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Archdiocese ranks first among large U.S. dioceses in ‘active’ priests per capita

Despite ranking 42nd in population among United States' dioceses with at least 300,000 Catholics, the Archdiocese of St. Louis ranks first in one important area.

The archdiocese has the fewest Catholics per "active" (unretired) diocesan priest among large dioceses in the U.S, according to data compiled by the archdiocesan Department of Pastoral Planning. In other words, St. Louis has the most active diocesan priests per capita.

The archdiocese's rankings nationally were computed using 2016 data from the Kenedy Official Catholic Directory 2017.

St. Louis has 216 active diocesan priests for 514,178 Catholics, or 2,380 Catholics per active priest. The archdiocese also ranks second in terms of all diocesan priests — active or retired, totalling 330 — per capita, or 1,558 Catholics per priest.

In addition, the archdiocese ranks highly in ordinations over the past five years and in seminarians. The archdiocese has ordained 25 men to the priesthood over the past five years, just about one (0.97) per 100,000 Catholics to rank ninth among dioceses. It was ranked sixth last year.

With 49 seminarians, St. Louis ranks fifth in seminarians per 100,000 Catholics, with 9.53 seminarians per. That's up from seventh last year.

By comparison, 50 years ago, St. Louis ranked 20th in size and third in fewest Catholics per priest. About the same number of Catholics — 518,142 — were divided among 585 diocesan priests, which computes to 886 Catholics per priest. 

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