You know the problem and challenge of vocational discernment all too well – we’re experiencing a drastic decline with every passing year.

We’ve seen a drastic shift in the culture – away from instilling and living out the holistic values and virtues that promote a culture of life, family, and fatherhood.

Recent research validates a serious crisis among men and boys in our society who are struggling, given the deviation in our culture, today.

Some data:

  • Sacramental marriages, entrants into religious life, and ordinations to the priesthood are drastically declining. The number of entrants was down 13% in 2022 from 2021, and ordinations were down 11%.
  • Of those seeking ordination, 48% were discouraged by one or more persons, most often a family member or a friend/classmate.
  • Fewer priests means less opportunity for the young men whom Jesus is calling to witness and ponder the priesthood in everyday life.
  • Two-thirds of high school students in the top 10 percent of the class, ranked by G.P.A., are girls, while roughly two-thirds of the students at the lowest decile are boys.
  • One in three American men with only a high school diploma (10 million men) is now out of the labor force – the biggest drop in employment is among young men aged 25 to 34.
  • Boys are hindered much more by challenging environments than girls: Boys’ academic performance is more influenced by family background; boys raised by single parents have lower rates of college enrollment.

The approach for recruiting men to the priesthood, for decades, has presupposed a solid formation that has encouraged, nurtured, and supported the building of one’s character and the central, foundational value of a committed and lived faith. The necessary environments that would support men in their personal growth, to become men of honor, valor, and faith, have been lost.

There’s been a cultural shift with the …

  • breakdown of the family and fatherhood
  • loss of Catholic culture and identity in society
  • decrease in full and active participation in the Faith
  • recent wave of disaffiliation from organized religion
  • rise of suicide among young men who’ve lost a sense of purpose and meaning for their lives, and more


…and to have a different outcome,

new approaches are necessary.

This is not a quick fix. It’s a choice to intentionally embark upon a pathway to impact the culture. It’s a movement to turn the tide of detrimental, new realities – to lead men to a higher purpose and God’s calling for their lives.

A heavy lift, such as this, cannot be done alone.



The data provided is based on research findings from The Class of 2022: Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood, A Report to the Secretariat of Clergy; Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, April 2022 (available at usccb.org) and from The Crisis of Men and Boys, David Brooks, NY Times article, September 29, 2022 and the findings from Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It, a new publication by Richard V. Reeves, Brookings Institution Press, 2022.