In the Name of Jesus
Catholic Church in the United States faces a critical shortage of priests. According to CARA (Georgetown University affiliated Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate), in 2016, there were only 37,192 priests, comparing to 67.7 million parish-connected Catholics. Nevertheless, recent statistics might be holding some signs of renewal of trends. During the last 10 years, priestly ordinations began to slowly grow and, surprisingly, the share of the young (ages 25 to 34) newly ordained priests grew by 15% between 2006 and 2016, which means that those born since the early 1980s, i.e. Millennials, have something to do with it. This seems interesting, as according to Pew Research Center members of the Millennial generation “display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations”. Yet some of them hear the calling, despite the unpopularity of the priestly profession.
This photo essay looks into the everyday life of such Millennial young priest, his responsibilities, work with the community and challenges of this calling.
Reverend Sinisa Ubiparipovic is a Parochial Vicar at St. Paul Parish in Hingham, MA. Parishioners call him Father Sinisa. He was ordained in 2015 at the age of 28. He is an outgoing, energetic young man, who likes to travel, often tells jokes during Mass, used to sing in a Catholic student band, appears on CatholicTV and works with youth.
Ubiparipovic was born in Bosnia in 1987 to an Orthodox Serb father and a Catholic Croatian mother. His father died fighting in the Bosnian civil war. His mother moved with him and his brother to Germany and then to the US through a Catholic charity’s program. Prior to becoming a priest, Ubiparipovic went to Bentley University and double-majored in Accounting and Liberal studies.
I first saw Ubiparipovic saying Christmas Mass at St. Paul’s church in December 2015. During the Mass, he shared bits of his personal story and about finding his vocation. That got me thinking about Father Sinisa’s life choice, given that we were almost the same age and both members of the infamous Millennial generation.