Thursday, March 23, 2006

Rapid City Fifth of Nation's Dioceses in Seminarians per capita

Bettnet's Domenico Bettinelli, editor of Catholic World Report, has posted an article on seminary enrollments that appeared in an article in that magazine last summer. The data is for 2004. Here are some extracts that relate to the Northland dioceses:

The dozen dioceses with the highest ratio of seminarians to Catholics, according to statistics published in the 2004 edition of The Official Catholic Directory, are Lincoln, Nebraska; Yakima Washington; Savannah, Georgia; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Rapid City, South Dakota; Wichita, Kansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Alexandria, Louisiana; Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida; Steubenville, Ohio; Spokane, Washington; and Bismarck, North Dakota.
[snip]
Rapid City vocation director Father Brian Christensen recalls that Bishop Harold Dimmerling, who died in 1987, composed a prayer for vocations that has been recited weekly in every parish since the 1980s.
[snip]
The nation’s 13 most vocation-rich dioceses all have fewer than 200,000 Catholics. The most vocation-rich larger dioceses are Denver (14th), Omaha (30th), Chicago (41st), Atlanta (43rd), and La Crosse, Wisconsin (44th). The most vocation-rich dioceses with more than 500,000 Catholics are Chicago, Washington (63rd), St. Paul and Minneapolis (64th), and Cincinnati (77th). Of dioceses with over 1,000,000 Catholics, only Chicago and Newark (80th) have vocation rates above the national median.
[snip]
Every diocese along the western two-thirds of the Canadian border (except for Seattle), on the other hand, has an above-average vocation rate, as do all the dioceses of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. These factors transcend American political divisions: while the pro-Bush "red states," in general, tend to be more vocation-rich than the pro-Kerry blue states, some "red" dioceses are vocation-poor, and the most pro-Kerry area in Minnesota is located in the Diocese of Duluth, the state’s most vocation-rich diocese (16th).
[snip]
In 2001, the year Bishop Sullivan (who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease) received a coadjutor, Fargo had 42 seminarians and a ratio of one seminarian to 2,356 Catholics-a rate higher than Lincoln’s is today. By 2003, the diocese had 22 seminarians; the number fell to 12 in 2004, a 71 percent decline over three years. With a ratio that now ranks 32nd in the nation, Fargo remains vocation-rich. In 2001, Bishop Samuel Aquila, former seminary rector in the vocation-rich Archdiocese of Denver, was named Fargo coadjutor bishop. Like Bishop Sullivan, Bishop Aquila has boldly proclaimed Catholic teaching on controversial issues of the day and has been praised for his leadership in confronting pro-abortion politicians and mandating orthodox catechetical materials for parish programs.
[snip] See the entire report here with a pdf file with all of the data.

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