St. Patrick’s Seminary & University is welcoming five new professors and expects to admit as many as 15 new seminarians from six dioceses for the upcoming academic year, as new rector-president and vice chancellor Jesuit Father George Schultze reaches out to bishops in several Western states to encourage them to consider the Menlo Park seminary for priestly formation.
Father Schultze briefed Catholic San Francisco on these and other details of the seminary’s transition to new leadership and a new faculty mix following the departure of the Society of St. Sulpice, whose priests had served St. Patrick’s in administration and instruction since the seminary opened in 1891. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone named Father Schultze to lead the archdiocese-owned institution in February and his appointment was effective June 1.
The seminary has named five new professors from among 79 priests, religious and qualified lay academics who applied, Father Schultze said.
Father Schultze, formerly a longtime instructor and spiritual director at St. Patrick’s, described the importance of a pastoral approach that combines charity and truth.
“The idea of charity and truth – that’s what we’re about, and sometimes in the pastoral approach in people’s minds you focus on charity without ever having an explanation for what is true, what is right, what is beautiful,” he said. “The pastoral approach we have going forward is never devoid of reason, of an intellectual foundation as to why we believe in charity. That is how our faith is lived out in this world.
“We are at the point in our society … where we should be more vocal,” Father Schultze said. “We should share what we believe rather than simply conceding or retreating. Prudence requires courage. Prudence requires saying we know at times it’s hard for others to hear but we’re doing this out of love of charity and we’re going to do this in a peaceful, generous and good way as fruits of the Holy Spirit.”
He said the seminary stands for a consistent ethic of life and “we’re not looking for a pharisaical approach.”
“We hold to revelation and church doctrine; we recognize and support it,” Father Schultze said. “There are not going to be any attempts at political manipulation. It’s not an attempt to move people into one camp or another camp but to explain what the church teaches in its fullness.”
Father Schultze sees the seminary playing an increasingly active role in the pastoral life of the archdiocese and as a voice in the wider culture. Examples include the seminary’s participation in the Walk for Life West Coast and support for the lives of immigrants. Future efforts may include faculty publishing in academic journals in order that their teaching reaches a wider public.
The incoming 2017-18 class includes seminarians from San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Korea. Hawaii and Guam. Father Schultze said the new class will maintain St. Patrick’s enrollment at between 60 and 64 seminarians.
Developing sustainable enrollment has been a crucial challenge underlined in reports by the accrediting WASC Senior College and University Commission. St. Patrick’s needs 80 seminarians to meet current costs, according to a March 2016 WASC report.
Father Schultze said that based on the population of males of religious formation age in California, St. Patrick’s should be able to add another 15 seminarians. The added enrollment would pay operating costs from tuition alone rather than drawing on endowment income.
Full story at Catholic San Francisco.