In response to the growing number of Catholics in the United States, the Diocese of Charlotte is opening a new seminary, St. Joseph College Seminary.
The school was officially blessed by Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis on September 15, 2020, during the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The service also included a ribbon cutting.
The new college seminary has Gothic architecture and a 30,000 square feet of living-and-learning space. The college seminary will house young men exploring a priesthood as a vocation. Additionally, undergraduate students will be able to pursue degrees at nearby Belmont Abbey College.
St. Joseph will be the only college seminary program between Washington and Miami and the Catholic Church is expecting the school to be a magnet for young men wanting to discern the priesthood.
The program has been so popular thus far that the construction of the seminary’s permanent home has been accelerated. Since 2016, enrollment has tripled and the college seminary building is currently at two-thirds of capacity with 27 out of 40 seminarian slots filled.
Donors have already contributed more than $15.5 million toward the $20 million project.
During the September 15 dedication service, Bishop Jugis thanked God for answering prayers to provide more vocations to the priesthood and reference Matthew 9 — the harvest is plentiful but laborers are few.
He said, “With all that has been done here with the guidance of Our Blessed Lord and the help of the Holy Spirit, let there be for us and into the future, many more blessings to come.”
The college’s success is coming at a time of explosive growth in the Catholic Church in the United States. Just in western North Carolina, the Catholic population has grown to more than 400,000 — a 900% increase for the diocese since it was founded in 1972.
Msgr. Patrick Winslow, vicar general and chancellor, noted, “We’re going to be here now and into the future” and “continue to reflect the Gospel to the larger community.”
Source: The Catholic Miscellany