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Evansville, Indiana
April 30, 1993     The Message
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April 30, 1993
 

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The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana More U.S. Catholics, fewe0000 priests and BY JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Catholic population grew by nearly a million last year, but the number of priests and nuns dropped several thousand, according to the 1993 Official Catholic Directory. Issued in April, the direc- tory recorded official data re- ported by all U.S. dioceses as of Jan. 1, 1993, Enrollments in Catholic schools and religious educa- tion programs again showed slight increases, giving fur- ther evidence of a slow rever- sal of the significant declines registered in the 1970s and 1980s. The new figures, compared with the previous year&apos;s data, showed: -- The total number of Catholics increased by more than 950,000, from 58,267,424 last year to 59,220,723 this year. There were nearly 1,400 fewer priests, down from 52,277 last year to 50,907 this year. -- The number of women religious dropped more than 5,300, from 99,337 to 94,022. -- The number of priestly ordinations dropped from 864 to 605, and the number of students reported in diocesan and religious seminaries com- bined dropped from 6,454 to 5,891. -- The total number of Catholic educational institu- tions dropped, but the num- ber of students enrolled in- creased slightly. Catholic college enrollment for 1993 was 660,787, up 1,632 from last year. There were about 636,000 students in Catholic high schools, a slight decrease from each of the past two years, but still above the 630,000 recorded in 1990. For the fourth straight year Catholic elementary school enrollment showed slight gains, going above 2 million again for the first time since 1987. Although the yearly ele- mentary school increases have been small -- they add up to a growth of 28,500 stu- dents or 1.4 percent over four years m the consistency sug- gests a significant reversal from the substantial drops in enrollment over the previous quarter- century. The total number of stu- dents in all Catholic educa- tional institutions, including I I Local figures on vocations startling By PAUL R. LEINGANG, Message editor By the year 2,000 the average age of the-priests of the Diocese of Evansville will be re- tirement age--if current conditions continue. That projection is taken from a statistical study by Justin Clements, diocesan director of development. The average age of the priests of the diocese is now 59, and it is increasing by one year every year--toward an average of 65 in the year 2,000. Although 65 is "retirement age," many priests of the diocese continue to work many more years. Currently listed among the active pastors, for example, are Msgr. Michael Wolf, 80; Father Francis Bauer, 79, and Father Francis Allega, 77. There are currently 114 diocesan priests. Of that number, 23 are retired. Eight priests are working outside of the diocese, leaving a total of 83 active diocesan priests. The average age of those 83 priests is 54.5--not much younger than the average of all priests. There are 73 parishes in the diocese. Some are staffed by Benedictine priests; three arishes are under the leadership of Pastoral Life Coordinators--two women religious and a eacon, In addition to parish work, diocesan priests also work at the chancery, in the tribuna]. in hospital ministry, and in a Clergy Assistance Pool. The number of active priests has dwindled significantly since 1970, when there were 118 diocesan priests working in the diocese--35 more than there are today, according to the 1969-70 diocesan yearbook. In 1980, there were 107 diocesan priests active in the diocese---24 more than today. But in 1990, the number had dropped to 86. While numbers decline, ages are rising. By the end of 1993, 36 priests will be 65 or older. (Twenty-three of the 36 are retired, while 13 continue to work "beyond retirement age."). By the end of 1993, only three priests [including Bernie Etienne who will be ordained in May) will be 35 or younger. Priests of several religious communities also serve the diocese. They include Bene- dictines, Sons of Divine Providence, and Vincentians. Twenty-four deacons are active in the diocese. There are 320 sisters working in the diocese, according to the 1993 "Yearbook of the Dio- cese of Evansville. There are two religious brothers. Religious communities currently serving the diocese include the Daughters of Charity, Benedictines, Franciscans, Ursulines, Little Sisters of the Poor, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Providence, the Little Company of Mary, Sisters for Christian Community andHoly Cross Brothers. Among the vocations "success stories" is the Benedictine Monastery Immaculate Con- ception at Ferdinand--where interest in joining the community has dramaticallly increased in the last several years. During an announcement of a multi-million dollar monastery renovation campaign in March, Benedictine Sister Kathrvn Huber, prioress, said, "Over the past three years, our list of contacts--women who are interested in learning more about our way of life--has grown from just 13 to over 100." The Sisters of St. Benedict at Ferdinand--with 251 members--are the third largest Benedictine community of women in the United States. Other communities with motherhouses within the diocese are the Poor Clares and the Daughters of Charity. I II I I colleges, was 3,312,591, an increase of 0.2 percent over the 3,305,831 reported in 1992. The number of high school students enrolled in parish religious education programs was just over 772,000, an in- crease of about 18,000 over last year and 36,000 over the low point of 736,000 that was hit in 1990. Religious education enroll- ment of 3.34 million at the el- ementary level was virtually identical with last year's fig- ure. The Official Catholic Direc- tory, which was first pub- lished 176 years ago, lists the names, addresses and phone numbers of the diocesan of- fices and agencies and of every Catholic parish, mis- sion, school, hospital, chap- laincy, religious order or other institution in every dio- cese in the United States. This year's directory, a vol- ume of more than 1,900 pages, was the first published by the Reed Reference Pub- lishing Co. of New Provi- dence, N.J. Last year Reed acquired P.J. Kenedy & Sons, which had published the directory 1912.  Reed kept the print on the made a number of It added telephon bers to the al of U.S. priests at the directory. In its dioceses and archdi and the various in each, it placed t mary statistics of cese at the be below the name a bishop, instead It also added graphical sections leges, hospitals care facilities, to who are not diocesan boundaries, The 1993 edition lished on newsprint,, ture from past publishing on a ity book stock. tor Jeanne Hanline was an "ecolo cision rather than nomic one, but it complaints from concerned about the long-term durability as 8 erence work. Where customers send their Open nightly til 9 p.m. heP OLD US 231 SOUTH - JASPER, IN - 482-2222 Gc--00 ,OYO00A Did You Know: 1-; OLDS CIERA is most trouble free car made in AmeriCa j.[ POSITION AVAILABLE CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Holy Family School, 950 E. Church Ave., 47546-3797. K-grade 8 elementary school Enrollment Faculty of 22 Support staff State of Indiana accreditation. : Starting Date: '93-'94 school year. 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