Redemptoris Mater Seminary breaks ground on expansion project

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CHESTNUT HILL -- The Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill broke ground for an ambitious expansion project, including a new chapel, in a ceremony on June 11.

"As our needs have brought us to this moment, your unwavering support and boundless generosity enables us to stand here today," Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Father Antonio Medeiros told supporters at the ceremony.

Plans to build the chapel were announced at the seminary's 11th annual gala dinner in April 2023. When Redemptoris Mater Seminary was first established in 2005, it took up residence in the former rectory of the adjacent St. Lawrence Church. As more seminarians entered, the seminary needed more space and acquired a neighboring three-story house. The planned chapel, which Father Medeiros said would serve as "the spiritual nucleus of the community," will unite the two buildings and replace the small chapel that currently exists at the seminary. The project was approved by the Brookline Planning Board on June 5.

"I saw a clear sign that God counts on our seminary to continue forming priests," Father Medeiros said, "not just for today and for the Archdiocese of Boston, but also the enduring future of the church."

The new construction will also provide extra dining, meeting and storage space for the seminary. If everything goes according to plan, it will be finished in 12-16 months.

Father Medeiros thanked those who donated to the chapel's construction, and urged those who hadn't yet donated to do so.

"I encourage you to see that there is no greater or more noble cause to impact our society than to commit all our energies to the glory of God through the formation of priests for the new evangelization of the church," he said.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley delivered a blessing and remarks at the ceremony and praised Redemptoris Mater for its impact. The seminary draws both local and international candidates who are members of the Neocatechumenal Way and forms them to serve locally and in the missions. Since 2005, 19 priests and two deacons have been ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston, and the seminary is currently home to 23 seminarians.

During his remarks, the cardinal said this groundbreaking ceremony is a "sign of our hope for the future of the church, and for the flourishing of vocations and good and holy priests who will serve God's people."

"This seminary is such an important institution," the cardinal said, "and one that is so successful in training men for the priesthood."

The cardinal added that seminarians at Redemptoris Mater are "particularly equipped" to work with new immigrants, the archdiocese's largest and fastest-growing demographic.

"The presence of the Neocatechumenal Way has been a great blessing for us," he said. "We see the energy for evangelization, the commitment to a Gospel spirituality, and a sense of mission in evangelization, in addition to the openness to life in their beautiful families, and the success of transmitting the faith from one generation to the next."

"The same spirit of generosity that brings these young men from such communities of faith is so evident in the way that they are always prepared to go wherever the Lord wants them to serve God's people," he said.

"It is truly a witness of their faith, their generosity, and their deep sense of vocation," the cardinal added.

Cardinal O'Malley, Father Medeiros, and Father Israel Rodriguez of St. Mary of the Assumption in Lawrence, the first seminarian from Redemptoris Mater to be ordained a priest, tossed shovels of dirt for the ceremonial groundbreaking. The seminarians led attendees in the singing of a hymn of thanksgiving to God, followed by a hymn dedicated to Mary.