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March 7, 2013


Plan allows for a more vibrant program of priestly formation to meet the needs of seminarians as well the people they will one day serve as priests in Philadelphia and throughout the country

Today, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. announced a plan focused on the future viability and sustainability of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. It will bring a renewed sense of energy to the Seminary, its program of priestly formation, its program of permanent diaconate formation and educational opportunities it offers for the general public through the Graduate School of Theology.

As part of the plan, the Seminary will consolidate facilities, seek to lease or sell underutilized buildings and property, and implement new spiritual and academic programming for seminarians and lay students. While the Seminary may look different in the future, the Archbishop has affirmed his commitment to the vital importance of maintaining a Seminary for the Archdiocese and keeping it at its current location in Lower Merion Township.

"Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is the heart of our Church in Philadelphia, and we remain dedicated to not only maintaining its presence in our community, but strengthening it for many generations to come. Our commitment to providing the best possible program of priestly formation for the benefit of our seminarians and the people they will one day serve is unwavering," said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. "The plan being announced today will ensure the future viability and sustainability of our Seminary now and in the future."

The plan calls for the Seminary, which currently occupies more than 75 acres of land and 19 buildings, to consolidate its entire operation. The College Division program, which is currently on the lower portion of the campus, will move into vacant space within the Theology Division buildings on the upper side of the campus over the next three to five years as necessary renovations are completed.

As a result of this consolidation, the Seminary will retain 30 acres of land as well as sufficient space for classrooms, dormitories and offices. It will be positioned for future growth to support up to 200 seminarians, all candidates discerning vocations to the permanent diaconate and hundreds of full and part-time students enrolled in the Graduate School of Theology, which offers graduate degrees and catechetical certificate programs for clergy and the laity.

A committee of the Seminary's Board of Trustees led a critical review of the buildings and land currently comprising the College Division, which have been underutilized for some time. There are no specific plans for the College Division buildings at this time. The Board of Trustees will work closely with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Lower Merion Township and the community to develop a comprehensive strategy to re-purpose that portion of the campus with the goal of sustaining and supporting the Seminary well into the future.

Before renovations to the Theology Division buildings commence, a task force has been appointed to review the programs offered within the College Division. Its members will provide recommendations by the end of June. The Seminary seeks to implement changes and enhancements to the programs in that area for the 2014-2015 academic year.

"Our Seminary has served as a leading institution in the formation of Catholic men for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and dioceses across the country for over 180 years," said Bishop Timothy Senior, Rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. "While the Seminary evolves and takes on a slightly different look in the coming years, our four pillars of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral growth will remain strong. We will be better poised than ever to prepare men to become servant leaders who proclaim the Gospel."

As an additional part of the plan, the Seminary's Board of Trustees has also approved the development of a Spirituality Year Program to commence in academic year 2014-2015. This new program will be situated in the Theology Division building. It will allow seminarians to dedicate a full year to discernment of their priestly vocation and to be fully engaged during that time in the spiritual and human dimensions of the formation process.

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Editor's Note: For more information on Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary please visit

Kenneth A. Gavin
Director of Communications

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