Dear Seminarians, Faculty, Staff, Board Members, and Friends,
As the Seminary transitions to a temporary home, we look for the Father's providential care at every turn. We rest in the amazing breadth of His care as we receive the generosity of the good priests and people of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
I am grateful to announce a significant number of new additions to our administration as well as some administrative restructuring that promises to benefit our beautiful mission. I am especially grateful to Archbishop Carlson as he leads us in providing the best possible formation for the Church's next generation of diocesan priests. As I serve Archbishop Carlson's heart, and each of you, I am very happy to announce the following:
- Bishop Edward Rice will be "Bishop in Residence" with responsibility for overseeing the college division for 2011-2012. Bishop Rice's presence assures a high degree of continuity, stability and effective leadership for the seminary community. After ten years of generous service, Msgr. Timothy Cronin has requested a parish assignment. He will be missed greatly, but we will have regular contact as he continues to teach part-time.
- Fr. Thomas McDermott, O.P. is our new Vice Rector for Kenrick. His rich background in seminary administration, his professional care for faculty relations and his expertise in Spiritual Theology provide a rare blend of gifts that will serve us greatly. Fr. McDermott's leadership will strengthen our desires to receive a maturing readiness, ability and willingness to abide within a heartfelt interior communion with Jesus' Spirit.
- Fr. Donald Henke has generously agreed to serve as the Vice Rector for Administration and Finance while retaining his teaching role in Moral Theology. This new administrative position will grant needed attention to everyday business within the seminary community and strengthen our stewardship of the many gifts that we are receiving in the Father's providence.
- Dr. John Gresham has agreed to serve as the new Academic Dean. His personal gifts and skills in overseeing assessments and evaluations, as well as his experience as Associate Dean, will bless us greatly. As he departs his position as Director of the Library, we begin a search to fill this important position. Dr. Gresham will continue to teach part-time in Systematic Theology.
- Fr. James Swift, C.M., is the new Director of Worship. His many years of respected service on the faculty and his particular expertise in this area promise a deepening taste of joy and unity as we are nourished daily by the Living Word and rest in receiving all that we need from Jesus' Eucharistic presence.
- Fr. Peter Ryan, S.J., will begin to serve as the Director for Spiritual Formation in January 2012 after he concludes a brief sabbatical. Fr. Ryan comes to us after a decade at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is a respected moral theologian, retreat master and gifted spiritual director. Fr. Ryan will serve as a full-time live-in spiritual director and will teach part-time.
- Fr. James Knapp, S.J., will also be a full-time live-in spiritual director and part-time teacher. Fr. Knapp is a moral theologian and has a special expertise in Blessed John Paul II's "Theology of the Body." Fr. Knapp is well known after many years of teaching and promoting diocesan vocations to the priesthood at Saint Louis University High School.
- Dr. Shawn McCauley-Welch is welcomed as an Associate Professor. After her years of teaching and serving as the Associate Dean at Paul VI Institute for Catechetical and Pastoral Studies, we are very happy to have Dr. McCauley-Welch with us in this new depth of service
- Sr. Mary Cora, R.S.M., an Alma Mercy sister, comes to us to serve as Assistant to the Rector, a new administrative position. She has been serving the rector of St. John’s Seminary, Bishop Arthur Kennedy, in this capacity in Boston. Mrs. Robin Lukasek remains my Administrative Assistant and will share in a refashioning of responsibilities within seminary business, finance and administration. Sr. Mary Cora will be an invaluable asset in our on-going implementation of the Program for Priestly Formation #115 which places spiritual formation as the integrating principle for all priestly formation; human, academic and pastoral.
I wish to especially thank Fr. Michael Witt, Msgr. Timothy Cronin, Fr. Donald Henke, Fr. Paul Rothschild, Msgr. James Ramacciotti and Dr. Suzanne Harvath for their in-depth consultative advice. Their wise counsel and collegial hospitality have mediated greatly the Father's providential care. I also wish to thank Fr. Edward Richard, M.S. for his fraternal encouragements as he departed to assume a new position of important leadership within his religious congregation. Our prayers and blessings go with him.
As we walk forward amid transition in the new residential and office facility, I am grateful to Randy Rathert for his fine leadership as project manager and to Jim Kalkbrenner for overseeing the move.
Since April 1st, I have been able to meet in personal conversation with all of the administrators and faculty. I am especially grateful for the quality of these conversations and for the pastoral charity that is so evident towards each other as colleagues. Thank you for the warm welcome, for the time of fruitful prayer, and for the trust exercised in these conversations. In the coming months, it is my intention to continue to meet with all part-time faculty members, spiritual directors, members of the seminary support staff and members of the Kenrick-Glennon Board. I especially look forward to meetings with the seminarians.
There was a wonderful opportunity to meet with the deacons, the men entering 4th year theology, and Thomas Grafsgaard, the new student body president. These hope-filled conversations carried a real taste of joy as we anticipated a deepening fraternal communion as we face the challenges for the year ahead.
In the gift of a lively faith, I invite you to step back and see the beauty of an unfolding tapestry of the Father's providential care. Our gratitude will only increase as we see the great talent and generosity that these announcements represent. It is truly beautiful to behold!
I ask that we say our own deepening "yes" to allowing Jesus' Spirit to carry and lighten our individual burdens. I ask that we continue to reach out with gladness to carry each other's burdens, in that certain hope that is our spiritual inheritance as believers. May we grow in trust that the Father of all consolation desires to do everything for us as we surrender everything to His providential care! Be assured of my prayers as I also request them.
Gratefully In The Sacred Heart,
Fr. John Horn, S.J.