Ordinations to the priesthood in Spain have soared by 24 percent in the last year.
In 2018, a total of 135 men were ordained priests compared to 109 in 2017, according to statistics released March 12 by the Spanish bishops’ conference.
The Archdiocese of Madrid recorded the highest number of ordinations, with 14. The Diocese of Valencia recorded 10 ordinations, followed by eight in the Diocese of Toledo, seven each in the dioceses of Seville and Alcala de Henares and six each in the Cartagena and Zaragoza dioceses.
In addition, fewer seminarians dropped out of classes during the last year — 123 compared with 152 the previous year — but there has been an overall decrease in the number of men entering seminaries in the same period, down from 1,263 to 1,203.
Father Julio Gomez, a priest who runs four parishes in the Diocese of Palencia, said the rise in ordinations was accidental rather than the result of a deliberate policy.
“I think it’s a casual growth, as there is no a national vocational strategy in the church in Spain, which could explain these growing numbers,” he said in an email to Catholic News Service.
But he said it was significant that nearly half of the seminarians came from just 15 of the 70 dioceses in the country.
There are seven dioceses and seven seminaries in Spain that “stand out in a clear way from the rest,” he said.