Catholic Church sees rise in priests and novices
The Catholic Church saw a rise in entry to religious orders in England and Wales in 2012.
It is the third consecutive year to see an increase in the men and women entering religious orders. There were 29 in 2010 rising to 36 in 2011 and 53 in 2012.
"In recent years, some orders have reorganised their approach to vocations," commented Sr Cathy Jones, Religious Life Promoter at the National Office for Vocation.
"They now offer people opportunities to discover their vocation with more stepping stones along the way. Younger people find this approach particularly helpful."
Last year also saw the highest number of ordinations to the diocesan priesthood in nearly ten years, with 31 priests ordained for the dioceses of England and Wales.
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The Catholic Church expects the trend to continue this year. The Archdiocese of Southwark is expecting the ordination of five new priests in the summer, three in their twenties and one from an ethnic minority.
Birmingham is expecting six ordinations to the priesthood this year, compared to three last year.
Fr Paul Moss, the Vocations Director in Birmingham commented: "I'm very pleased with the increase in ordinations and those who are expressing an interest in serious discernment. A priestly vocation is never manufactured but always an answer to prayer."