All posts tagged: aspirants

In Catholic men’s religious orders, diversity brings new opportunities — and occasional friction

In Catholic men’s religious orders, diversity brings new opportunities — and occasional friction

(RNS) — Tuan Anh Nguyen’s journey to religious life began with a stint as a youth minister, a proposed bargain with God and a (possibly) divine sign in a video game. Though wagering a vocation on his mad video game skills is a little unusual, the data suggests Nguyen is increasingly typical of aspiring Catholic religious in other ways: ethnically diverse, educated and influenced by positive experiences in Catholic youth or campus ministry. This changing class of Generation Z and millennial aspirants like Nguyen is prompting religious communities — often anchored in decades if not centuries of tradition — to rethink what it means to mentor and walk alongside these young men as they discern their calling. The fact that those considering religious vocations are more diverse reflects changes in the U.S. Catholic population itself, according to the Rev. Thomas Gaunt, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. More than a quarter of U.S. Catholics are now foreign-born, he said, a change that has been gradually occurring since the 1970s. “We’re …