The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“A heroic sense of calling” draws men to seminary

With so many seminaries all but empty, and so many dioceses struggling to find priests for their parishes, what is happening in Minnesota could well be considered a miracle:

St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul has increased its housing, its staff and what it demands of students. And the men keep coming.

The seminary’s enrollment is at an all-time high, with 154 men from 28 dioceses, making it the largest college seminary enrollment in the United States. It has more than doubled in size in the last six years. Students at college seminaries are typically in their late teens and early 20s, studying for a bachelor’s degree and gaining background in philosophy. This precedes a major seminary, which is where seminarians study theology and work toward ordination. Not all of those in major seminaries have attended a college seminary.


“There is a strong heroic sense of calling among these young men,” said Father William Baer, St. John Vianney’s rector since 1998. “They have a love for the church and the Catholic faith that strikes them as a mission, a battle, an adventure.”

There’s much more about the seminary and its future priests right here.

Photo: from Catholic News Service

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