When seminarians from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas gather for their annual group photo at the start of the school year on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 7, it will be the largest such gathering since 1980.
The seminary is welcoming 30 new graduate-level seminarians this fall, bringing the total number of men studying for the priesthood to 100. They come from 19 dioceses and institutes of consecrated life in the United States, Ghana, Uganda and Peru. Forty-three of the men are preparing to serve as priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Because of the high enrollment, 24 seminarians and two priests will live off campus this year in leased space at the Church of St. Mark convent at Dayton and Moore avenues in St. Paul. Seminarians will occupy the second and third floors; the parish will continue to use the first floor for its parish offices.
“This medium-term solution gives us the time we need to study enrollment trends and manage our enrollment levels,” said Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, rector of the seminary.
“Our strong enrollment reflects the growing number of men who are answering God’s call to the priesthood,” Callaghan said. “Their witness offers hope for the future of our Church.”
In addition to seminarians studying for the priesthood, another 74 lay people and members of religious communities are studying there for their master’s degrees in theology.
The seminary also is home to the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute, which enrolls this year 268 lay people in a two-year, nondegree faith formation program for Catholic adults.
In all, the seminary this year is serving 442 students in its degree and nondegree programs.
The University of St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus also includes the undergraduate St. John Vianney College Seminary, which this fall will enroll 135 men from 27 dioceses from around the country.
The traditional group photo of seminarians will be taken at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, on the seminary’s campus at the western end of St. Paul’s Summit Avenue. Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will celebrate Mass with the seminary community at 5 p.m. that day in St. Mary’s Chapel.