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Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Rumors Were True - the Archdiocese of St. Louis to Expand Seminary

More evidence that the "vocations crisis" may have more to do with an "orthodoxy crisis" than an actual shortage of vocations. The article below is from the St. Louis Review Online:

Archbishop Announces Seminary Expansion

by Barbara Watkins, Review Staff Writer

Mark Kempf
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has announced the start of a major renovation and expansion of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury.

The seminary has 111 seminarians, an almost 50 percent increase in enrollment over last year. While the growth is welcomed by the archbishop and Msgr. Ted Wojcicki, president-rector of the seminary, it also prompted the need for maintenance work, renovation and expansion of the physical plant.

Msgr. Wojcicki explained, "As a 78-year-old body has more aches and pains, so our 78-year-old building needs some significant infrastructure attention. Many priests ordained from our seminary will remember the loud clanging of the heating pipes; they are still clanging._Also the requirements of modern technology make much greater demands on our electrical system._It will be safer and helpful to our mission to be able to address these needs."

He continued, "Because we are blessed with more seminarians recently, we have need for more student rooms. Temporarily we have even placed rows of beds, barracks style, in the West Dorm; this approach assists with some of our vocations promotions activities but is not a long-term solution."

Msgr. Wojcicki, at the request of the archbishop, initiated a study of seminary facility needs by Mackey Mitchell Architects.

That results of that study include the following work planned for Kenrick-Glennon Seminary:

The building’s electrical system, heating and ventilation system and the plumbing system will be renovated, in that order. Archbishop Burke called these renovations "essential to the safety and health of the residents of and visitors to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary."

The West Dorm (currently a multi-purpose space) will be renovated, creating approximately 17 individual rooms for seminarians.

The former student rooms on Third Floor West, currently faculty offices, will be returned to residential use, providing 15 individual rooms for seminarians.

Plans will be finalized for a new addition to provide a library and faculty offices (with the present library converted into classrooms and faculty offices) and expansion of the dining room to accommodate the increase in residents and provide a public area for guests.

Once the library and faculty office addition is complete, the faculty offices on the Third Floor on the north side of the building will be relocated, thus regaining three priest residences, two visitors bedrooms/ studies and a small chapel.

St Joseph Chapel will be renovated. In a Dec. 15 letter to priests, Archbishop Burke said plans for the chapel renovation have been in development for some time. "The renovation aims at increasing the beauty of the chapel, in particular, the sanctuary, as the heart of the seminary, and attaining its capacity," the archbishop wrote.

The archbishop made the announcement detailing the study results and immediate plans to the seminary community Dec. 14. He then wrote to the priests in the archdiocese, notifying them of the information.

The study was undertaken to address what Archbishop Burke called "three essential and urgent needs" — the safety and health of seminary residents and visitors; appropriate accommodations for the growing number of seminarians; and hospitality to guests, who include "prospective seminarians, directors of offices of vocations, sponsoring bishops, and the priests and other faithful of the archdiocese."

Msgr. Wojcicki said, "These are changing times. When the seminary was built, it was more like a monastery, with few visitors; most staff was priests and religious. Now there are many visitors important to the mission of the seminary, including sponsoring bishops, vocations directors, parents, benefactors and alumni. Now with many lay staff and these welcome outside visitors who are essential to the mission of the seminary, there are many additional demands on the facilities, particularly office and meeting space."

Archbishop Burke said the study been carried out with attention to the archdiocese’s long tradition of seminary education and to the priestly formation requirements of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It was also done with respect for the architecture of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and for the appropriate boundaries between public areas, offices and residential spaces.

Msgr. Wojcicki explained, "In addressing our facilities needs to fulfill our mission, it is important that we make the best use of the existing space by renovating wherever possible, returning spaces to their originally intended use, and keeping separated office, residential, and public spaces." Msgr. Wojcicki praised the archbishop for his leadership in providing for the needs of the seminary.

In his letter to priests, Archbishop Burke wrote, "In addition to the finalization of the plans of the renovation of the seminary and new addition to it, planning of the funding of the needed maintenance and improvements is in process."

The archbishop thanked Msgr. Wojcicki for his efforts and thanked the faculty and seminarians for the sacrifices that would be necessary to carry out the work on the seminary. He said that these planned changes are part of a long-range study for the seminary developed by Mackey Mitchell Architects as a result of the study.

"These steps address only the essential and most critical needs. It is hoped that, over time, the total plan may be realized," the archbishop wrote in his letter to priests.

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