I’ve been chatting about seminary studies in my past few ti morceaux. In the most recent I mentioned the important aspects of graduate-level seminary study.
Here in Louisiana, in New Orleans, we’re proud to have one of the biggest graduate schools of theology in the country: Notre Dame Seminary on Carrollton Avenue. I think that Archbishop Greg Aymond can be given a great deal of credit for the good job they’re doing: he once was the rector there, and clearly it’s the apple of his eye. He is doing his best not only to build up the enrollment of the seminary but more importantly to improve the quality of its courses and its formation program.
There are other seminaries, of course. The North American College in Rome is surely the most famous: it provides a house of priestly formation for seminarians from the USA who in turn study at the great Roman Universities. Our Diocese of Baton Rouge is also fortunate to have a few priests who studied at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, a very well-respected seminary run by Benedictine monks, and even a couple – including Bishop Muench! – who studied at the Theological College of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. One priest studied at Blessed Pope John XXIII Seminary near Boston. Other great ones exist all over. Sadly, my old seminary, The American College of Louvain in Belgium, closed as a seminary in 2010, although the Catholic University of Louvain there is still going strong, with over 40,000 students now in its various programs, which still include theology, philosophy and canon law. Bishop Shelton Fabre and I each look back on our time there as a treasured opportunity of learning and priestly formation. I suspect that’s a sentiment shared by most priests, wherever they studied.
You know, our diocesan presbyterate (that’s a fancy word meaning “community of priests”!) is a good one in part because of the varied backgrounds and indeed varied seminary educations that our priests have gotten over the years. Just as America is known as a “melting pot,” one in which various cultures mingle and benefit one another, so too our Church – even locally – is a similar success story. Hopefully by what’s been learned all over we enrich everyone’s faith all the more!