A Message from Father John Kartje, Rector of Mundelein Seminary
One of the great joys of my priestly life has been to help young people deepen their relationship with God through prayer, study, and service. This ministry has taken on added significance for me as a seminary Rector over the past four years here at Mundelein Seminary.
I know that last year’s announcement of the closing of St. Joseph College Seminary led to a challenging time of transition for all of us in the Archdiocese of Chicago, particularly for the college seminarians themselves. Since that time, it has been a top priority for me to provide the best possible care for our college seminarians who have committed to discerning their priestly vocations. At the same time, we have worked to redouble our efforts in the promotion of college seminary for young men in our Archdiocese. I’m grateful to Fr. Tom Byrne and Fr. Tim Monahan for taking leadership of these initiatives.
As we continue to develop our relationship with St. John Vianney College Seminary (SJV) at the University of Saint Thomas we will also look for new and creative ways to keep our college seminarians closely connected to the city they call home and will serve as parish priests in the future. I’m also thankful for Fr. Matt Alexander’s willingness to accept an appointment to the faculty at SJV. Having a Chicago priest in Minnesota with our Chicago men is an unparalleled benefit.
Please know of my gratitude for your support of the college seminary program in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
God bless you,
Fr. John Kartje
College seminarians for the Archdiocese of Chicago with Father Tom Byrne at Saint John Vianney College Seminary
A Message from Father Tom Byrne, Director of Chicago Seminarians
As I write to you at the start of a new year and decade, I count 44 seminarians at all stages of formation for the Archdiocese of Chicago. While we always pray for more vocations, we must begin by being grateful to God for those He has already called and who have answered. For the last three years, my ministry as Director of Chicago Seminarians was exclusively focused on our men at Mundelein Seminary in Pre-Theology and Theology studies. While the closure of St. Joseph was a great sadness to me personally, it did have the benefit of allowing me to get to know each of our college seminarians and of helping them to continue their discernment and formation for the priesthood.
In choosing a new college seminary for our men, we considered several different options. We ultimately settled on St. John Vianney because it provided the strongest program for our seminarians, both in academics and formation, while still matching our context of being in a Midwest city. I had the opportunity to visit all our seminarians back in October to see how they had settled in. They were particularly happy to share about the joys of living in a larger community. When St. Joe’s has closed, there were only 20 seminarians remaining. Now, they live with more than 100 brothers from many different dioceses.
Cardinal Cupich and I will be back in Minnesota again in March to visit our seminarians and celebrate Mass for the whole seminary community. We are already looking forward to the upcoming summer when we will have the men back with us in Chicago. They will again have the opportunity for assignments that both help them in their formation and keep them connected with the Archdiocese. Some will be serving as Totus Tuus missionaries, teaching catechesis to the youth in our parishes, others will serve the poor, and some will work at Catholic Cemeteries to assist them with paying their tuition.
As we made the transition to St. John Vianney, we have also continued our commitment of strong financial support of each college seminarian, and we are grateful to the many partners that continue to make this support possible. As we look to continue to increase our number of college seminarians, we also look forward to increasing our scholarship opportunities, so that the possibility to discern a vocation to the priesthood in such a great environment will not be denied to any worthy young man.
Please continue to pray for vocations and for all of our seminarians.
God bless you in the new year,
Fr. Tom Byrne
Treasures from Saint Joe’s College Seminary Relocated to Mundelein Seminary
A few precious religious artifacts from Saint Joe’s College Seminary have been relocated to Mundelein Seminary to continue being used for the formation of future generations of parish priests.
Marble Cross – South Side of Main Chapel
Saint Joseph and Jesus – Francis Cardinal George, OMI Memorial Garden
Saint Joseph the Workman – Theology Rec Hall
Chalice from Saint Joe’s – Used at Mass at Spirituality Year Bishop Quarter House