|Fr. Howard Gray, S.J.|
The New York Times reported that the number of Jesuits has fallen by 70 percent since 1954 and that several Jesuit colleges have been forced to confront the real possibility that the order might soon disappear from their campuses. The Jesuits, formally known as The Society of Jesus in the United States, have been an integral part of the Georgetown community since the school's founding by Archbishop John Carroll, S.J. Dedicated to learning, service and faith, they play active roles in the educational, religious and social facets of the university. But even Georgetown's highly visible and involved Jesuit community has been impacted by the recent downward trend in the number of new priests joining religious orders. Georgetown's Jesuit community has seen an almost 50 percent decline in members in the past 36 years, dropping from 122 in 1975 to 64 today, according to The Washington Post.
Fr. Howard Gray, S.J., special assistant to President John J. DeGioia, entered the Society of Jesus in 1948 following his high school graduation. For him, the decline in the number of new members is very visible in the community. "There were about 10 to 12 of us that entered the Jesuits out of high school," he said. "Times have changed now."
He added that this dip in numbers poses several challenges for the future of the order. "When you have a decreased population you count on and that population is aging, that affects your mobility and flexibility," he said.
Link (here) to read the full article in The Hoya.