Number of Priestly Ordinations Increases in France in 2024

France will have 105 new priests in 2024. An increase of 20% on the previous year.

News Room(23/06/2024 18:00, Gaudium Press) The French Bishops’ Conference (CEF – Conférence des évêques de France) announced last Wednesday, June 19, that the country will have 105 new priests.

The announcement was made close to the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, which symbolizes the continuity of the apostolic mission in the Church and is traditionally the time for priestly ordinations in France.

The number of ordinands in 2024 represents a 20% increase on the previous year, when 88 priests were ordained. In fact, 2023 had the lowest number of ordinations of the last four years: in 2022 there were 122 new priests and in 2021 there were 130 ordinands.

The province of Marseille tops the list with the highest number of ordinands, with a total of 19 new priests, most notably the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, which will have 9 priests, followed by Paris, with 16. Other regions such as Besançon, Clermont, Reims and Tours will only have one new priest each. Priests will also be ordained in the overseas dioceses.

Of the new priests, 73 are diocesan, 35 are religious, 3 are members of societies of apostolic life and 4 are from Ecclesia Dei Institutes, which celebrate Mass according to the Tridentine rite. The Saint-Martin community continues to be the biggest supplier of new priests, with nine ordinations this year.

The profile of the 2024 ordinands is very varied. An example of this diversity is Jason Nioka, a former high-level judo player and current deacon of the Diocese of Paris, who will be ordained this year. He emphasizes the importance of having priests who are close to and happy with their vocation in order to inspire new vocations.

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Bertrand Lacombe, Archbishop of Auch, expressed his satisfaction with the increase, but stressed that the most important thing is the commitment of young people to their vocation. “We are happy to pass the 100 ordinations mark, but the most important thing is that young people commit themselves,” he said. Regarding the commitment of young people to the priestly vocation, Bishop Lacombe highlighted the difficulty encountered by bishops in attracting young people.

Despite the increase in priestly ordinations this year, the number of seminarians continues to fall. In fact, in 2020 there were 815 seminarians in France compared to 709 in 2022. The importance of prayer for new vocations was reiterated by both Bishop Lacombe and Jason Nioka. (FM)

Compiled by Florence MacDonald

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