Archdiocese of Chicago to Close St. Joseph College Seminary of Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL (January 14, 2019) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today that it will close its undergraduate seminary, St. Joseph College Seminary of Loyola University Chicago, due to the changing demographics of candidates for the priesthood. The seminary will close in June 2019 and students wishing to continue in a college seminary will transfer to St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. St. Joseph currently enrolls 20 students, including 13 from the Archdiocese of Chicago, five from Milwaukee and two students from the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches in union with Rome.
“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,” said Very Reverend Peter J. Snieg, rector-president of St. Joseph College Seminary. “However, we know that God is generous and provides, even in changing times. 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.”
There is a trend toward men choosing to enter the seminary after completing their undergraduate studies and often after some work experience, thereby reducing the need for undergraduate seminaries such as St. Joseph. With enrollment at 20 students, and the expectation of a small entering class, the need to steward archdiocese resources led to the closure decision. By comparison, Mundelein Seminary, the graduate school of theology for the Archdiocese of Chicago, has experienced strong enrollment over the years.
“Loyola University Chicago is proud to have been a part of the rich history of Niles College and Saint Joseph College Seminary," said Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola University Chicago. "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.”
The Archbishop of Milwaukee and the Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church have been notified that their seminarians will also be welcomed at St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas for the coming fall semester. The future of the seminary building, which is adjacent to the Loyola University Chicago Lake Shore Campus, is undecided at this time.For more information about the archdiocese, visit www.archchicago.org.