WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Washington Archdiocese is opening a new seminary named in honor of Blessed John Paul II, who was beatified Sunday in the Vatican.
The archdiocese announced Sunday that Cardinal Donald Wuerl formally established the Blessed John Paul II Seminary, which will be blessed on Oct. 22, the feast day of the former Pontiff.
Cardinal Wuerl stated: “Pope John Paul II was a special role model to so many people as an extraordinary priest, bishop and Pope.
“In the quarter-century that he was Pope, he traveled far and wide, met huge numbers of people and encouraged them with the words: ‘Be not afraid. Put your trust in God. Open your hearts to Christ.’
“Those words have inspired many young people to vocations.”
Seminarians will be able to begin their formation in the new seminary, which has space for 30 men, this August.
The cardinal said, “With the new seminary in the archdiocese, the young men who have been inspired to be part of the new evangelization may begin their formation right here at home and be an integral part of the local Catholic community in Washington from the beginning.”
Seminarians will begin studies at the nearby Catholic University of America while receiving priestly formation at the seminary.
The seminary rector is Monsignor Robert Panke, and vice rector is Father Carter Griffin. Other faculty include Father William Gurnee, spiritual director and the director of spiritual formation, Father Scott Woods, assistant director of priest vocations, Father Robert Walsh, also assistant director of priest vocations, and Father Mario Dorsonville, adjunct spiritual director.
The building that will house the seminary is currently being renovated, with a complete restoration of the chapel that will be dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church.
The Washington Archdiocese currently has 67 seminarians studying for the priesthood.