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Shlomo Lkhoolkhoon,

I suggested this very same idea a number of years ago. When the owner of Domino's was building his University, he was willing to develop such a seminary. What do others think?

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Among ...topic[s discussed was a] of common seminary system to all ecclesiastical jurisdictions was discussed. Most Rev. Nicholas Samra of the Melkite Church presented an overview of the formation and education system among the Eastern Catholic Churches in North America. �We have four seminaries in the USA. But in reality only two: St. Basil College Seminary and Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary are able to confirm academic degrees. Others are only houses of formation. It is a time to think about a common seminary system in all the Eastern Catholic jurisdictions� said Bishop Samra.

Poosh BaShlomo Lkhoolkhoon,
Yuhannon

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Many people have suggested this over the years. Indeed, that was a hope for Saint Basil's Seminary in Methuen, Massachusetts.

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I am all for it... I would even encourage the greater promotion of degrees for lay theologians, and possibly starting 1-semester or 1-year programs to get some Latin seminarians in there to spend a year or graduate work in an Eastern setting.

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Many people have suggested this over the years. Indeed, that was a hope for Saint Basil's Seminary in Methuen, Massachusetts.

Fr. Serge

Shlomo Abun Serge,

One of the things that would have to be done, is moving any such college from just one Church Tradition to one that can be used by all five major Eastern Traditions. Further, the governing board would have to be refective of such traditions.

I hope in the near future this will happen.

Poosh BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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I think this is a very good idea, and that the time to move forward with it has come. Every jurisdiction in North America should be involved, though it will take quite a bit of effort to see that each seminarian is trained in their own particular tradition (Armenian, Melkite, Ukrainian, etc). It seems we may yet witness something extraordinary in the life of the church in the US.

Michael

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Back in the late fifties, Saint Basil's was prepared to do precisely that - there was at least one Maronite on the faculty. Right now, there is a Coptic Catholic priest there. So something can certainly be worked out, I would think.

But we shall see.

Fr. Serge

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Originally Posted by Yuhannon
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Many people have suggested this over the years. Indeed, that was a hope for Saint Basil's Seminary in Methuen, Massachusetts.

Fr. Serge

Shlomo Abun Serge,

One of the things that would have to be done, is moving any such college from just one Church Tradition to one that can be used by all five major Eastern Traditions. Further, the governing board would have to be refective of such traditions.

I hope in the near future this will happen.

Poosh BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

The USCCB has a "joint" (East and West) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations directly responsible for vocations and priestly formation in the U.S. It is chaired by Cardinal O"Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, and Archbishop Basil Schott of the Ruthenians is a senior member, representing the Eastern Catholic Chruches.

It would not be misplaced if someone (from the Eastern Catholic Churches) would inquire if there is a move afoot to erect a "common seminary" for all the Eastern Catholic jurisdictions present in the U.S. or if there is an existing project already underway.

I think inquiries can be directed to:

Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Burns, Executive Director
Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017-1194
202-541-3033 (Tel)
202-541-3222 (Fax)
E-mail: vocations@usccb.org

At least, we are not groping in the dark.

Amado



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Some further thought:

a) What would become of the existing seminaries/houses of formation?

b) How many years of the seminary curriculum would be offered?

c) Would the "common seminary" provide for the education of: (i) laity, (ii) "permanent" diaconate candidates, (iii) married candidates for priestly ordination?

d) What would be the impact of the proposal on the efforts of the non-Byzantine Eastern Catholic Churches to nurture and transmit their unique spiritual traditions? Or on the individual Churches of the Byzantine tradition, each of whom also cherishes its unique spiritual/cultural/musical/liturgical heritage?

e) Would there be resistance to the proposal from the more traditionalist/nationalist elements of the various Churches of the Byzantine tradition?

f) Would there be resistance from those within the various Churches who have labored so diligently (although perhaps not always taking full advantage of the experience of other Churches) in the area of liturgical reform and renewal?

g) Would candidates for degrees/ordination who chose/were selected to study abroad (in the "Old Country") be disadvantaged because they had not experienced the "common" formation and so be less equipped to serve parishes in the U.S.?

h) Would the "common seminary" be seen as a "Trojan Horse" aimed either at "creeping Romanization" of the Eastern Churches, or at the creation of a single "ECCA" (Eastern Catholic Church in America) at least for the Byzantines?

i) Could some, if not all, of the objectives of the proposal be achieved more readily, and sooner, by a combination of: (i) more regular faculty exhanges and invitaitons to visiting speakers among Eastern Catholic institutions and also with Orthodox and other Eastern Christian institutions; (ii) clustering Eastern Catholic seminaries/colleges/houses of formation around a major degree-granting institution (as the UGC and Maronite seminaries are located near CUA in DC); (iii) encouraging and funding student exchanges among Eastern Catholic and Orthodox institutions?

