According to the results of a recent diocesan-level survey, most Catholics under the age of 30 are Hispanic. Overall, about 40 percent of U.S. Catholics are Hispanic. The survey was conducted as a part of V Encuentro, (Fifth Encounter) process, an initiative developed by the U.S. bishops to better serve the growing Latin American community.
However, the growing number of U.S. Latinos who identify with the Catholic faith is not reflected in vocations to the priesthood. The Center of Applied Research for the Apostolate at Georgetown University (CARA) reports that only 20 percent of the 2018 ordination class are of Hispanic descent.
With the statistics confirming the tremendous growth of Hispanic Catholics, why is there a shortage of Latino priest? What’s the next step for the Catholic hierarchy to cure this shortage?
Here’s the NFPC’s summary of several factors contributing to the Latino Priest shortage:
- Education and the hurdles Hispanics face getting a Master of Divinity Degree.
- Legal Status – some bishops have been able to work well with undocumented men; some have not.
- Celibacy is sometimes a Hispanic cultural barrier because the son is expected to marry and carry on the family name.
- Lack of contact with Priests. Most Latinos do not attend Catholic High Schools and are less-liken to develop a connection with an ordained Priest.
In America Magazine’s, What’s Behind the Latino Priest Shortage?, J.D. Long-García shared his observations after interviewing several ordained Hispanic Priests. Please click here to review Garcia’s article.
Click here to review the top ten highlights from the V Encuentro consultation survey.