May 2019
August 2019
The State of Priestly Vocations in the US
Vocation Ministry has compiled its first annual State of Priestly Vocations Report! You are the first to see it and find out the health of the United States dioceses for vocations! Using the 2019 Official Catholic Directory and diocesan websites and social media, I compiled information on all 177 Dioceses. Here are the findings:

15 are healthy
32 are in a vocation drought
130 are maintaining.
33 dioceses ordained 0 new priests this year
The average age of a priest in many dioceses is 65. In just a few years, those priests will be retiring.

Healthy means that they have more than or almost as many priests as parishes and men are being ordained, about 1 priest per 100,000 Catholics in their diocese per year. You might be shocked by this number, but gone are the days in most dioceses where there are multiple priests at every parish.

Here are the 15 healthiest dioceses :
Vocation Drought
32 dioceses are experiencing a Vocation Drought , but what classifies them as being in this category?
  1. They have fewer than 1/2 of the diocesan active priests (not extern or retired priests) to take care of their parishes
  2. And/Or are ordaining few if any new priests each year.

Dioceses in a Vocation Drought:

Baker, OR
Belleville, IL
Crookston, MN
Dodge City, KS
Fairbanks, AK
Fort Worth, TX
Fresno, CA
Gallup, NM
Great Falls-Billings, MT
Green Bay, WI
Greensburg, PA
Honolulu, HI
Juneau, AK
Las Cruces, NM
Lubbock, TX
New Ulm, MN
Norwich, CT
Rapid City, SD
St. Cloud, MN
Salina, KS
Souix City, IA
Superior, WI
Toledo, OH
Wheeling-Charleston, WV
Winona-Rochester, MN
Maintaining: What do I mean when I say that 130 of the dioceses are just maintaining. They may have enough priests to cover their parishes, but are ordaining 1/2 of the new priests that they need to be healthy, or they may be ordaining enough men, but have so few active priests that they will need years of robust ordinations to reach the level of a healthy diocese.

PS: Next month, I will publish some of the latest numbers for consecrated life.
Priesthood Sunday- September 29
This is a perfect time for your parish to start planning how you are going to affirm your priest!

Step 1: Have your priest(s) fill out a Get to Know your Priest Questionnaire
Step 2: Based on your priest's answers to the questionnaire, design fun/meaningful ways for your parishioners to show your priest(s) they care! Click on the button at the bottom of this section to go to, Phase II, affirmation, for bulletin inserts, announcements for Mass, and all the ideas on Priesthood Sunday!

a. Spiritual Bouquets are always a hit.
b. Have the kids in religious education, at the parish school, or at the Masses to fill out a Dear Father letter/drawing
c. Coordinate a parish pot luck dinner to celebrate “Father’s Day”
d. Coordinate a coffee cake reception following Masses
e. Offer an essay, poster, or poetry contest on this or similar topic: “Why Fr. _____ is so amazing!”
f. Include the Priesthood Sunday banner in front of church
g. Include a biography of your priest in the bulletin

No matter how big or small your ministry is, you can find some way to make your priest feel special! Just do something!
Did you see this article?
What is the Secret Sauce in this Parish?
This article highlighted St. Mary's in Hudson, Ohio, which ordained 7 men in 7 years! What did they do to create a culture of vocations at their parish? Exactly what I say to do at my workshops and in my book: Intentionally pray for vocations and promote vocations to all!

For those of you who have been doing this, please keep going! Your work matters to the overall health of a diocese. If each parish sent 1 man every 3 years to the seminary, even if they did not get ordained, we would have more healthy dioceses for vocations. Click the button the below to read the entire article and get inspired!
Website Shop NOW Open!

  1. Visit the Vocation Shop for great gifts and items like Vocation Backpacks for a Boy or Girl and Children's Mass Kit to sign out at your family-heavy Masses! The Vocation Backpack would make great gifts for any child or grandchild!
  2. Many of you did not have the opportunity to buy my NEW Hundredfold Resource Book either, and now you can buy that and copies of Hundredfold at the shop!
  3. Watch a workshop for priests or parishioners from the comfort of your parish hall or your couch! You get a set of books with each purchase of a workshop, too.
Keep in Touch
Don’t forget to email me back with your stories of triumph or struggle. If you have questions, know that I am here to support you in this mission of Building a Culture of Vocations One Parish at a Time! Email me!
As always, know that you are in my prayers. If you think of it, please pray for me, too.
God bless you!
Rhonda Gruenewald
Vocation Ministry
Cell: 281-352-4005
St. Alphonsus Liguori, Pray For Us!
Vocation Ministry now has an Instagram Account @VocationMinistry.
A Facebook Group for YOU!
. This group is dedicated to the laypeople looking for support while promoting vocations to the priesthood, religious life, and marriage in a diocese or at a parish in a Vocation Ministry or Committee.