We relentlessly hear about the vocations crisis and how no one is interested in becoming a priest anymore. However, reality does not always match with conventional wisdom: here in Washington, DC, a new seminary is opening!
Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl announced today that the Archdiocese of Washington will open a new seminary in August 2011 for men preparing to become priests. The seminary, for men in college and pre-theology studies, will be located near The Catholic University of America at 145 Taylor Street, NE, Washington, DC.
“At a time when the teachings of the Catholic faith seem counter-cultural, we are seeing an increased interest in the priesthood, particularly among younger men who want to be a part of a new evangelization in society. Until now, most of our new seminarians, especially those in college, have had to leave the area for their studies. Now, the men will begin their formation here and be an integral part of the local Catholic community from the beginning,” said Archbishop Wuerl.
Sixty-seven men are studying for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Washington, including 29 in college and pre-theology studies. In the 2001-02 academic year, 11 of 44 seminarians were in college or pre-theology programs.
Monsignor Robert Panke, archdiocesan director of priest vocations and formation for the archdiocese and president of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors, is overseeing the development of the new seminary. He calls it “a real boost” to vocations efforts and notes that the archdiocese has accepted 9 to 15 men into formation annually in recent years. He attributes the numbers to efforts to encourage young men in high school and college to consider the priesthood.
I know some of the young men discerning their call to the priesthood who would be going to this seminary and they are all fine disciples of our Lord. Please pray for them and for all men called to the priesthood that they might answer the Lord’s call with enthusiasm and faithfulness.