NEWARK, N.J. – The Newark Archdiocese is set to have more priest ordinations this year than any other Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S., a ranking its officials attribute to aggressive recruiting.
Newark’s 17 priests to be ordained Saturday outpaced the Washington Archdiocese, which will have 12 ordinations.
"We’ve certainly had a very active recruiting program in which we go into Catholic high schools and colleges and speak about vocations," Monsignor Tom Nydegger, vice rector of Immaculate Conception, one of two seminaries within the Archdiocese, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Monday newspapers.
The men to be ordained in Newark on Saturday come from as far away as South Korea and as close as Jersey City. They are between 29 and 52 years old.
Kyung Lee, a 41-year-old South Korean native to be ordained, said he came to America and worked odd jobs before turning to the Catholic seminary after a retreat with a charismatic church. He was baptized at 27.
"I got a lot of things from God," Lee said. "I thought it was time to pay back to God… I was thinking, if I’m going to help other people, it’s an indirect payback to God."
The numbers should be looked at deeper than the surface. Newark has had large ordination numbers, going back to the days of Abp. McCarrick. But McCarrick’s numbers were soft: he could honestly say he was ordaining 22 men, but out of the 22, 15 were part of the Neo-Catechumenate movement, 3 were Salesians, and only 4 were actually studying for the Archdiocese of Newark. After 5 years, the Neo-Cats can be moved anywhere in the world (like the Salesians or any other religious order). Suddenly McCarrick’s numbers are not monumental, only mediocre.
It would be interesting to see how many, out of the 17 being ordained Saturday, studied for the Archdiocese of Newark? Anyone know?
From the announcement in the diocesan paper:
Mirroring the ethnic and national diversity of the Archdiocese, the new priests come not only from the United States, but also from Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, Italy, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and South Korea. Eight of the new priests attended Immaculate Conception Seminary on Seton Hall University�s South Orange campus. Five attended Redemptoris Mater, the missionary seminary of the Archdiocese in Kearny. Two attended seminaries in Rome, Italy. One attended Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston, MA, and one attended Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake, MI.
I don’t know if this gives any clues or not. Redemptoris Mater is the Neocatechumenate’s seminary, if I understand correctly, so the five men who studied there are presumably with the Neocatechumenate. Unless some of their people chose to study at the regular diocesan seminary at Seton Hall, I’d assume that the eight studying there will be regular diocesan priests for Newark.
This is just guessing, of course, but I thought it might be helpful.
I’m in Newark archdiocese — this makes me happy. Myers is a good bishop. The culture among the other priests in charge isn’t great, but it’s changing. I just wish they were more friendly to priests that wish to preach unashamedly about our Catholic tradition, including sin and redemption. The really orthodox seminarians actually have to hide such tendancies in the seminary, lest they get labeled “rigid” and are pushed out by the somewhat liberal vocations board.
I had hoped to see some convincing corrolary betweeen Abp. Myers (who had a decent track record with vocations in Peoria) transfer to Newark and this massive number (17) of ordinations, but alas it has only been five years since his appointment to that see and it seems all 17 men would have been in place to begin (or have already begun) studying for Neward before the appointment was announced. Unless some were already in the seminary and studying for other dioceses and only transferred to Newark AFTER His excellency was appointed.
I am curious to see how many the next year and how many the year after that.
New Jersey is a big state for Catholic homeschoolers….there are many groups and many fine kids. Hopefully this will foster more vocations !!
The Newark Diocese sure has come a long way since the days of Bishop Gerety. He was in Portland Maine prior to that, and absolutely desecrated our beloved Cathedral, literally taking a sledgehammer to our beautiful carved high altar, and putting “trailer park” laminate wood panels between all of our arches.
His theology was every bit as ugly.
Luckily, in 1999-2000, much that was lost was restored.
Although the seminarians might have already “been in place” before Meyers got there, it is a good sign that over the five years since he went there that they have stayed (assuming they are orthodox seminarians).
On the vocations question, I would be curious to see what each diocese retention rate is. My own diocese has had many seminarians but only about 1 or 2 a year (at best) actually end up being ordained.
FrJT, I can’t say for this year, but last year 12 men were ordained, many who grew out of the NeoCatechumenal Way, but all were ordained for the Archdiocese of Newark. I’m going to ordination on Saturday. I can give a report on the 17 after that.
I don’t know anything about his history, but former Abp Gerety preaches at our parish (Our Lady of Sorrows, South Orange) every now and then (once a year or so), and I’ve found him to be a freshingly good and direct homilist. He doesn’t re-interpret traditional teachings, or tell anecdotes, or try to make sure everyone leaves with a warm fuzzy feeling, but just preaches the Gospel. There’s nothing I’ve heard him say that would make me think he’s anything but a solid, orthodox, well-grounded priest.
From your comment, Chris, if I didn’t know him a little, I would have thought he was a Mahony or a Brown. My impression is that that’s probably unfair.
Folks– just came back from the Ordination Mass in Newark. Whatever the case may be, it was a beautiful Mass! 🙂
Regarding the numers ordained for Newark—MANY are from the Neo-Cat. Way, and therefore, nor tied to Newark beyond a couple of years. Also, many NEWARK men who were ordained under McCarrick, have left the priesthood. The number “17” really needs to be understood in a broader context. I don’t care if we ordain TWO, just let them be holy men! I wish the best for our Church of Newark and may God raise up selfless priests.
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