The names of the seminary's advisory board members are not publicly available, and calls to the seminary were not returned by press time. But the letter noted that some board members have been active fundraisers for the seminary.
"When veiled in complete secrecy, how can we, as a Board of Advisors with years of dedicated service and millions of dollars raised conclude anything other than this was a decision bereft of objective criteria and prayerful discernment? While talk about 'transparency and accountability' is a noble goal, here there was neither."
The news of the college seminary's closure came seven years after St. Joseph College Seminary moved into a new home. While the seminary had before then rented dorm space at Chicago's Loyola University, in 2012 a new building opened with capacity for 68 students, and six suites for priests and faculty members.
Father Paul Stein, who was in 2012 rector of the seminary, called the new facility "a statement of faith and hope about the future of the priesthood here in this archdiocese and in the many dioceses and religious orders which we serve."
In their March letter, advisory board members said that when the building was dedicated "Cardinal Francis George once again renewed the Archdiocese of Chicago's long-time commitment to the young men discerning priesthood."
The Archdiocese of Chicago did not respond to requests from CNA for comment.
The advisory board members said they will be waiting for a response from the archdiocese, and from Cupich.
"Your total disregard for the Board of Advisors, our Rector-President and others in the Archdiocese who have made significant financial contributions to the college seminary over many decades, together with the lack of any apparent consultation in making this decision, speaks volumes about the value, or lack of it, that you place on us, as financial supporters and Board members, and on the long history of Niles College and St. Joseph College Seminary. We await your response with prayerful anticipation."