Nine men are to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests in a ceremony Saturday, but St. John's Seminary in Boston's Brighton neighborhood has no first-year candidates for the fall yet, New England Cable News reported Friday. The seminary is expecting some transfers. Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, told NECN that it was the first time since the early years of the seminary, which was founded in 1884, that there have been no first-year candidates at this time of year.
We found three changes in the ordinands since the research began in 1998. First, the average age at ordination rose from 34.8 to 36.8 years. Second, the level of education prior to entering seminary rose. Whereas in 1998, 30 percent had less than a B.A. or B.S. degree, in the 2003 sample it was only 21 percent. Correspondingly, the percentage who had received a Masters Degree or professional degree beyond the B.A. rose from 13 to 30. This is a notable change in only five years. Third, the percentage born outside the U.S. rose from 24 to 28 percent. The two principal countries of birth today are Vietnam and Mexico, in agreement with past studies.
The study was directed by Dean Hoge, our premier priest-study-er, who is also the author of an interesting book called The First Five Years of the Priesthood