Seminarians filled the North American College with strains of “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” as they took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for a new 10-story structure.
“Things have gone so well in the last decades, that we need more space and it’s wonderful,” Archbishop John J. Meyers of Newark explained to CNA April 12 after he led the ceremony.
James and Miriam Mulva of Bartlesville, Okla. donated $8.5 million to fund the $7-million building and a technology upgrade for the seminary’s two campuses.
The Mulvas, their son Jonathan, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop Meyers and the college’s rector, Monsignor James F. Checchio, all joined in breaking the ground for the new addition.
“We’ve been blessed in so many ways and we have a firm belief that it’s important to give back in every way you possibly can,” James Mulva commented.
“We feel so strongly about the Church and about youth and education. So, what better project, what better initiative could we do than to support this new facility for the North American college,” he said.
The 36,000-square-foot building will be home to four new classrooms equipped with the latest technology, which will also give the college the space it needs for the 250 students it has.
The 10-story tower will also feature a new Blessed Sacrament Chapel, rooms for learning to preach, celebrate Mass and the sacraments.
The top floor of the new addition will offer the seminarians a quiet, well-lit space for reading and study, or a view of St. Peter’s Basilica if their minds wander.
Msgr. Checchio described the launch of the project as “a great day for the North American College and for the Church Universal.”
“Certainly the work of forming new priests is foundational for the Church and the future of the Church. And this building will be not only to provide for the needs of the college now but for the needs for many years to come,” he added.
Archbishop Myers, who is the head of the seminary’s board of governors, highlighted the spiritual impact of the new facility.
“Our previous Pope, Benedict, kept calling for us to internalize the faith.
“The interior life was really what it was all about, and with the chapel and also the prayer space in this facility, they will be encouraged even more to grow in their life of prayer and in their interior life,” the archbishop observed.