River City, the Third Saturday of May....[emphasis mine--ed.]
In a tradition stretching back to 1853 and the hands of the nation's lone bishop-saint, that could only mean one thing. And so, even amid an epic tide of trials and transformation, the "long black line" continued on here earlier today as, in his first turn at the rite, the Ninth Archbishop ordained six new priests.
The sextet are part a national ordinandi class that, all told, holds at just shy of 500 new priests for the nation's dioceses and religious orders for the year. While 2012's figure of 487 "potential ordinands" is roughly consistent with last year's, the number of new US priests has increased 21 percent since 2008, according to CARA figures.
As local numbers go, leading the pack among the dioceses are two usual suspects of recent years: Archbishop John Myers of Newark ordained 16 men today for New Jersey's 1.3 million-member lead fold, while Cardinal Francis George of Chicago priested 14 of his own last week...
All that said, it's worth noting that 2012's largest ordination group for an ecclesial circumscription on these shores belongs not to any time-honored outpost, but the new kid on the block. Thanks to the recent establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter and its unique circumstances, the nationwide entity comprising no more than a few thousand souls will welcome somewhere between 30 and 60 new priests over the remainder of this year as freshly-"Poped" Episcopal clergy are cleared for orders and commissioned following the new body's Vatican-approved program of rapid, mostly online formation conducted by Houston's St Mary's Seminary and University of St Thomas.
As previously noted, the Chair's first priestly ordination is slated to take place on June 3rd in South Carolina, with several others quickly to follow. Given the priest crunch in no shortage of US locales, the Ordinariate clerics -- most of them married -- are likely to take on secondary assignments or be sought out for coverage duty in the Latin-church dioceses where they reside. In exchange for the added manpower, at least several US bishops are pitching in to aid the priests and the Houston-based start-up alike by, among other things, providing health insurance and other benefits for their local Ordinariate clergy and their families.
Read the full post at Whispers in the Loggia.
Hat tip to Fr. Stephen Smuts.