.- St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, has recorded its highest enrolment in 20 years. Located on the University of St. Thomas campus, St. John Vianney boasts 106 students, reported the Catholic Spirit. Last year, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, the school also had the highest college seminary enrolment in the country with 84 students.
The performance of St. John Vianney bucks the national trend that has seen declining enrolment in seminaries. Two colleges closed last year.
The 106 students represent 24 dioceses from across the U.S., including 34 students from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. There are 49 new students along with 57 returning students. 4 seniors will live off campus because there isn’t enough room in the dorms.
New students have commented on the welcoming environment of the seminary and the great sense of brotherhood and friendship.
Fr. William Baer attributed the high enrolment to the school’s strong academic formation, Catholic identity, adherence to Church teachings, the sacramental life and moral teaching.
The program also focuses on strong character formation. Fr. Baer said one of the school’s mottos is “boys to men.”
“Students are wholesome, friendly, masculine and mature,” Fr. Baer told the Catholic Spirit. “We tell students not all may be called to priesthood, but all are called to leadership.”
The college seminary expects even more students next year and is looking into increasing its housing.
About one in three men who begin formation at St. John Vianney continue through to ordination, but that ratio is improving and approaching one in two, Fr. Bear told the Catholic Spirit.
He also noted that the students are coming from families and parishes that have a strong commitment to the church and to vocations.
Those interested in the seminary are invited to visit and attend Thursday evening masses at 7 p.m.
For more on the seminary, go to: www.vianney.net