Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Milwaukee Seminary to Kind Of Close, Update 2

St Francis Major Seminary, while not exactly closing, will merge with Sacred Heart School of Theology. The college program wil no longer exist at the Sem, but the ordained Diaconate and "Priestly Formation" programs will be in the merged entity. Current faculty may or may not be hired by Sacred Heart. Lay formation programs will be migrated to other colleges (and perhaps Sacred Heart.)

The The Archdiocesan offices will relocate to the Seminary grounds/buildings, and the Minor Seminary will be sold or redeveloped.

This is eminently sensible.

As our Archbishop knows, the first and most important element in the Church is a holy priesthood, well-formed. For the last several years (and perhaps since 1960 or so) the Seminary has produced uneven results in formation and has had some well-documented failures of candidate-selection (diplomatic, eh?)

In addition, it is exceedingly difficult to find and assign professors to the Seminary; if they are priest-professors, they really can't have a full-time parish assignment; if they are laymen, it's likely that they will require more salary compensation than priests. In an Archdiocese which is not over-endowed with priests, this is a practical problem of some magnitude. Further, (and perhaps determinative) it has been more and more difficult to find thoroughly orthodox teachers of the Faith in the USA--and after all, there is competition for those individuals.

Related to this is the operating cost of the Seminary (outside of professorial compensation,) especially since it is not full-to-the-brim with men studying for the priesthood. One also must consider the amount of space devoted to Archdiocesan operations (the Puzzle Palace) next door; in reality, both complexes were under-occupied, but fully maintained.

Finally, the Archdiocese faces a continuing overall challenge on the financial front, and a looming, yet-to-be-determined settlement cost emanating from Los Angeles. Collections aren't great; the parochial schools and Archdiocesan high schools cost more every year--especially when the Archbishop seems determined to build a new HS in the West Bend/Kewaskum area.

Few seminarians, a difficulty in recruiting faculty, cost/pupil and overall Archdiocesan money-woes--it all added up.


Anonymous said...

"On April 5, 2006 Archbishop Dolan announced plans to strengthen and expand our Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and ministerial formation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee."


Dad29 said...

Well, "strengthen and expand" is what you make of it, eh?

I read the letter. It says that StF will sorta kinda merge with Sacred Heart. Some activity will remain at Henni Hall. Diaconate and Pastoral Formation (grad school for priests) only.

Peter said...

I was at the Archdiocese offices today. Nice complex. Are they going to move out of that place and into the St Francis Seminary?

The woman at the front desk said she thought the buildings they were in weren't that old. Maybe 1974.