Last year, my predecessor, Archbishop Harry Flynn, decided that for the next three years, a second collection would be taken up on or near the first weekend of October to support the educational and formational work of St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity on the campus of the University of St. Thomas.
We are greatly blessed in this archdiocese to have two seminaries that enjoy a fine reputation throughout our country.
The archdiocese begins this academic year with 64 priesthood candidates of its own. In addition, the total enrollment for St. Paul Seminary, our graduate formation program (with both seminarians and lay ministry students), is 141.
The total enrollment for St. John Vianney College Seminary, our college residence program, is 152 men strong. All in all, this represents the confidence of 34 dioceses from around the country in our two seminaries.
Archbishop Flynn is fond of saying, “As goes the seminary, so goes the priesthood; as goes the priesthood, so goes the church.” Clearly, without priests, there is no Eucharist. Without the Holy Eucharist, the church ceases to be what Jesus intended her to be.
Since becoming a member of the board of directors at St. Paul Seminary seven years ago, I have seen great improvements in the programming offered to our priests-to-be as well as for our dedicated lay ministry students. Having been the rector of such an institution, I believe I have a good sense of what is needed to make these programs successful.
St. Paul Seminary board of trustees
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt
Please support the collection for St. Paul Seminary on Oct. 4 and 5
By today’s costs, it takes $50,000 to educate one seminarian for an academic year. Each diocese pays half of this total, but it is left to St. Paul Seminary to come up with the remaining portion.
I personally believe that there is no greater need in our church today than encouraging and supporting young (and not-so-young) men who sense a call from God for lifetime service as a priest as well as young men and women who desire to serve the church in full-time ministry.
I ask every priest, deacon, religious and lay member of this archdiocese to contribute generously to this collection.
At the same time, I wish to point out that the weekend of Oct. 4 to 5 is also Right-to-Life Sunday.
What could be more powerful than having good and holy priests, as well as informed and educated lay ministers, to help us ensure the defense of the most vulnerable in society: the unborn, the aged and the infirmed.
By God’s providence, these two causes go together. I ask you to help me make sure that both are winners in their different, but equally important, spheres. Please give generously on Oct. 4 and 5.
God bless you! The Catholic Spirit