Parish Background Behind Priestly Vocations: Pastors' Survey, 1998

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Catholic > Summary


Most vocation research focuses on individuals, not communities. While individual attitudes towards vocations are key, parish life itself may ultimately be as important in shaping vocations as individual attitudes or the influence of parents, mentors, or priests. The present study was designed to examine the effects of parish life on vocation. As such, it is more interested in the parishes that produce vocations than in the personal experiences and background of individuals. This study used a random sample survey to explore the effects of different forms of parish life on vocations.

There are two questionnaires archived here. A survey of pastors (this survey), and a survey of recently ordained priests (archived under the name NEWPRST). Both questionnaires were designed to help profile "multiple vocations parishes," or those that have produced three or more vocations in the past 20 years.

Data File
Cases: 1,012
Variables: 59
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: Winter and Spring of 1998.
Funded By
Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. and the Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Collection Procedures
Self-administered survey
Sampling Procedures
The sampling population consisted of all pastors of parishes in the United States: a universe of 18,254 pastors. The Official Catholic Directory (OCD) maintains names and addresses for all parishes in the United States. CARA used a random number generator to select one-fourth of all Latin Rite and Eastern Rite parishes, a total of 4,549. Some 124 surveys were returned as undeliverable by the post office, for a final sample size of 4,425. The 1,012 responses to the pastors' survey represent 23 percent of those sampled.
Principal Investigators
Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., Principal Investigator Bryan T. Froehle, Ph.D.
Related Publications
The Parish Background Behind Priestly Vocations: Findings from National Survey of Pastors and Recently Ordained Diocesan Priests. Bryan T. Froehle, Ph.D., Dominic J. Perri, M.A., and Patricia Wittberg, SC, Ph.D., June 1998, CARA.