2015 NRVC/CARA family study overview

2015 NRVC/CARA family study overview

The Role of the Family in Nurturing Vocations to Religious Life and Priesthood

In conjunction with the 2014 and 2015 Synod on the Family in Rome and the eighth World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in September 2015, NRVC releases this major study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) on the role of the family in nurturing vocations to religious life and priesthood.  

Executive Summary

Complete study

Press release

Family study handout

"Five things your family can do" video

Interview with Bro. Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C.

Interview with Dr. Mary Gautier


Project details

The study consists of three parts:

  • A survey of recently professed religious and recently ordained priests as well as those currently in formation will assess the family support and encouragement of a vocation as experienced by these men and women. These survey participants are also asked to provide contact information for a parent or other close family member who can respond to a survey.
  • A survey of family members of religious and clergy will reveal information about the common characteristics of families who have produced vocations to religious life or priesthood. Attention will be given to faith practice, level of support, parish involvement, ethnic and cultural practice, and other characteristics that may influence vocational discernment in families.
  • A national random survey of Catholic parents will assess contemporary attitudes about vocations, their support or discouragement of vocations, and whether they discuss the possibility of a vocation with their children.


The findings from the study will help to educate the Church on the important role of parents and families in the promotion of vocations at the time when the Church is placing an intentional, stronger focus on families and their faith life. Download a handout of the study findings.


For further information

  • About the study process: contact Mary L. Gautier, Ph.D., CARA Senior Research Associate at gautierm@georgetown.edu or by phone at 202-687-8080.
  • About the background of the study and its use for promoting vocations to religious life: contact Brother Paul Bednarczyk, CSC, NRVC Executive Director at bpaulbcsc@nrvc.net or by phone at 773-363-5454.

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