What influences men to enter the priesthood? How does college impact this decision? Thanks to a new report issued by Boston College (h/t Tim Muldoon), we now have a lot of data on this question.
Boston College has issued its summary report of the 2013 Summit on Vocations to the Priesthood. This Summit was convened to discuss the results of a study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). This CARA study, commissioned by Boston College and the Jesuit Conference USA, sought "to assess the impact of Catholic higher education on the vocational discernment of men entering the seminary and religious life in the United States, seeking to determine variables related to what led them to the seminary and/or eventual ordination."
The goal of the Summit, says the report, "was to communicate new insights into what promotes and what hinders vocations to priesthood, and to facilitate dialogue toward developing a national strategy for fostering such vocations."
The 40-page report contains helpful information and data about the makeup of the men entering the priesthood and the reasons for their decision, especially as it relates to college. For example: "The men who entered priestly formation were just as likely as the broader Catholic population to have attended Catholic elementary or high schools, but they are significantly more likely to have attended a Catholic college. Forty-four percent of ordinands attended a Catholic college, in contrast to only about 7 percent of the overall U.S. Catholic population."
"Simply put," says the summary report, "if a Catholic college provides more experiences of encouragement of vocation to priesthood, it is likely that such encouragement will bear fruit."
Click here to access the full report, an excellent resource for educators, counselors and campus ministers at all levels.