I did not know what to expect when I was asked to speak at the Napa Institute. The first question I had was, “What is the Napa Institute anyway?” I knew only that many Cathoilcs, including bishops converged on Napa Valley in the Summer, but why?
Officially, the Napa Institute is, “a Summer Conference that brings together some of the world’s most prominent Catholic and Christian thinkers each year to engage, encourage, and inspire the over 500 participants who gather for the annual conference from every corner of the country and around the world.” Unofficially, it is a place where I found great peace in finding out that there are hundreds of apostolates and ministries like mine that are out there tackling the problems of society. Unfortunately, I found that Vocation Ministry is the only one working on vocations. I have my work cut out for me.
I heard world class speakers like Dr. Tim Grey, Cardinal Burke, and George Weigel! A few of Vocation Ministry’s board members went to the Napa Institute, as well.
My talk was about the State of Vocations in the US using the Official Catholic Directory, I have categorized the healthiest dioceses for priestly vocations, according to number of Catholics, active priests they have, the number of parishes they need to serve, and their ordination #’s from 2017-2020:
US- ranks 50 out of 108 countries in Total Ordinations from 2015-2017
177 Total Dioceses
14 Healthy Dioceses
24 in a Vocation Drought
139 Just maintaining
Largest Diocesan Ordination Classes:
There is hope, we know that some dioceses are doing well for vocations:
Healthiest US Dioceses for Vocations
- Nashville, TN- 13 ords between 2017-2020
- Wichita, KS- 26 ords between 2017-2020
- Lincoln, NE-15 ords between 2017-2020
- Paterson, NJ-32 ords between 2017-2020
- Lafayette, LA-16 ords between 2017-2020
- Monterey, CA-14 ords between 2017-2020
- Diocese has more priests than parishes.
- Ordinations-higher than 1 per 100,000 Catholics
- Diocese has fewer than half the number of priests than parishes
- Diocese is ordaining very few men
- Diocese has some combination of the Healthy and Drought conditions
I also shared about Vocation Ministry and how this nonprofit is positively impacting vocations in the US, one diocese at a time.
Each new experience for me in this nonprofit, Catholic world shows me just how connected we all are!