Seminarian numbers holding steady with slight dip

Seminarian numbers holding steady with slight dip

Deacon formation inches up


Enrollment in post-baccalaureate priestly formation totaled 3,369 in 2017-18, an 8 percent decrease over the prior year that researchers characterized as essentially "holding steady." 

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, which compiled the information, reported that the figure for seminarians "was just 36 seminarians down from last year’s theologate enrollment." The numbers are found in CARA's newly published Catholic Ministry Formation Enrollment: Statistical Overview for 2017-2018.

Of the post-baccalaureate level enrollment, 78 percent were candidates for dioceses, and 22 percent were from religious orders. These totals include pre-theology students who may have undergraduate degrees in another academic discipline but need additional work to qualify for theologate enrollment. 

The number of permanent deacons in the United States has grown steadily, increasing 2 percent per year over each of the last 10 years. 

CARA identified a total of 204 active lay ecclesial ministry formation programs in 2017-2018, enrolling 16,585 candidates, of which 12,226 are working toward a certificate in ministry and 4,359 are working toward a graduate degree in ministry. 

Hispanics/Latinos make up more than half (52 percent) of participants in lay ecclesial ministry formation programs. 



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