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March 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
Citizenship event draws the eager,
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St. Patrick's Seminary appoints new rector
 

Rev. George E. Schultze, SJ

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone appointed a bilingual and eclectic Jesuit theologian and social ethicist who is well respected as a spiritual director of seminarians as the new president rector of St. Patrick's Seminary & University at what is a critical juncture for the 118-year-old West Coast seminary.

The appointment of Father George E. Schultze, SJ, announced by the archdiocese Feb. 16 and effective July 1, marks a "major turning point" for the seminary as the Sulpicians, who held a teaching and administrative role at the seminary since its founding in 1898, will depart at the end of this school year, said Sulpician Father Gerald Coleman, who was president rector from 1988-2004. "I was very happy to hear about the choice of Father Schultze as rector," Father Coleman said.

"He's well respected, not just in the seminary but outside the seminary," Father Coleman said.

"As the seminary moves forward it is obviously going to have to develop its own traditions," Father Coleman said. "Having been there, he knows that tradition and he knows the positive points about the Sulpicians' traditions: how one relates to students, to faculty."

The archbishop also appointed a diocesan priest, Father Daniel Donohoo, as vice rector. Father Donohoo is a graduate of the seminary and has been on its faculty since 2013. He is currently dean of men.

The seminary is experiencing low enrollment, a situation exacerbated by San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath's announcement in a Feb. 10 letter to his priests announcing he had decided to transfer current and future seminarians to the University of Saint Mary of the Lake Mundelein Seminary of the Archdiocese of Chicago in the next school year. About nine seminarians will be affected.

Father Schultze, who did not formally apply for the post, said he is experiencing "no trepidation, no anxiousness." He plans to work with seminary consultors but expects to begin visiting bishops to talk with them about sending their seminarians to St. Patrick's next year. He said the faculty, despite losing six Sulpician faculty and administrators, is already mostly replaced with excellent professors for next year.

Oakland Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, serves on the seminary's board of directors and was part of the search committee. Five of the Oakland diocese's 16 seminarians attend St. Patrick's.

Spokane Bishop Thomas Daly, who led the national search that selected Father Schultze, said he has already committed to sending his seminarians to St. Patrick's and two are already enrolled.

Father Schultze, who is bilingual in Spanish, has served as a spiritual director and adjunct faculty at the seminary since 2005 and prior to that was assistant professor of social ethics at University of San Francisco, 1998-2004. He serves on the board of directors of Catholic Charities of the East Bay.

He has a doctoral degree in social ethics from the Department of Religion at University of Southern California, a master of divinity degree in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He also has a master of business administration degree from UC-Berkeley, and a bachelor of science degree in industrial and labor relations at Cornell University.

"His simplicity of life is an example of the priestly identity Pope Francis believes is necessary in the forming of priests for the times," wrote Bishop Daly in a letter to the search committee which included Archbishop Emeritus George H. Niederauer, Bishop Barber and Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron. Bishop Daly led the national search.

"He is a man with great compassion. He is a gentle soul. He is very humble," said Bishop Daly, who worked directly with Father Schultze during his time as interim president-rector, 2013-14.

Father Schultze has written on Catholic social doctrine and work life, addressing some of those issues in "Strangers in a Foreign Land: The Organizing of Catholic Latinos in the United States" (Lexington Press, 2006).

Father Schultze, who grew up in the San Jose area when it was part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was taught religion by a Sulpician while at St. Francis High School, he said. He stressed his good relationship and respect for the Sulpicians. He was raised in a household with a "sensitivity to Hispanic culture" he said, and although his grandmother only spoke Spanish, English is his first language. His parents were both union members. His father was a member of Operating Engineers Local 3 and his mother belonged to General Warehouse and Food Processors Union Local 644 of the Teamsters.

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