St. Joseph College Seminary to Close in June

Mary Chappell | The PhoenixThe seminary will close in June as a decreasing number of undergraduates are choosing to pursue the priesthood.

After 25 years in operation, St. Joseph College Seminary near Loyola will shut its doors following the 2018-19 school year, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Monday.

The closure reflects the changing demographic of those who choose to become priests, according the press release from the Archdiocese. Men are increasingly choosing to enter the seminary after they complete their undergraduate studies or gain work experience, the press release stated, adding the school was expecting a small incoming class size.

“With enrollment at 20 students, and the expectation of a small entering class, the need to steward archdiocese resources led to the closure decision,” the press release said.

Students who wish to continue their studies will be transferred to St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“There is sadness in ending our long-time relationship with Loyola University, which began at Niles Seminary in 1968 and continued on with St. Joseph College Seminary in 1994 to present,” St. Joseph’s rector-president Very Reverend Peter J. Snieg said in the press release. “A building is only truly a seminary when the seminarians are present to study, pray and engage the community. This will now take place at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Minnesota, so the mission continues – to help young men respond to God’s call to the priesthood.”

The press release also included a statement from Loyola president Jo Ann Rooney.

“Loyola University Chicago is proud to have been a part of the rich history of Niles College and Saint Joseph College Seminary,” Rooney said. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the Archdiocese through the Institute of Pastoral Studies in the formation of lay ministers and in support of the efforts of Renew My Church.”

Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies offers seven graduate degree programs for students interested in faith-based professions or learning, according to its website. Renew My Church is a strategic initiative by the Archdiocese of Chicago aimed at helping the church achieve sustainable growth, according the Renew My Church website.

The Phoenix was unable to reach President Rooney and the Saint Joseph College Seminary ahead of publication.

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