Faculty reduced at St. John’s Seminary

Due to a decrease in the number of vocations and the loss of the seminary’s undergraduate college of liberal arts last year, the Archdiocese of Boston has decided to reduce the number of faculty members at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton. Four faculty members are being reassigned, and three have chosen to voluntarily leave the seminary staff.

The faculty members being reassigned are: Msgr. Richard G. Cunningham, Father Robert J. Congdon, Father Martin P. Connor and Father William F. Murphy.

Msgr. Cunningham, a canon law professor, has taught at the seminary for over 30 years. Father Congdon, who teaches sacramental theology and Spanish and was acting dean of the seminary college during the 2002-2003 academic year, has been on staff since 1992. Father Connor, who is a spiritual director, has worked at the seminary for the past 27 years, and Father Murphy, also a spiritual director, has been working at the seminary since 2000.

Those voluntarily resigning are: Father Robert W. Murray, Father William B. Palardy and Father Robin Ryan, CP.

Father Murray, director of pastoral formation, has been on staff since 2000. Father Palardy, dean of students and professor of patristic theology — the study of the writings and theology of the Fathers of the Church — has taught at the seminary since 1992. Father Ryan, a religious order priest, is director of the Master of Arts in Ministry Program for the laity and professor of systematic theology — the study of Church doctrine.

According to St. John’s Seminary rector, Father John A. Farren, OP, Father Murray will go on sabbatical at the end of the academic year and then be reassigned and Father Palardy will teach at the seminary in the fall of 2004 and go on sabbatical in the winter or spring of 2005. He said that Father Ryan, a Passionist priest, was originally reassigned by his order last year, but the archdiocese asked him to stay an extra year. Father Ryan plans to move to Chicago, where he will continue teaching.

Father Farren told The Pilot that Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley met with the seminary faculty members last month to inform them that the number of faculty members would have to be reduced. The archbishop explained that, based on the number of students enrolled at the seminary, the archdiocese could not afford to employ so many faculty members, stated Father Farren.

There are currently 19 faculty members at the seminary for approximately 60 seminarians — a nearly three-to-one ratio. Fifty-two seminarians live at the campus in Brighton.

The archbishop “told us that ratio of professors to students is a luxury that we cannot afford at this point,” said Father Farren. “No academic institution can really carry on with that ratio. It’s so high.”

Father Palardy, who has spent the last 12 years at the seminary, said he submitted his resignation for a “number of reasons,” but mainly because he would like to return to parish work. He hopes to be assigned to a parish by the summer of 2005.

"I'm looking forward to getting back into full-time ministry" because as a diocesan priest that is what you plan to do, he said.

Father Palardy characterized the past year as “difficult.” Due to a number of difficulties, which he declined to mention, he has “mixed feelings” about leaving his position because he has “enjoyed teaching and working with seminarians and colleagues.”

Father Christopher Coyne, spokesperson for the archdiocese and liturgy professor at St. John’s Seminary, explained that last year’s closure of the liberal arts college at the seminary contributed to the overstaffing problem. When the college closed, he said, there was an “influx” of professors from the college seminary to the theologate, which provides post graduate-level theological education.

Father Coyne noted that two faculty members who are being reassigned, Msgr. Cunningham and Father Connor, have a long history at St. John’s Seminary. He said both men have been strong models of the Catholic priesthood to seminarians.

"Many of those who are ordained now were served by their example and instruction," said Father Coyne. "The good work that they have done continues in the good work of the priests of this archdiocese and those who have gone to other dioceses."

Father Connor, who has spent the last 27 years working at the seminary and was one of four spiritual directors there, feels that the staff reduction “was probably necessary in some ways.” However, he feels that “it’s happening very quickly and [to] a lot of people at once.”

Father Connor said he will fondly remember teaching at the seminary.

"It's been a wonderful experience teaching and working with seminarians over the years," he said. "It's been a really privileged experience for me."

"I'll miss it," he continued. "But I'm ready to move on."

They, in turn, will be missed by those at the seminary, Father Farren said.

"We will certainly feel their absence, but we recognize that the Church has to face difficult realities today that are very different from those of even the recent past," he stated. "We will simply have to pull in our belts and get on with it."

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...