The Catholic Herald is reporting on the study, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) which is located at Georgetown University. Even though the number of home-schooled American Catholics is just 100,000 at the moment – compared to two million in Catholic schools – homeschools provided eight percent of the young men who are currently studying for the priesthood in the U.S.
The study found that, on average, these candidates spent seven years being homeschooled and said they were about 16 years old when they discerned their vocation.
In the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, where Father J. D. Jaffe serves as the director of vocations, the upswing in vocations from Catholic homeschool families is clearly visible.
“Homeschoolers have a disproportionately large participation in our discernment events in comparison to Catholic school and public school kids,” said Father J. D. Jaffe, director of vocations for the Diocese of Arlington to Seton Magazine. “The same increased numbers are seen in our seminarians where roughly 30% of them are from homeschooling households.”
Nikolai Brelinsky, who is currently enrolled at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said he believes homeschooling was helpful and a very important element in his discernment process.
“It certainly provided an atmosphere to consider it,” he told Seton Magazine. “In my personal opinion, homeschooling fosters the Catholic faith. Being homeschooled didn’t make me want to be a priest, but it did help me answer the calling through immersion of faith. Homeschooling goes hand in hand with the faith aspect.”
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