CARA Special Report: religious Sisters in the U.S.
role of the Family in Nurturing Vocations
CARA research shows that a majority of priests and religious indicate that their family encouraged their pursuit of a vocation but very little is known about the influence of families on vocations. In conjunction with the 2014 and 2015 Synod on the Family in Rome and the 8th World Meeting of Families, to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in September, 2015, this major study on the role of the family in nurturing vocations is currently underway.
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.
Findings from the study will be made available in time for the 8th World Meeting of Families and the 2015 Synod on the Family in Rome. The findings 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. As with all CARA research, the absolute confidentiality of all individual responses is guaranteed. Research findings are reported in statistical format, typically as averages or percentages. Any information that could potentially identify an individual or his/her family is concealed or removed from the report of findings. This study is a collaborative research project of the National Religious Vocation Conference and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, made possible through generous funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. For more information contact CARA Senior Research Associate Mary L. Gautier, Ph.D.
Millennial Generation Altar Servers & Vocations
Among never-married Catholic Millennials (born 1982 or later), nearly the same percentage of males (14%) and females (13%) report ever having been an altar server. Women who professed perpetual vows in 2014 in a religious congregation, province, or monastery based in the United States are more than twice as likely to have been an altar server (29%). The difference is even larger among men who become priests in the United States (not shown in the figure below) with 83% of Millennials ordained in 2014 having been an altar server at some point before entering the seminary.
Catholic Ministry Formation Directory, 2015
Time to order now!
CARA's 2015 Catholic Ministry Formation Directory (MFD) will be available soon! The most comprehensive directory of Catholic ministry formation programs in the U.S. can be ordered in print or online. The MFD is an indispensable reference for seminary, diaconate, and lay ministry formation programs, vocation offices, career counselors, parishes, and many others. The 2015 Directory contains a detailed analysis of participants in Catholic ministry formation programs – seminarians, deacon candidates, and men and women preparing for lay ecclesial ministry positions. It also contains a complete listing of the more than 550 Catholic ministry formation programs sponsored by the Catholic Church in the United States, organized by type, by state, and by diocese. Each entry includes a listing of current leadership for each program, enrollment data, contact information, and a detailed program description. The Directory also contains a statistical overview of ministry formation enrollments.