Seminary Revival in Boston

Boston was the epicenter of the sexual abuse scandals that rocked the Church in the early part of this decade.

During the same period, the Archdiocese of Boston also wrestled with the contentious issue of church closings necessitated by diminishing numbers of Catholics in some parishes.

But there are unmistakable signs of renewal evident at the archdiocesan seminary in Brighton, Mass., as noted in this Dec. 14 The Boston Globe article, headlined “Stunning Turnaround for St. John’s Seminary.”

Enrollment at St. John’s Seminary has doubled over the last two years, courtesy of a determined effort by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston to rebuild attendance at the once-thriving seminary that was on the verge of closing its doors in the middle of this decade.

Reports the Globe, “The stone hall in Brighton, where two generations ago hundreds of young men prepared for the priesthood, is still strikingly quiet, but the pews of the Romanesque chapel are now about one-third full, as fresh-faced young men from around the world help to revive a 125-year-old institution that teetered on the brink of extinction just a few years ago.

“Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who resisted calls from priests to close the Catholic seminary when he arrived as archbishop of Boston five years ago, has made preserving St. John’s a top priority for his administration, and has cajoled bishops from New England and beyond to send young men to Boston to prepare for the priesthood. This fall there are 87 men studying theology at St. John’s, up from 42 two years ago.”

— Tom McFeely