June 1, 2007


A snapshot of the Class of 2007

Their average age is 35 this year.

The youngest is 25 and the oldest is 68.

One-third of this year’s class was born in another country, primarily Vietnam, Mexico, Poland or the Philippines.

More than 60 percent completed college and had full-time work experience—mostly in education—before embarking on their latest chapter in life.

What group is represented by this snapshot of statistics? It’s the Church’s national ordination class of 2007. The figures also show 475 priests are expected to be ordained in the United States this year.

Thanks to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, these facts and figures give us a sense of the lives led by the men who have been or will be ordained in the coming weeks to serve our Church family as God’s newest priests.

What we can’t glean from the national statistics is the personal vocation journey of each individual surveyed. How many were influenced by family, friends or others in ordained ministry to consider the priesthood? How many considered a vocation at a young age? Which individuals sensed a call to serve the Church later in life?

While each individual’s story is no doubt different, we believe a closer look at the Class of 2007 would reveal some commonalities, including a moment or two where God’s Providence played a role in each man’s discernment process.

Fortunately, in the past three issues of The Criterion, we’ve been able to do just that by sharing the respective faith journeys of deacons Thomas Kovatch, Eric Nagel and Randall Summers, who will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein at 10 a.m. on June 2 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

We’ve learned how all three would be considered “later vocations” because of their current age (Deacon Summers is 50, Deacon Kovatch is 49 and Deacon Nagel is 42).

We’ve read how, as adults, each spent a time away from regular Mass attendance, but found the grace to return to the Church.

We’ve learned how at peace and eager each is with the prospect of serving God’s Church family for years to come.

While their approaching ordination day brings them much joy, the soon-to-be priests also know challenges await them in their new ministries.

What can we, as people of faith, do to assist them?

Pray that they will be good, holy priests.

Pray that the Holy Spirit leads them in their daily endeavors.

And, as always, pray for more people to answer our Creator’s call to serve our Church as priests or religious.

Though the national statistics don’t give us the entire picture, one thing they show us year in and year out is this: It’s never too late to consider a vocation.

— Mike Krokos

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