The following comes from an October 15 story in the Oakland diocese paper, the Catholic Voice.
More than four decades after moving to Berkeley to join the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of religious schools, the Franciscan School of Theology will be returning to its roots in Southern California.
FST will form an affiliation with the University of San Diego — an arrangement both schools describe as mutually beneficial — and relocate to the grounds of Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. The mission, run by the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, is about 35 miles north of the USD campus….
The GTU is an interreligious graduate school consortium of until now nine schools and about a dozen multifaith centers, the largest partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States offering advanced degrees in theology and religious studies.
The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University are the remaining Catholic institutions….
Despite having the distinction of being the only freestanding Franciscan graduate-level school of theology in the English-speaking world, FST, like other theological programs has had its share of challenges because of the economy and other factors. “Theological schools everywhere have been on the decline,” Father Chinnici said, citing among other things the increasing costs of technology.
Size also matters. “We are a small school,” Father Chinnici said of the 4,400 students enrolled at FST. The University of San Diego, chartered in 1949, enrolls approximately 8,300 undergraduate and graduate full-time equivalency students.
USD also has a good background in nonprofit management and peace and justice work, the priest added. “The university is known for its service to community in San Diego….”
While the theology school is moving the Franciscan friars who serve in the Oakland Diocese are not. The friars and the Oakland Diocese have had a long and amiable relationship that goes back to founding bishop, Floyd L. Begin, noted Father Chinnici.
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