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An additional option for the whole of North America is The Metropolitan Sheptytsky Institute and Holy Spirit Seminary.

http://www.ustpaul.ca/Sheptytsky/

Why not look at the only place in North America that offers Pontifical degrees in Eastern Christian Theology?

Gordo

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I think it sounds like a great idea. As for question D., Tim I don't think we have to worry that Yuhannon's idea would force a byzantinization of Oriental Catholics since Yuhannon himself is a maronite. I imagine that all the candidates there would still be trained in the tradition they belong to , such as having classes that are general education classes and then having classes that church specific.

I think a common seminary would really help because as it is right now all the various eastern churches are spread thin with resources, and freeing up resources by pooling them together towards a joint seminary formation would be helpful in providing eparchy's with more funds to spend on founding new parishes or other finacial costs.

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An additional thought or two:

One of the reasons the resources of the Eastern Catholic Churches may be spread so thin in the area of priestly formation seems to be the dearth of vocations. Do we have reliable numbers on the populations of our existing seminaries and houses of formation? On the numbers of seminarians who have completed their studies and been ordained over, say, the past twn years? How would a common seminary system improve the situation?

Perhaps we need to give more prayer and thought to the nature and extent of the priest shortage and the relative merits of the measures considered and implemented thus far for addressing the problem. I do not think we have found a magic bullet yet: Married priests? More "permanent" deacons? Imports from Europe and South America? More "outreach" to young men considering priesthood? More "Vocation Days"? How effective have these been in generating ordinations? Apart from consolidation of physical resources and staff, what added advantage would a common seminary system have in filling the needs of our Churches for priests?

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Based on the 2007 Annuario Pontificio (data as of end of 2006), these are the numbers of EC seminarians in the U.S. and Canada (and Mexico):

Armenians, 1
Syrians, 2
Maronites, 5 (4 in Mexico)
Chaldeans, 1
Syro-Malabars, 0
Melkites, 1 (3 in Mexico)
Ukrainians, 57 (!)
Ruthenians, 3
Romanians, 2
Slovaks, 1

Total: 73 in the U.S. and Canada and 7 in Mexico, or a total of 80 (or approximately 20 seminarians every year for the normal 4-year seminary education.

Enough for a "common seminary" for ALL Eastern Catholic Churches in North America?

Amado

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I have never had great confidence in the Annuario numbers, noting that some figures stay suspiciously stable from year to year. But accepting the 2007 numbers as, at least, indicative, some further questins arise:

1) How many of the Ukrainian seminarians are Europeans or South Americans who intend to return home after ordination or a relatively short period of service here?

2) Wouldn't the imbalance of Ukrainians to others tend to skew the "culture" of the seminary towards the majority group?

3) Are the Annuario figures for major seminary (post-university) study or do they include college seminarians?

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1. Does anyone know more about what was discussed on this topic at the meeting? A joint seminary for all the Eastern Catholic seminarians in the USA sounds like a great idea. Not only could the Eastern Catholic eparchies pool their resources this way, but the seminarians would also learn more about the traditions of their fellow Eastern Catholics. (Of course, I agree that it's imperative that, in addition to joint classes, the seminarians receive thorough training in their own tradition.)

2. Interestingly, the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of San Diego is about to open a new seminary to train its future priests. See http://www.kaldu.org/2008/03/Mar10_08E7.html . If there won't be a joint seminary for ALL the Eastern Catholic eparchies in the US, then wouldn't it be great if the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Chicago were to collaborate in creating this seminary, since Syro-Malabars and Chaldeans both stem from the tradition of the Church of the East? (Of course, this would be useful only once we get some seminarians! As far as I know, the Syro-Malabar eparchy is the only Eastern Catholic eparchy in the US to have NO seminarians. At the same time, according to http://www.cnewa.org/source-images/Roberson-eastcath-statistics/eastcatholic-stat07.pdf , we Syro-Malabars have the most seminarians worldwide of any Eastern Catholic Church!)

3. In response to Gordo, yes, I can highly recommend the Sheptytsky Institute in Ottawa. I'm doing my Bachelor of Theology in Eastern Christian Studies there right now. :-) (I don't have much to say about Holy Spirit Seminary, which trains seminarians from all the Ukrainian Catholic eparchies in Canada, since I'm not a seminarian myself.)


Peace,
Alex NvV

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3. In response to Gordo, yes, I can highly recommend the Sheptytsky Institute in Ottawa. I'm doing my Bachelor of Theology in Eastern Christian Studies there right now. :-) (I don't have much to say about Holy Spirit Seminary, which trains seminarians from all the Ukrainian Catholic eparchies in Canada, since I'm not a seminarian myself.)

In other words, the Sheptytsky Institute is not really a seminary, but just a part of the University of St. Paul like for example an "Institute of East European Studies". The student just takes courses there at the Institute but lives independently without spiritual formation. Anyone who is registered as a student in the University of St. Paul, who meets the requirmenets for the course can take it. The majority of their students are not Eastern Rite.


As you said above, Holy Ghost Seminary is the seminary for the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Canada.

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