Fall 1964

Page 117

The Forum

Factors in Conversion Gerard P. Weber

There are 3,257,000 non-Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago of whom 6,505 were received into the Church last year. The numher of converts, fairly steady for the last five years, indicates that our record as a missionary Church is not very impressive. An analysis of the figures for 1961, when 6,544 converts were baptized, reveals some interesting facta. I. ¡Dividing the 1961 figure among the 2, 764 diocesan and religious priests working in the archdiocese at that time, we arrive at a figure of 2.4 converts per priest, just about the national average. Since most converts are instructed in parishes, and there are about 1700 priests in parish work, we find that the average parish priest instructs four converts per year.

2. Although Negroes make up only about 27 percent of the non-Catholics in the archdiocese, 45 percent of the converts (3,002) in 1961 were Negro. Of this number 1,518 were instructed and baptized in 10 parishes served by 32 priests. These 32 priests, 2 percent of the parish priests, averaged 48 converts each and accounted for 23 percent of the converts baptized in 1961. These figures do not imply that 98 percent of the priests in the archdiocese are not zealous or hard-working. All that they show 233