The following statement was released by the archdiocese Jan. 11.
As part of the ongoing process to combine their seminary systems begun three years ago, the Archdiocese of New York has decided to merge its program of priestly formation for college men—the Saint John Neumann House currently located at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers—with the one now in place at the Cathedral Seminary Residence in Douglaston, Queens. All college-age men preparing for the diocesan priesthood for the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre will be together. The new program will begin in August with approximately 100 men.
The college seminary program is designed for men who are completing their college undergraduate studies and pre-theology courses. They live together in community, concentrating on their spiritual, academic, human and pastoral formation, while receiving guidance and assistance in continued discernment and deepening of their vocations.
The newly formed program will benefit the three dioceses involved and the men who are part of the program. Joining with a larger group of men who are in the same decision-making process will provide opportunities for greater prayer, fraternity, support and friendship, which will be particularly helpful for those who continue on to the priesthood. The dioceses will benefit by sharing in running the college seminary, which will include providing financial and personnel resources.
Combining the seminary systems of the three dioceses has been discussed for several years by the bishops of the three dioceses and the seminary staffs. These discussions were validated by the Vatican following their recent visitation of seminaries in the United States, which suggested that given their close proximity the dioceses should combine their seminary systems, and recently encouraged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre have already been sharing a college seminary program. The Archdiocese of New York will discontinue its Saint John Neumann program, and the men who had been a part of the program will join the new program in August.
Conversations about bringing together the major seminary program, as well as how to more effectively provide ongoing formation for the priests of the three dioceses, continue in earnest, with more cooperation hoped for in the near future.