Priestly Ordinations. Photo: Cathopic

England and Wales: The State of Priestly Vocations in 2022

In 2021 there were 21 priestly Ordinations in the 22 dioceses of England and Wales.

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Elizabeth Owens

(ZENIT News / London, 03.12.2022).- The National Office of Vocations of England and Wales published data regarding priestly Ordinations in both countries: there has been a decrease for a third year. 

In 2021 there were 21 priestly Ordinations in the 22 dioceses of England and Wales, including the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Those 21 Ordinations contrast with those of the three previous years. 

2018: 35 Ordinations

2019 32 Ordinations

2020: 27 Ordinations

However, 2021 was not the year in which there were fewer Ordinations. The lowest number of Ordinations was in 2008 — only 15. In 2001 the extreme opposite was the case, when Ordinations reached a maximum of 44. The forecast for 2022 is that Ordinations will reach 26 to fall again in 2023 to 20. 

However, the Ordinations by dioceses show that there are very different situations of crisis. In 2021 the dioceses with more Ordinations were:

  • Westminster (north London): four Ordinations
  • Shrewsbury: three Ordinations
  • The Archdiocese of Southwark: two Ordinations
  • Portsmouth: two Ordinations (although a plan estimated that in 20 years priests would decrease by 63%)

Nine dioceses had no Ordinations in 2021. On this list are important dioceses such as Liverpool, Cardiff and Birmingham.

In 2021 there was a total of 18 new admissions to the Seminaries; in 2020 there were 30. In regard to vocational admissions, the dioceses reflect very different situations: Salford had three of the new 18 admissions, followed by Westminster. Nine dioceses had no admissions. 

In the diocesan Seminaries in England and Wales there is a total of 121 seminarians.  In 2020 there were 142. The average age of admission to Seminary is 36.2 years. Added to the 121 seminarians are 26 Religious (12 men and 14 women). 

Some 3.8 million people declare themselves Catholics in England and Wales. The most recent census shows that, in general, Christians are decreasing and Muslims and non-believes are increasing.

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