An obvious feature of the graph below is the steep decline that has occurred from the high point in 1972 of 148 Corpus Christi seminarians (100 for Melbourne Archdiocese and 48 for rural Victoria and Tasmania) to a low point in 1996 of 21 students (including 12 for Melbourne). No doubt there are many explanations for this, not least smaller families and the inroads of secularism and materialism. Nor have divisions and controversies within the Church helped.
Yet despite these and other factors, the present graph also indicates an encouraging upturn.
Since 1996, the number of recruits for the Melbourne Archdiocese has increased significantly for the first time since the original decline set in – from 12 to 31 in 2002. And the number of inquiries continues to grow thanks to the efforts of the Catholic Vocations office (see opposite page), offering promise of further steady increases.
I haven’t been able to access the statistics on the Corpus Christi Seminary website referred to in this article, but current enrollment for Melbourne at the Seminary also stands at 31, with an intake of around 10 each year.
Just thought that was interesting.