2012-05-23 L’Osservatore RomanoWashington, 23. Young and with an active past of service in parish ministry: this is the picture of priests being ordained this year in the United States, according to a study sponsored by the Bishops' Conference and conducted by Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), a Georgetown University-based research center. The Class of 2012: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood is an annual publication, based on the results of hundreds of interviews. This year, data showed that on average, most of the ordinands have been Catholic from birth. More than four in five report that both parents are Catholic, and more than a third have a relative who is a priest or religious.
The median age for those being ordained has been falling for several years, as shown in previous studies. This year it is 31, two-thirds of the class are between the ages of 25 and 34. On average, those who responded to the survey answered that they first considered a vocation at about the age of 17. A simiar fall in age was also noted in another study recently published by the episcopate regarding men and women religious in the United States.