On May 21st, five men will be ordained priests for service to the diocese of
Cleveland. Unlike many another diocese, Cleveland has had priestly ordinations every year, going back
decades. Part of the reason for this is that we have our own seminary system in the diocese and we have
some particularly prolific parishes that produce vocations. I am told that ten (of the over 170 parishes in the
diocese), produce the majority of seminarians. I was assigned to one of these parishes 20 years ago.
Indeed, there have been approximately ten men being ordained from that parish in the past
20 years, with at least two men in the seminary today. (The parish is St. Francis de Sales, south of Akron.)
In recent years ordination classes are anywhere from
two to five men. When I was ordained, in 1982, there was a class of 16. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, the ordination classes were usually in the double digits. Although we are
holding our own as a diocese, we are suffering a net loss of priests every year, because of death and retirements. As a
result, according to a recent study by CARA (the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate), we will have more
parishes than active diocesan priests in the next decade. The net loss of priests is particularly reflected in the
percentage of priests under 45 years of age. Out of 376 diocesan priests, only 45 are in this age group (12%). Over three
times as many (42%) are between the ages of 60 and 74. 24% of priests are 75 and above
(many in this age group are no longer on active status).
Please pray for vocations to the priesthood. Encourage the youth to pray and develop a love
for the Eucharist and the Mass. Inactive Catholics do not inspire or generate vocations. Live the faith and be
generous in serving God. Pray for our seminarian, Christopher Stein, and his family.