Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has announced his plan to consolidate Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary's operations, as part of his ongoing reform of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

"Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary is the heart of our Church in Philadelphia, and we remain dedicated to not only maintaining its presence in our community, but strengthening it for many generations to come," Archbishop Chaput, the head of the Church in Philadelphia, said March 7.

"Our commitment to providing the best possible program of priestly formation for the benefit of our seminarians and the people they will one day serve is unwavering."

He added that the consolidation plan "will ensure the future viability and sustainability of our Seminary now and in the future."

The seminary currently occupies more than 75 acres and uses 19 different buildings. The plan will consolidate facilities, leasing or selling buildings and property which is currently underutilized. It will remain at its location in Lower Merion Township.

Over the next three to five years, the philosophy, or college, division of St. Charles Borromeo will be moved into vacant space within the theology division. The theology division's building will be renovated over that period.

St. Charles Borromeo will gain a "Spirituality Year," akin to a novitiate, which allows seminarians to devote a full year to discernment and the spiritual life.

St. Charles Borromeo's spirituality year will commence in the 2014-2015 academic year. While in Denver, Archbishop Chaput had begun a spirituality year at that archdiocese' St. John Vianney Theological Seminary.

The reformed seminary will be able to support as many as 200 seminarians. The seminary will continue to provide formation for deacon candidates, and provide classes for laymen at the associated Graduate School of Theology.

The changes are a result of a review by the seminary's board of trustees, which noted that the buildings and acreage comprising the college division had been under-employed for some time. While the fate of that portion of the campus is at yet indeterminate, it will be used to sustain and support the seminary in the future.

The seminary's rector, an auxiliary bishop of the Philadelphia archdiocese, said that "our Seminary has served as a leading institution in the formation of Catholic men for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and dioceses across the country for over 180 years."

Bishop Timothy C. Senior continued, saying, "while the Seminary evolves and takes on a slightly different look in the coming years, our four pillars of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral growth will remain strong."

"We will be better poised than ever to prepare men to become servant leaders who proclaim the Gospel."