Millennials Fueling Resurgence in Candidates for Priesthood

Associated Press

December 30, 2017

By Dan Horn

Millennials seeking to become Catholic priests are being credited with an increase in enrollment at an Ohio seminary.

The Rev. Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh looks out his office window at the courtyard below, marveling at how much his view has changed in just a few weeks.

Once home to green grass and well-manicured shrubs, the courtyard is now a muddy mess. Heavy equipment rumbles throughout the day and temporary fences surround ditches and overturned earth.

O’Cinnsealaigh thinks it’s beautiful. As president of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary at The Athenaeum of Ohio, he knows what this big construction project means for the Catholic Church in Cincinnati.

“We have a future here,” he says.

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Their generation came of age as society was becoming less religious overall and as the Catholic Church was suffering through a yearslong clergy abuse crisis that tested their faith in Catholic institutions.

Yet no generation today is providing more men to lead the church than millennials. Nationally, three of every four seminarians are 34 years old or younger. At the Athenaeum, where seminarians in their 30s and 40s once dominated the ranks, the average age is 28.

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