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Reflections on cathedral life span two decades

National Vocations week takes place January 9-14

On the journey to the priesthood

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Two seminarians take different paths to same goal

Grants to fund study of Latino vocations

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OBITUARIES:
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• Brother Robert Wade, SM

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placeholder January 9, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
Grants to fund study of Latino vocations

WASHINGTON — The Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been awarded an $85,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to explore why Hispanics are underrepresented in the U.S. clergy and religious.

The survey aims to identify common and distinctive cultural traits that affect the openness and ability of Catholic youth to respond to a call to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. The secretariat has commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University to conduct a national survey of never-married Catholics, ages 14 and older, to study their views about vocations and their own consideration of a vocation.

The one-year grant from the Los Angeles group will also be used to fund a seminar on consecrated life for the U.S. bishops.

Statistical data found in two reports commissioned by the secretariat, “The Class of 2011: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood” and “The Profession Class of 2010: Survey of Women Religious Professing Perpetual Vows,” indicate fewer than expected religious vocations among the Hispanic and Latino Catholic population in the United States.

Father Shawn McKnight, executive director of the secretariat, said Hispanics/Latinos constituted 15 percent of the ordination class and 10 percent of the religious profession class, but they are 34 percent of the total adult Catholic population.

The secretariat seeks to identify specific reasons for their underrepresentation, to guide the efforts by dioceses and religious communities to promote vocations.

In the same reports, other cultures have shown a stronger representation of members becoming priests or religious. For example, Asians constitute 4 percent of the adult Catholic population in the U.S., yet 10 percent of the past year’s ordination class were Asian. This has been a consistent trend during the past 15 years. In the 2010 class of women who made their religious profession of perpetual vows, 19 percent of the entire class was Asian.

Jesuit Father Allan Deck, former executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, said, “This proposal is the single most important effort to find the best ways to provide the priestly leadership necessary for Hispanics/Latinos to flourish in the church.”

 
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