreciated Pope Benedict XVI until after his renunciation? I will try to make up for it with prayers.

  5. Elizabeth D says:

    I like to give to Opus Bono when I have some extra money! They are a wonderful group and I don’t think there is anyone else doing the type of work they are doing.

  6. Eugene says:

    Father Z. last year I predicted on this website that the Francis effect would result in fewer vocations as the Papacy has become less and less counter cultural and heroic. IMO young men and women will follow heroic examples, which St JPII and Benedict were and which is lacking in the current example of Pope Francis. I am afraid we are heading back to post VII days until this Pope forcibly changes his emphasis and actions.

  7. mysticalrose says:

    This is what makes me the most sorrowful about the current papacy. The Francis Effect is sure to result in fewer vocations, and at times I wonder if that isn’t ultimately the point. Liberals want to level the priesthood, since this supports their whole “priesthood of all believers”- wannabe- Lutheran meme. After all, how can we have married and women priests if healthy young men flock to the seminaries in droves?

  8. sw85 says:

    I seem to remember, some years ago, many American dioceses mandated an additional year of formation in seminary for priests, with the predictable result that those dioceses had very low ordination numbers (I think a total of 1 priest ordained in the Archdiocese of NY). Could this be the corollary of that? All the seminarians subjected to the extra year graduating at the same time as all those grandfathered from it the previous year?

  9. catholiccomelately says:

    The harvest is plentiful. PRAY the Lord of the harvest will send workers into the fields.
    Don’t complain …. pray!

  10. Magash says:

    I’m afraid the Francis effect is real, but believe that it is primarily a result of the media, not of the Holy Father. All popes, as do most public figures, make gaffs. It is the media that employ those gaffs in their agenda’s.
    The best thing that could happen is for the Holy Father to realize that he needs a better PR person. Someone who is knowledgeable enough in how the media plays the game to get out the many things Francis had said and written that support orthodox Catholic theology.
    The best thing the rest of us can do is to point out that whoever is the pope the Church will remain the Bride of Christ and need good, strong, holy men to be priests.

  11. Thom says:

    Deo gratias!

  12. St Donatus says:

    This is good news for now. Young men want truth. They want to belong to something that gives them strength, they want to know they can depend on God and the Church.

    I have no doubt that if Pope Francis doesn’t put an end to this wishy washy Catholicism thing, we will see a sharp drop off in seminarians once again. Without that, as seems to be happening now in the Church with this ‘democratic’ Catholicism we seem to be experiencing now, there is no truth, nothing to depend on, God is wishy washy. What we believe today is what is wrong tomorrow? How can THAT BE TRUTH. Truth is Truth and it never changes.

    If I was Satan and I wanted to destroy as many souls as I could, I would do just what is going on now. Make solid Catholics question that Church, then question God, then join the rest of the human race to take care of number one as a secularist. Weak Catholics will just stop going. Secularism will finish sweeping over the Church and it will be just another protestant church with lots of empty aging buildings and no direction. We will see the same damage to the Church that we saw in the last 60 years but now it won’t be ‘practice’ that changes but ‘doctrine’.

    Sadly the confusion during this papacy has had negative effects on me as well. Our traditional priests have told us to stop watching the news about the Pope and Rome because the news is so painful it is harming the faith of many. If we can’t trust God’s Church on Earth, then who can we trust?

    I really need to take the priests advice and focus on my own spirituality and not have my ears tickled by the latest shocking news. We must all pray for the Church, our Holy priests, our seminarians, and most of all that Pope Francis is lead by the Holy Spirit to strengthen the Church.

  13. juergensen says:

    No surprise that applications are down this year. If we are “not to judge”, why bother, right?

  14. Charlotte Allen says:

    No problem with the Dominicans! The Dominican House of Studies here in DC is so bursting at the seams that it’s moving its deacon class into the priory at my Dominican parish. I think the issue is leadership at the local level, not at the Vatican level.

  15. Benedict Joseph says:

    Speculation is that after some years of plenty, there will be some years of drought. Might they be upon us? Let us not expend all our fortitude in the present, we will need some for the years ahead. And let us pray for our new priests. They are precious, and will soon be put to the test by those who should be upholding them.

  16. Mike says:

    Considering the ongoing demographic drought in the West (shamefully in the case of Catholics), it wouldn’t be surprising to discover an ebb in vocations. Still, it’s hard to dismiss the resurgence of liturgical abuse and dodgy doctrine as probable additional dampers on vocation recruitment.

