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An Easter Blessing: Madison experiences surge in men studying for priesthood

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Madison (WKOW) -- For the Catholic Diocese of Madison, a new wave of those studying for priesthood is an Easter blessing.

For the first time in forty years, more than thirty men are involved in seminary training. On top of that, six others are being ordained this June.

The bulk of these priesthood pupils are in their early to mid 20's, but a new and growing trend of older men are also working to join the fold.

Monsignor James Bartylla says these individuals are in their 50's. He says because they're a bit older, the Diocese takes a different approach with them.  Monsignor Bartylla says these individuals perceive the holy work as a second career.

"They've had a professional career and they've had a good income," said Monsignor Bartylla.

"That's why we have to be careful when they come into the seminary- these men have had careers, incomes health insurance, all these things we take for granted- we have to be ready for them," he added.

Monsignor Bartylla says about half a dozen of the 33 men are older in age.

He credits the work of the Madison Diocese along with Pope Francis and the other prior two holy leaders for the renewed interest in religious life.

To help offset the cost to train these new priests, including about 10 years of education, parishioners across Wisconsin pledged $28 Million last month.

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