LATROBE, PENNSYLVANIA — At the Saint Vincent Seminary Alumni and Planned Giving Associates Banquet on October 3, Board of Regents Chairman John C. Marous, Jr. announced the launching of a $6.1 million capital campaign to meet several needs resulting from years of enrollment growth and program enhancement. The campaign can be divided into four components: construction, program development, student financial assistance and the library.
The first goal of the campaign is to prepare the Seminary infrastructure to meet the needs of a decade of increasing enrollment and to allow for technological advancements in its classroom buildings. Thus, a $3,650,000 construction goal will include $1,970,000 for renovation of one dormitory hall and the construction costs of a new housing wing.
“We completed the construction of 22 additional rooms for housing in the fall of 1997,” said Saint Vincent Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., Seminary Chancellor. “But they were quickly filled with new students as a result of steady growth in our Seminary enrollment.”
In order to meet the additional housing needs caused by continued growth, the recently-approved Saint Vincent Master Plan 2000 calls for the renovation of Leander Hall, where most of the diocesan seminarians reside, and the construction of a new housing wing. When completed, the facilities will provide an additional 25 dormitory rooms – enough to accommodate the projected enrollment levels.
The Master Plan also calls for the establishment of a Seminary Fitness Center and reading room to provide for the physical needs of the seminarians along with their spiritual and academic formation.
Included in the construction component is $960,000 for structural improvements and implementation of technological enhancements to the seminary classroom building, including a new Center for Homiletics. “One of the greatest needs in the Church today is effective preaching of the Word of God,” said Board of Regents Chairman John C. Marous, Jr. “To meet this need, Saint Vincent Seminary will establish a Center for Homiletics.”
Mr. Marous noted that Seminary classes are taught in Aquinas Hall, which was constructed in 1953. “The building will undergo structural renovation to accommodate state of the art technology in all classrooms, and to establish a center for specialized instruction in homiletics. These advancements in technology will allow Saint Vincent Seminary to prepare priests with the tools and experience to be effective preachers and teachers of the Word of God,” Mr. Marous said.
The final part of the construction phase of the campaign, $720,000 for completion of the spires and the addition of bells to the Saint Vincent Basilica, has already been completed and the funding pledged by Saint Vincent Archabbey donors.
The campaign’s second goal, $1,000,000 for program development, will focus on the Seminary’s Hispanic Ministries program.
“Saint Vincent will establish a comprehensive Hispanic Ministries curriculum, including an immersion experience in the culture and language,” said Rev. Kurt J. Belsole, O.S.B., Interim Rector. “Due to the increased enrollment of seminarians who will serve in dioceses with large Hispanic populations, we are expanding our curriculum and programs to meet the needs of these dioceses.”
Fr. Kurt noted that demographics among the Catholic population in the United States are undergoing a radical shift. Already, Hispanics account for 36 percent of the Catholics in the United States, according to statistics provided by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. By 2020, the number will rise to 50 percent.
“While this change will eventually affect all of the seminarians attending Saint Vincent, it is already a factor in many of the dioceses we serve,” Fr. Kurt said. “This immersion experience will provide our seminarians with the tools and credibility to effectively serve this important need in the Church.”
In the third focus of the campaign, the seminary will seek to raise $1,000,000 for scholarship assistance, to cover the costs of seminary education for students from dioceses and religious communities without the capacity to pay.
“In recent years, requests for admittance of seminarians with demonstrated financial need have shown a marked increase,” said William P. Malloy, Director of Development for Saint Vincent Seminary. “A number of dioceses and religious communities within the United States and around the world have the blessing of priesthood candidates, but do not have the ability to pay for their education. Saint Vincent Seminary has received requests for financial assistance from bishops in developing countries to educate and provide living expenses for their seminarians. As young men exhibit the courage and faith to accept m the call to the priesthood, we must educate and prepare them.”
Mr. Malloy noted that in order to meet this compelling need, Saint Vincent Seminary is committed to raising sufficient scholarship funds to ensure the availability of financial aid for seminary students from domestic and foreign dioceses and from religious communities that lack sufficient resources to educate their young men for the priesthood.
The fourth component of the new campaign will seek to raise $500,000 for the library, including $200,000 for preservation of the historical collection of theological books and writings, $200,000 for the purchase of theological works important to the education of seminarians, and $100,000 for the implementation of Internet access to resources at the best scriptural and theological research centers throughout the world.
“Saint Vincent Seminary is now the eighth largest Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States,” Mr. Marous noted in his kickoff announcement. “The successful completion of this campaign should help position Saint Vincent Seminary for future growth and enable it to continue to serve the Church for many years to come.”