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(Buffalo, NY) - Following an extensive review process, St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland — the first Roman Catholic seminary in the United States — has been selected by the Diocese of Buffalo for the academic and spiritual formation program for its seminarians, beginning in the fall of 2020.
"St. Mary's Seminary, operated by the Society of the Priests of St. Sulpice has a longstanding reputation for excellence in formation and academic programs," said Rev. Kevin G. Creagh, C.M., current president-rector of Christ the King Seminary. "Similar to Christ the King, we are confident that the four dimensions of priestly formation (spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral) are embedded in the St. Mary's Seminary culture and our seminarians will be formed as servant leaders for the Diocese of Buffalo."
In February, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buffalo, announced the decision to cease operations of Christ the King Seminary at the conclusion of the current academic year, as approved by its board of trustees. He also announced the formation of the Revisioning Ministerial Formation Steering Committee to develop recommendations for the continued formation of individuals seeking ordination to priestly ministry in the Diocese of Buffalo. A special subcommittee was subsequently formed to identify prospective institutions qualified to provide for the academic and spiritual formation of diocesan seminarians in accordance with the requirements to ensure intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally mature individuals suitable for priestly ministry.
The diocese currently has 15 seminarians in various stages of formation. Four diocesan seminarians, along with two seminarians of the Diocese of Ogdensburg and one seminarian of the Diocese of Syracuse, will remain at the Christ the King Seminary campus for the final year of their formation and academic studies. Father Creagh will serve as the director of the seminarians' fourth-year program, and Msgr. Richard Siepka will serve as the spiritual director along with another priest, yet to be appointed, who will serve as assistant formation director. The seminarians' final year of instruction toward facilitating an accredited academic degree will be provided by adjunct professors.
"St. Mary's Seminary and University is deeply honored to be chosen by the Diocese of Buffalo to continue the formation of its seminarians when Christ the King Seminary closes at the end of the current seminary year," said Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., president-rector of St. Mary's Seminary & University. "The Sulpician tradition of formation at St. Mary's will, we believe, be in continuity with the priestly ideals Christ the King has aspired to. The first Catholic Seminary in the United States, with a continuous 229-year history of priestly formation, St. Mary's is a natural choice for this responsibility. We are grateful for the confidence Buffalo's decision expresses in our formation program. We welcome Christ the King seminarians with an open heart and in the spirit of Jesus Christ."
The Diocese of Buffalo will be utilizing St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester, N.Y. for the theological preparation of its lay students and candidates for the diaconate program, headed by Deacon Tim Chriswell, director of permanent deacons. Deacon Chriswell will also oversee the lay formation program.