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November 7, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Family life issues
Respondents in a new survey identified several economics, culture and family issues as they said are affecting them the most today.

Seminarians from St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass., participate in a "Grill the Seminarians" discussion April 3 with members of a youth group from St. Patrick Church in Providence, R.I.
Boston seminary grows

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Rapid growth in the number of men entering St. John's Seminary in Brighton to study for the priesthood has prompted the Boston Archdiocese to buy back space from Boston College to accommodate the increase.

Msgr. James Moroney, seminary rector, signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Jesuit-run college Oct. 20 to buy back more than 13,000 square feet of space within the current seminary building.
By purchasing the annex, located above the present kitchen and refectory space, the current St. John's Seminary buildings will now be owned "free and clear, without any leases or encumbrances of any kind" by the seminary, Msgr. Moroney said.

Built in 1884 by Boston Archbishop John Joseph Williams, the seminary had seen the number of seminarians dropping significantly, to an all-time low of 22 men studying for the priesthood in 2005.

"Having experienced, in the last 10 years, the most extraordinary growth the seminary has witnessed in its entire lifetime," Msgr. Moroney continued, "we are in desperate need for space."

He said in September, when the seminarians returned to St. John's Seminary, there were 98 men living at the seminary.

Baltimore school plan

BALTIMORE — Schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore will see $86 million in investments over the next decade under a plan to strengthen the quality of education. Overall, 19 of the 22 schools the archdiocese operates in Baltimore City and the immediate surrounding, including two that will be merged, will benefit from the expenditure. The plan also includes the closures of three schools.

Vocation pursuit

WASHINGTON — There is no single answer to what spurs a young man or woman to consider a vocation to religious life or the priesthood. "Vocation is a very complex chain of events," said Mark M. Gray, a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. There is no doubt, according to Gray, that the influence of family contributes to a son or daughter's decision on whether to pursue a religious vocation. But, just as parents can encourage a vocation, they also can discourage consideration of a vocation.

Enrollment grows

OMAHA, Neb. — Not just once, but now two years in a row, enrollment in Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Omaha has grown by hundreds of students. This year's 19,838 preschool through high school students in the archdiocese's 70 schools compares with last year's 19,560 students, a net gain of 278, or 1.4 percent. In 2015-2016, enrollment grew by 366 students, or 1.94 percent, said Patrick Slattery, superintendent of schools. Last year's gain was the first in 17 years. Strategies included an archdiocesan marketing effort entering its third year — fueled by the successful "Ignite the Faith" capital campaign — that includes television and radio commercials, billboards and a lovemyschool.com website that has links to individual schools and touts the faith, discipline, strong academics and other positive attributes of Catholic schools. Slattery told the Catholic Voice, Omaha's archdiocesan newspaper. The archdiocese offers what it calls Welcome Tuition Grants of $1,000 the first year and $500 the second year for public, private or home-schooled students transferring into archdiocesan schools.

Al Roker

Roker and schools

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Al Roker, weather and feature anchor on NBC's "Today" show, told a Sioux City Catholic audience that he owes his success in life and his career to the Catholic education he received growing up. "I am standing here today, as the 'Today' show weatherman, because of what I learned at Xavier High School," Roker said. "My Jesuit priests, my Jesuit teachers taught us to be curious, taught us to be free thinkers, to be compassionate and they also instilled an interest in the arts." Roker received a full scholarship to Xavier High School, "a Jesuit military academy," in Manhattan, he quipped during his keynote speech at the Sioux City Diocese's annual fundraiser for Catholic schools in late September.

Manila drug rehab

MANILA, Philippines — The Archdiocese of Manila officially launched a drug rehabilitation program Oct. 23, with a heavy emphasis on spiritual formation in the wake of the Philippine government's war on drugs. Father Roberto De La Cruz, head of the restorative justice program at Caritas Manila, said church officials became most aware of the magnitude of the drug problem in the Philippines capital region after President Rodrigo Duterte was newly elected in May.

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