News & Insights

Since the '70s, the number of priests in the United States and Canada has dramatically decreased, while the number of Catholics has grown. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reports that in 1965, 549 U.S. parishes did not have a resident priest pastor. By 2010, that number had increased to 3,496. Nevertheless, a recent story from NPR highlights some good news for U.S. Catholics. “At U.S. Seminaries, A Rise In Millennials Answering God's Call” reports an increase in the number of younger men entering Catholic seminaries across the country. While the numbers in the NPR story do not suggest that the priest shortage will soon be over, they do describe the bucking of a trend.

For seminary leaders, keeping track of trends is critical. That's why In Trust has such love for dashboards and critical indicators. It's why we point to the data pouring out of the Association of Theological Schools. It's why we encourage new board members to dig into these numbers early in their tenure.

Leaders of Protestant schools might dismiss news of more priesthood candidates as inconsequential, but this news serves as a reminder for all seminary leaders that the trajectory of the past is not always an indicator of the future.

For years, seminaries have been watching their student bodies age. More married students. More second-career students. Fewer students stepping straight from college to seminary. If a generation of Catholics is suddenly looking for ways to engage in ministry, responding to a call, what might this tell us about broader trends?

It's a complicated question, because while the Catholic Church is in need of pastors, Protestants have too many. So what this story means — if anything — for the long term is unclear. Catholic leaders will certainly be asking this new group of students what it was that led them to seminary. What should non-Catholic leaders be asking?

Top Topics

Roles & Responsibilities



Board Essentials

Upcoming Events

The In Trust Center hosts learning community spaces throughout the year. Check out our upcoming events below.

Strategic Partnerhips


In this on-demand webinar, Rick Staisloff, senior partner of rpk GROUP, will discuss essential aspects of strategic partnerships. He will explore current trends, identify partners, navigate the due diligence process, and addresses common challenges. In addition to technical components of partnerships, he will also examine the intangible – yet critical – elements of partnerships, such as building trust and managing relationships.

Closing the Trust Gap


The current and very troubling condition of trust is a clarion call to action. But despite the dismal data showing pervasive organizational distrust, every organization can assess their current level of trust, learn and adopt a proven trust building framework, and then develop a meaningful and long-lasting plan of action. This webinar details the knowledge and practical next steps to strengthen workplace culture as a result of closing the trust gap.

In Trust Center Resource Grants


An In Trust Center Resource Grant offers member schools a chance to explore innovation at their institutions through a matching grant opportunity of up to $15,000. Listen to this 30-minute information session, including Q&A, as we provide details on eligibility requirements, funding priorities, application process. Previous grantees are eligible to apply as long as they are not within our current funding cycle.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?

In Trust Center provides Resource Consulting to our members at no charge. Contact us today and let us guide you to the most helpful resources for your situation.

Contact Us