Numbers rise in local Toronto seminaries

  • April 15, 2009
{mosimage}TORONTO - There are more than 400,000 priests in the world, and that number has been slowly rising since 2000, according to the Vatican yearbook Annuario Pontificio. But do such big numbers relieve the anxiety of Catholics in North America and Europe who see an aging and dwindling priesthood manning the altars?
With more than 100 men in Toronto currently studying for the priesthood, perhaps local Catholics have become too used to gloomy forecasts.
There are 53 seminarians in residence at St. Augustine’s Seminary, including eight currently on pastoral assignments and getting close to ordination.
The Redemptoris Mater Seminary run by the Neocatechumenal Way largely on  the same premises as St. Augustine’s has 16 men in studies, two on Canadian pastoral assignments, one on assignment in Israel and another in Bolivia for a total of 20.
The Jesuits of English Canada have another 11 men in various stages of priestly formation. The normal course of formation for a Jesuit takes 13 years, including two years in the novitiate before first vows, followed by two years of philosophy, three years of regency — a  period of ministry usually centred on teaching — and four years of studies in theology. 
In Toronto the Jesuit-run Regis College is accredited by the Sacred Congregation for Education and offers licentiate degrees recognized by Rome. The college attracts students from around the world, including 13 Jesuits from other provinces currently studying theology in Toronto.
In addition to the Jesuits, Regis College has 17 non-Jesuits studying theology, looking forward to ordination — all of them members of other religious orders.
There are another 20 members of various religious orders studying for priesthood at the University of St. Michael’s College’s faculty of theology.
The grand total, 119 potential priests.

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