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College seminarians have new option

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

By David Eck

ARCHDIOCESE — After nearly 30 years of sending seminarians to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus for their undergraduate studies, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is offering another option.

This year the archdiocese also began working with Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. While all four college seminarians from Cincinnati who began formation this year are at Bishop Bruté, the Josephinum will remain available for those who want it, said Father Kyle Schnippel, the archdiocesan vocations director.

Unlike the Josephinum, Bishop Bruté, which is affiliated with Marian College, provides a more typical college experience, Father Schnippel said. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis established Bishop Bruté in 2004.

Seminarians pray in the chapel at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. (Courtesy photo/The Criterion)

“The Josephinum is a self-enclosed seminary program,” Father Schnippel explained. “We recognized over time that we needed to have a second option.”

Located on the Marian College campus, Bishop Bruté seminarians take classes with other Marian students and are active in intramural sports and other campus clubs.

The seminarians all live together in the same hall near the campus and participate as a community in an ongoing formation program centered upon daily celebration of the eucharist and praying the Liturgy of the Hours each day as a seminary community.

Another benefit of attending Bishop Bruté is that seminarians can cross majors in other areas in addition to formation, Father Schnippel said.

Also, Bishop Bruté seminarians are enrolled as Marian College students, so they can easily transfer to the college program if they discern that they are not called to the priesthood, Father Schnippel said.

The Bishop Bruté option may make the seminary more desirable to those who seek a more mainstream environment, Father Schnippel said.

“I think it will help the appeal for the seminary,” he said. “Some guys may not be quite ready for that self-enclosed program. This gives them the possibility of still getting seminary formation while also being involved in a regular campus experience.”

College seminarian Jarred Kohn, who is from St. Mary Parish in Philothea, said he enjoys the interaction both within the seminary and the larger campus community that Bishop Bruté provides.

“You get out and meet new people, and it gives you a chance at a traditional college experience,” said Kohn, who began formation at Bishop Bruté last August. “It’s more appealing for me because I want to get more interactive and relate to people. For me. Bishop Bruté is right.”

The Josephinum, meanwhile, is geared strictly for men in seminary formation. Many of the professors are priests and the classes tend to have a formation undertone to them.

The archdiocese has used the Josephinum for its seminarians’ undergraduate studies since 1980 when its own college seminary, St. Gregory, closed. That seminary, which at one time also included a high school, was located in the current Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary building in Mt. Washington.

It is expected that about half of the new college seminarians each year will attend the Josephnium while the rest will attend Bishop Simon Bruté, Father Schnippel said.

“We present both options,” he said. “We want guys to visit both places. We take into account what they are looking for as well.”

David Eck can be reached at [email protected].

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