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‘Moving forward’: Seminary names new faculty, boosts recruiting

July 13, 2017
Rick DelVecchio

01 MUG Schultze_Jesuit Father GeorgeSt. Patrick’s Seminary & University is welcoming five new professors and expects to admit as many as 15 new seminarians from six dioceses for the upcoming academic year, as new rector-president and vice chancellor Jesuit Father George Schultze reaches out to bishops in several Western states to encourage them to consider the Menlo Park seminary for priestly formation.

Father Schultze briefed Catholic San Francisco on these and other details of the seminary’s transition to new leadership and a new faculty mix following the departure of the Society of St. Sulpice, whose priests had served St. Patrick’s in administration and instruction since the seminary opened in 1891. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone named Father Schultze to lead the archdiocese-owned institution in February and his appointment was effective June 1.

The seminary has named five new professors from among 79 priests, religious and qualified lay academics who applied, Father Schultze said.

“It’s a nonstop-and-go situation,” he said. “We are just moving forward. The Sulpicians who were leaving participated in interviewing some of the new faculty as well. They want the seminary to be a success.”

The new hires include three priests who have served as parish priests “and support the seminary’s goal of fully integrating its programs to insure that both pastoral and academic needs are well-served,” the seminary announced.

The new faculty members are: Father Michael Carey, OP, associate professor of moral theology, chair of the Moral Theology Department; Jeffrey Froula, Ph.D., assistant professor of moral theology; Father Khoa Nguyen, OFM, assistant director of spiritual life; Father Vito Perrone, COSJ, director of spiritual life; Father Pius Pietrzyk, OP, assistant professor of pastoral studies, chair of the Pastoral Studies Department; Matthew Thomas, D.Phil., visiting assistant professor of sacred Scripture; Margaret Turek, STD, professor of dogmatics, director of the MA Program.

The five join 10 returning faculty members, including Father Patrick Hartin, previously of the Diocese of Johannesburg, South Africa, and now of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington. The author of 18 books, he returns as visiting professor of sacred Scripture.

Father Schultze, formerly a longtime instructor and spiritual director at St. Patrick’s, described the importance of a pastoral approach that combines charity and truth.

“The idea of charity and truth – that’s what we’re about, and sometimes in the pastoral approach in people’s minds you focus on charity without ever having an explanation for what is true, what is right, what is beautiful,” he said. “The pastoral approach we have going forward is never devoid of reason, of an intellectual foundation as to why we believe in charity. That is how our faith is lived out in this world.

“We are at the point in our society … where we should be more vocal,” Father Schultze said. “We should share what we believe rather than simply conceding or retreating. Prudence requires courage. Prudence requires saying we know at times it’s hard for others to hear but we’re doing this out of love of charity and we’re going to do this in a peaceful, generous and good way as fruits of the Holy Spirit.”

He said the seminary stands for a consistent ethic of life and “we’re not looking for a pharisaical approach.”

“We hold to revelation and church doctrine; we recognize and support it,” Father Schultze said. “There are not going to be any attempts at political manipulation. It’s not an attempt to move people into one camp or another camp but to explain what the church teaches in its fullness.”

Father Schultze sees the seminary playing an increasingly active role in the pastoral life of the archdiocese and as a voice in the wider culture. Examples include the seminary’s participation in the Walk for Life West Coast and support for the lives of immigrants. Future efforts may include faculty publishing in academic journals in order that their teaching reaches a wider public.

Father Schultze also sees give-and-take with the tech and higher education communities in the Bay Area as part of the life of the seminary.

“Along Middlefield Road, our neighbors are venture capitalists who are venturing tremendous sums of capital in the global economy,” Father Schultze said. “Would we not want to have our seminarians or our church in conversation with these? Would they not want to be in conversation with a religion that has over a billion adherents? Of course, we need to have those conversations.”

The incoming 2017-18 class includes seminarians from San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Rosa, Korea. Hawaii and Guam. Father Schultze said the new class will maintain St. Patrick’s enrollment at between 60 and 64 seminarians.

Developing sustainable enrollment has been a crucial challenge underlined in reports by the accrediting WASC Senior College and University Commission. St. Patrick’s needs 80 seminarians to meet current costs, according to a March 2016 WASC report.

“Would we like to have 80? Yes, but it’s going to take time,” Father Schultze said.

Father Schultze has been in touch with Archbishop Jose Gomez in the Los Angeles archdiocese, where the archdiocesan St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo has grown enrollment from to 105 from 60 since Archbishop Gomez arrived.

“We both want to grow,” Father Schultze said. “California is like a country. We should have two full seminaries. We’re not in competition at all.”

Father Schultze said that based on the population of males of religious formation age in California, St. Patrick’s should be able to add another 15 seminarians. The added enrollment would pay operating costs from tuition alone rather than drawing on endowment income.

In a wider recruiting effort, Father Schultze is taking to the road to meet with bishops in Helena, Montana; Seattle; Portland and Baker, Oregon; and Salt Lake City. And, to strengthen ties between the seminary and the formation needs of the sending bishops, Archbishop Cordileone is planning to form an episcopal council that would meet before seminary board meetings, Father Schultze said.

Father Schultze also stressed that “every Catholic” has to help in promoting vocations, with fewer grandmothers now at hand to play their historic role of transmitting the faith to young men. Age 11 and junior year in high school are the key moments to plant the seed, Father Schultze said. “All you need to do is mention, ‘Someday you might hear the call,’” he said.

Father Schultze, who grew up in Santa Clara County, is finding the seminary a good fit at this point in his priestly career.

“I have great hope,” he said. “I’m very happy. I sleep well at night. I have no anxiety. People have been very supportive, very encouraging.”

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