Sunday, June 22, 2014
STATISTICS DON'T LIE, THERE ARE MORE VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD TODAY THAN THERE WERE IN 1910
The chart above concerns the Jesuits and their vocations from 1910 to 2010. As you will note, there are more vocations today than in 1910.
I think this chart could be indicative of vocations for the priesthood across the board. More than likely there are way more vocations today compared to 1910. But what happened in that period beginning around 1920 and peaking in 1965 with a noticeable decline to what is the case today?
THERE WERE MAJOR WARS, TWO WORLD WARS, KOREA AND VIETNAM!
The peak in vocations begins its dramatic rise coinciding with World Wars of unprecedented proportions and continuing with the Korean conflict and the Vietnam war.
In fact, during the time of the draft in this country as it concerns Vietnam, there was a tremendous spike in the number of men studying for the priesthood coinciding with the dates of 1966 through 1972. After the draft in the USA was eliminated in 1972 and the war came to a conclusion, so too was there a dramatic drop in the number of seminarians in this country.
For example, my seminary, St. Mary's in Baltimore Maryland had so many seminarians, up to 400 by 1970 that it had to rent a nearby Sisters of Mercy facility to house them all. By 1974 this number was down to about 200 and by 1976 when I entered we had 160 seminarians, 60 alone in my class. In my class by the time we were ordained we were down to 23! Today with deaths and those who left the priesthood, we have only 8 left! YIKES.
It appears that the spike in vocations can be traced to two phenomenon during war time. Men entered the seminary to escape military service! Or men entered the seminary because the threat of war and death created a renewed interest in religious life and serving the Church. You pick!