The Holy Father is expected to address the topic of vocations to the priesthood when he visits Saint Joseph’s Seminary, in the Yonkers section of New York City this evening. Its students and graduates also affectionately refer to Saint Joseph’s Seminary as “Dunwoodie”.
Archbishop Michael Corrigan originally founded the school in May of 1891. He wanted the formational program of seminary education closer to the city of New York, so he could participate on a more regular basis with their formation. The school began the academic formation of priests in 1896 and there were only 96 students. When it was completed the buildings of the Dunwoodie Seminary were considered the grandest and most comfortable educational environments in the United States. According to historical accounts, Dunwoodie was considered the second most important educational facility in the United States, ranked second after Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
The first papal visit to this institution was in 1995 by Pope John Paul II. The current Holy Father, Benedict XVI however is no stranger to the school. When he was a Cardinal and a Vatican Curia official, he presented a theological lecture series in the late 1990’s.
The topic of vocations to the Catholic Priesthood is expected to be the main topic for the Holy Father’s address here at the Seminary of Saint Joseph’s. In earlier speeches delivered during his apostolic visit, he has called for a new Pentecost within the Church. Among other signs, this new Pentecost entails an increase in the number of candidates for the priesthood. Pope Benedict XVI has also said that he would be happy if fewer priests were serving the Church, as long as long as they were holier priests and men committed to the Gospel and sacraments of the Church.