A Survey of Priests Ordained Five to Nine Years, 1991

Seminary Department of the National Catholic Educational Association. A Survey of Priests Ordained Five to Nine Years, 1991.

"A Survey of Priests Ordained Five to Nine Years" was one of a series of studies funded by the Lilly Endowment to enhance seminary education. The survey's results are presented in a report of the same name, which was authored by Eugene Hemrick of the United States Catholic Conference and Dean Hoge of the Catholic University of America. Hemrick and Hoge's survey was distributed to a representative sampling of diocesan and religious priests who had been ordained between five and nine years earlier, and thus could provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of Catholic seminary education in the United States. The survey covered topics ranging from living situations and spiritual practices to priestly ideals and identities. According to Hemrick and Hoge's report, neither the college seminary experience nor the type of theologate attended could be determined to have had a measurably significant impact on the respondents. Field education and mentoring programs produced positive results, however, and priests' level of satisfaction in their first assignments seemed to have affected their later attitudes, relationships, and outlook. The report suggests that seminary education could be improved by providing candidates for the priesthood with more help in gaining collaborative skills and real-world experience. The study also found that both diocesan and religious priests reported strong commitment to spreading the gospel and building community. The two groups differed, however, in that diocesan priests attached more importance to institutional responsibilities while religious priests emphasized dialogue and outreach. The report concludes with commentaries by Howard P. Bleichner, S.S., Daniel M. Buechlein, O.S.B., Richard W. Burton, Robert J. Wister, and Donald W. Wuerl.

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National Catholic Educational Association
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