US bishop: Consecrated life is a direct contribution to building up of the body of Christ

The Little Sisters of St. Francis at Mass on the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, Feb. 2, 2023, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond. (Photo/The Catholic Virginian)
WASHINGTON – Consecrated persons advance the mission of the Gospel in the Church today by bringing the light of the Gospel to those they encounter, said Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing. In preparation for the celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life by the Catholic Church on February 2, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations (CCLV) commissioned a study on newly professed men and women religious through the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
The survey, Women and Men Professing Perpetual Vows in Religious Life: The Profession Class of 2023, commissioned annually since 2010 provides valuable insight into the demographics, family background, education history, occupational and ministerial experience, and vocational discernment of religious who professed perpetual vows in the past year.
Bishop Boyea serves as chairman of the CCLV committee: “In their work, ministry, and community, men and women in consecrated life make a direct and tangible contribution to building up of the body of Christ. Whether it be serving the poor, teaching, providing medical care, or assisting with professional administration, consecrated men and women, in the rich array of their vocations, bring the light of the Gospel into the hearts of all those they encounter.”
Some of the major findings of the report are:
  • The average age of responding religious of the Profession Class of 2023 is 36. Half of the responding religious are age 33 or younger. The youngest is 24 and the oldest is 78.
  • Two in three responding religious (67%) are Caucasian, European American, or white followed by Asian/Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian (12%), Hispanic/Latino(a) (9%), African/African American/black (7%), and mixed race/other (5%).
  • Almost all (99%) of respondents were raised by their biological parents during the most formative part of their childhood. Besides, one in sixteen (7%) report being raised by their grandparents during the most formative part of their childhood.
  • Most respondents (84%) served in at least one Church ministry before entering their institute. The most common ministry experiences were altar server (51%), youth/campus ministry (50%), faith formation, catechetical ministry, RCIA (48%), and lector (46%).
  • About eight in ten (82%) respondents report that someone encouraged them to consider a religious vocation. The most common sources of encouragement were parish priest (45%), religious sister/brother (44%), and friend (41%).
The full CARA report and profiles of the Profession Class of 2023 may be found here.
Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, of Pensacola-Tallahassee, a member of the CCLV committee spoke recently his experiences as a bishop and how being a religious order priest has impacted his ministry:
Scroll to Top