Catholic seminary enrollment up
In his first months as rector of Theological College in Washington, Father Phillip J. Brown has been confronting a problem that the national diocesan seminary for the U.S. Catholic Church “has not had for a long time” — it is bursting at the seams.
Enrollment is maxed out for the 2011-12 academic year at 90 seminarians. Five of those seminarians are back in their dioceses this year gaining pastoral experience, but a Sulpician seminarian and five priests from other countries also live there, bringing the total number of residents to 91 plus faculty members.
“If I had to start with a problem, that’s the problem I’d like to have,” Father Brown told Catholic News Service. “It’s a very healthy sign, a positive sign for Theological College and for the U.S. priesthood.”
The trend of rising seminary enrollment is being duplicated around the country:
– At the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, 40 new seminarians arrived this year, bringing total enrollment to 186, the highest level since the 1970s.
– St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., welcomed 30 new graduate-level seminarians, making its class of 100 seminarians the largest since 1980. The influx forced 24 seminarians and two priests off campus into leased space at a former convent.
– In the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., where the St. Pius X diocesan seminary closed in 2004 because of declining enrollment, the number of seminarians has more than doubled from eight to 17 in the past two years. [more]