By Liz Sullivan
Likening it to going away for college, the Diocese of San Jose has announced that beginning in the fall its seminarians will attend Mundelein Seminary (also known as the University of Saint Mary of the Lake) in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The Diocese had been sending seminarians to Saint Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park since the creation of the Diocese in 1981.
On June 3, the Diocese ordained two priests, Father Gabriel Lee and Father Khoa Vu. It was the first priestly ordination in the Diocese of San Jose since 2014. In the interim Bishop Patrick J. McGrath convened a special committee headed up by Monsignor J. Patrick Browne to look at the needs of the Diocese while also conducting a national search for the seminary that would best address those needs.
In February of this year, the Bishop, with the recommendations from the committee, made the decision to send the eight seminarians to Mundelein, 57 miles northwest of Chicago. It was originally founded in 1844; reopened in 1921, the seminary serves 46 dioceses from eight different countries. The seminary is named in part for Cardinal George Mundelein, who led the Archdiocese from 1916-1939.
Cardinal Mundelein did succeed in establishing a place with world-class expertise in theology, liturgy and pastoral formation with past rectors including now-Bishop Robert Barron and current professors like Dr. Scott Hahn.
When asked his thoughts about Mundelein Seminary as the San Jose Vocations Director, Father Joe Kim said, “Mundelein is the stable environment in which our future priests will be able to mature in their vocation.” Commenting on the distance from San Jose, Father Kim said, “It is a bit like going away for college and gaining a new perspective when you come home.”
Bishop McGrath has asked Father Kim to find creative ways to make sure the seminarians are connected to the diocese. The seminarians will spend their summer months in parishes in San Jose. Father Kim is also visiting parishes and schools this year to ask the people of the diocese to pray for the seminarians. Cecilia Kohlrust, of the Diocese of San Jose vocations office, is working to establish online ways of connecting youth with the seminarians through Facebook posts and Skype chats. The Knights of Columbus have risen to the occasion by sponsoring winter coats.
In addition, the seminarians will stay connected with the Diocese with the playing of the annual Revs. vs. Sems basketball game, which will move to May (from February) to accommodate the seminarians’ schedule.
Father Kim said, “Our seminarians are looking forward to making new friends and staying in touch with their friends and family here, so let’s do all we can to support each of them.”
For more biographies and ways to support our seminarians please visit, www.dsj.org/vocations/vocations-office/meet-our-seminarians or email firstname.lastname@example.org.