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August 20, 2015

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Significant Vocation Increase,
Will Launch "Called by Name" Program this Fall to Capitalize on Pope Francis' Visit

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia today announced a three-fold increase in its priestly vocations this year with 20 new seminarians enrolling in Saint Charles Seminary as compared to 2014. The increase is the largest in over ten years and capitalizes on the transformation now taking place at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. In addition to the new seminarians studying for Philadelphia, Saint Charles Seminary also grew its overall enrollment by 20% through increases in seminarians from partner diocese and new religious orders from 120 at the end of the school year to 145 this academic year.

"It is extraordinarily gratifying to see these young men choosing a life of service to Jesus Christ and the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia," said Most Reverend Timothy C. Senior, Rector of Saint Charles Seminary. "With the servant leadership example of Pope Francis and Archbishop Chaput, these young men are once again experiencing the freedom that comes from this choice over a society that is increasingly secular and experiencing the emptiness of a world without God."

The new seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia include an increasingly diverse mix of ethnic backgrounds including four Vietnamese seminarians in the theological seminary and many more college seminarians of Hispanic background.

Commenting on this phenomenon, Bishop Senior said, "Our church must continue to reflect the ethnic diversity of our world and especially our region. These new seminarians will make us even more sensitive to the spiritual needs of our parishioners."

"Called By Name" A New Grassroots Vocation Program Announced

In a related announcement, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office for Vocations also announced "Called by Name," a new vocation recruitment program to be launched this fall following Pope Francis' visit. "Called by Name" is a grassroots, parish-based program which introduces parishioners to the vocation discernment program and asks parishioners to bring forward the names of potential candidates for the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated religious life. The programs will be run in all Archdiocesan parishes on the weekends of November 1 and November 8 with names submitted starting on November 16. Follow-up discernment opportunities will include dinners, "Come and See" weekends for high school and post high school individuals. The program is supported by parish coordinators; bulletin announcements and ads; and homily talking points.

"Building on the visit and anticipated inspiration of Pope Francis' visit, Called by Name will educate parishioners about the qualities of a good priest and ask people to suggest the names of potential candidates," said Reverend Stephen Delacy, Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Vocations.

Founded in 1832, The Seminary has served as a leading institution in the formation of Catholic men for the Priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and dioceses throughout the country for over 180 years.


Editor's Note: For more information on Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary please visit For information about the Office for Vocations please visit

Kenneth A. Gavin
Director of Communications

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