    One wonders where earnest, faithful young Catholics stuck in bad parishes and dioceses will be drawn, if not to diocesan seminaries: to traditional orders (good), to Eastern Rites (not bad, but doubt it will happen much), or to borderline and schismatic outfits (bad and very bad)?

    The vocations collapse was variously misreported by cartelized media in the 1960s and 1970s. Now, though, we have little cause to claim not to be informed. Everything we can do to persevere in sound catechesis and formation — anchored in prayer, fasting, and investments of time and treasure — will not be too much.

  17. Maynardus says:

    On that glorious afternoon of 07-07-07 I received a call from a reporter at Boston’s largest news radio station asking my opinion (on behalf of Una Voce) as to what the immediate effects of Summorum Pontificum would be. I told her that I strongly believed that the most significant impact would be a measurable increase in vocations to the priesthood but that because of the time necessary for discernment and then the number of years required for formation this wouldn’t become apparent for some five to ten years. I can hardly take credit for being the only one to foresee this, but without excessive pride I can say that I am extremely gratified that this seems to have in fact transpired.

    A further ripple of the “Benedict Effect” is the healthy numbers from many dioceses which seem directly related to orthodox and courageous bishops appointed by Pope Benedict, who have in turn made vocations a priority. Without casting any aspersions, it is illustrative to look a bit more closely at some of the dioceses whose vocation numbers have remained, shall we say, stagnant…

  18. Toan says:

    What I find awesome is that men who become priests these days must expect many to scorn them as presumed pedophiles. They become priests knowing they’ll have it rough, and having the grace and backbone to become priests anyway. I think we can expect these to be particularly strong priests who will attract many more people to the priesthood and religious life in the next decades.

  19. Cincinnati Priest says:

    One factor that can’t be underestimated is the tone of encouragement (or lack thereof) by the Holy Father of the diocesan priesthood.

    Pope St. John Paul the Great was justifiably famous for his beautifully inspiring “Holy Thursday” letters and other exhortations to his brother priests; Pope Benedict encouraged young men to seek the beauty of the Eucharist through his unparalleled reverence and grace and general _ars celebrandi_ in the way he celebrated the Holy Mass (not to mention his highly insightful writings on the liturgy).

    Pope Francis, on the other hand, whether intentionally or not, comes across as making many, many criticisms of diocesan priests and the tone whenever he speaks of the priesthood seems (to me) to be scolding or even shrill, constantly focusing on faults and pitfalls, rather than the beauty of the priesthood.

    This can’t help but have an effect.

    I hope I am wrong here, but to be honest I can’t remember reading anything that Pope Francis wrote or said that seemed genuinely affirming of the diocesan priesthood. If you fellow readers could prove me wrong, I’d welcome that.

  20. Pingback: T -157: Benchmarking Bishoprics | The Deus Ex Machina Blog

  21. Benedict Joseph says:

    Cincinnati Priest, I concur. Pope Francis, and those with whom he seems to associate himself with appear to be held by a contrary spirit of self-contempt, embarassment, debasement in relation to their identity as Roman Catholics. Witness Kasper, Maradiaga, Marx, et al. Yet they all cling to the pedigre. And then they exhort us to follow in this course of faux self-diminishment. It bespeaks a certain instability to me on a personal and institutional level.

  22. seattle_cdn says:

    24-7 – good number

  23. St Donatus says:

    Toan, isn’t it ironic that the rate of pedophilia in public school teachers is estimated to be as much as 100 times higher than it is in the priesthood and because of the medias rabid hatred for the Church and their constant harping on ‘pedophile priests’ and never a story about ‘pedophile teachers’ (unless they are some hot young woman teacher), we never consider the stigma of being a public school teacher. It is amazing the strength of the media.

  24. Stephen Matthew says:

    Those being ordained this year would have entered seminary in roughly the years 2006 – 2009, depending on the particulars of their formation process, some perhaps earlier for certain religious orders. Bare minimum is 5 years of formation, with some programs lasting as long as 12 years, but 6 to 9 is common. The seminaries I know of are all nearly full and expecting to reach capacity. However, some diocese I know have seen a drop in applications over the last couple of years, but those numbers tend to fluctuate a bit all the time, so difficult to know if it is a trend or not.

    The troubling thing is, even if every seminary in the USA remains at capacity, and all of those in formation stay to ordination, we will likely still not be able to replace all the soon to retire baby-boom generation of priests. Even if we had enough men, and enough seminaries to train them, the cost of formation would be more than most diocese could afford. God is merciful, but demographics and budgets are not.

Comments are closed.