This spring, the fifteen dioceses of Texas ordained 32 Transitional Deacons to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood. Through the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, these men completed several years of education and spiritual training to make the final step on their call to the priestly vocation.
The Diocese of Austin led the Lone Star State with six ordinands, followed by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston with five and the Diocese of Victoria with four. The Archdiocese of San Antonio and the Dioceses of Fort Worth, San Angelo and Tyler each ordained three Transitional Deacons. The Dioceses of Brownsville and Dallas each had two ordinands and the Diocese of Amarillo had one.
Nationally, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood, numbers the 2015 class of U.S. priests at 595, up 20 percent from 477 in 2014, and 497 in 2013.
The 2015 CARA Survey also showed that most of these ordinands are "cradle Catholics", although 7 percent joined the Church later in life. Eighty-four percent report that both of their parents are Catholic and more than a third (37 percent) have a relative who is a priest or a religious.
Half of the respondents attended a Catholic elementary school, and were "somewhat more likely than other U.S. Catholic adults to have attended a Catholic high school." 60 percent had completed college before entering the seminary, while 15 percent entered the seminary after earning a graduate degree.
Notably, 78 percent of these men stated that they had served as an altar server, and one in seven had participated in a World Youth Day before entering the seminary. 70 percent of U.S. ordinands pray the Rosary on a regular basis and the same percentage participated in Eucharistic Adoration before being a seminarian.
Finally, seven in ten (71 percent) say found their priestly calling with encouragement from a parish priest, as well as friends (46 percent), parishioners (45 percent), and mothers (40 percent). Conversely, almost half (48 percent) of the men indicated that they were discouraged by others from considering a vocation to the priesthood.