What do you share with our nation’s newest priests?

We’ve taken some anecdotal and statistical information from the Ordination Class of 2015 report to see what else you have in common — besides the faith — with the nation’s newest priests.

  • Pope Francis celebrates the ordination Mass for 19 new priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 26. In his homily, the pope told the new priests to make sure their homilies were not boring. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
    Pope Francis celebrates the ordination Mass for 19 new priests in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 26. In his homily, the pope told the new priests to make sure their homilies were not boring. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

    Do you have family members who have pursued the same thing?
    Fr. Noah Morey from Arlington has two siblings in religious life: a brother who is a Benedictine and a sister who is a Carmelite.
    Holy Cross Father Christopher Rehagen, who spent his novitiate year at St. John Vianney in Goodyear, has a younger brother in the seminary. He credits support from family, friends and “the blessing of Catholic school education.” (Half of the newest class of Holy Cross priests made a Phoenix pit stop during formation)
    Fr. David Miloscia from St. Louis has two younger brothers who are also in the seminary. One was ordained a transitional deacon last month, just a week before his priesthood ordination.

  • Do you have a family secret?
    Fr. Jason Simas from Monterey didn’t know that he was a baptized Catholic until he entered RCIA at age 26. That’s when he said his parents dug out his infant baptismal certificate.
  • Are you a widower or know one?
    Some widowers live alone until their death. Others re-marry. Four of them are giving the remaining years of their life wholly to the Church.
    Fr. James Grogan from Trenton has three young adult sons.
    Fr. A. Gerard Jordan with the Canons Regular of Prémontré has two adult children. He “retired” at age 37 from a 20-year business career to enter the seminary.
    Fr. Dennis Saran from Milwuakee spent 25 years as a pediatrician and an unknown period as a husband. His wife died in 2009 and he entered the seminary.
    Fr. Jim Cardosi, a father of five in Philadelphia, wrote this:
    “I was married to a wonderful woman I met at the Naval Academy. God blessed us with five beautiful children and a great life in the Navy.  My wife was called home to the Lord in 2008 and then called me to the seminary in 2011. Thanks be to God!”
  • Have you ever applied for a patent?
    Here is what Fr. Casey Coleman in Charlotte had to say: “I was a collegiate wrestler, and as an engineer I hold three US Patents in fiber optic technologies.”
  • Have you traveled much of the U.S.? How many countries have you checked off?
    Fr. Matthew Fish from Washington, a former high school English Literature teacher, said he loves driving around the country and exploring its natural beauty. He has visited 46 states so far.
  • Have you coached for or played on an athletic team that influenced the person you would become?
    Fr. Joshua Laws from Baltimore played and coached rugby for over eight years. He said he largely attributes his “conviction in saying yes to this vocation to the great witness of community and other-mindedness that I experienced in the rugby teams that I was a part of.”

And these two were just too interesting to pass up:

  • “I was a West Point Cadet from 2001-2003. I performed stand-up comedy while in theology studies for two years to prep myself for engaging preaching. I even had a spot on TV doing standup. I’m a songwriter, and I am currently working on a musical about a seminary.”
    Fr. Erik Lenhart, OFM Cap.
    Capuchin Franciscans – St. Mary Province
  • “I am deaf and from India, where universities and seminaries do not have sign language interpreters. American sign language interpreters in the universities and seminaries helped me to become a priest – God bless America.”
    Br. Joseph Thermadom, OP Miss.
    Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate

Here’s the full Class of 2015 ordinand report. If you’re looking for more data on this year’s newly ordained, check the Aleteia network‘s statistical highlights under the headline “Over 100 more priests to be ordained this year than last.”

There are 595 potential ordinands to the priesthood this year reported to CARA by theologates, houses of formation, arch/dioceses, and religious institutes. Of the 411 who responded to the survey, 317 ordinands are for 120 different dioceses and archdioceses and 94 ordinands are to the religious priesthood.