Priestly vocations are most likely to flourish among the homeschooled, according to a US study.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (Cara), a research institute at Georgetown University, found that young American men who had been homeschooled were four times more likely to enter seminaries than those educated in Catholic institutions.
Although the number of home-schooled American Catholics is small – just 100,000 are being homeschooled at the moment, compared to two million in Catholic schools – it was this minority which provided eight per cent of young men on course for ordination.
On average, they had spent seven years being homeschooled. Sixteen was the average age of discerning a vocation to the priesthood.
Fr JD Jaffe, director of vocations for the Diocese of Arlington, told Seton Magazine, a publication for Catholic homeschoolers, that his experience reflected the survey’s results.
In 2013, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore was quoted in the archdiocesan newspaper as saying: “There’s no greater feeder for the vocations than the home-schoolers.”