By Mark Abrams , Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput today disclosed plans to sell or lease the “college division” buildings and grounds at St. Charles. Borromeo Seminary in Lower Merion, operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

He says the archdiocese is prepared to give up several underutilized buildings as well as 45 acres of property on the seminary site.

In his weekly column published online, the archbishop stated the college division operations and the seminarians enrolled there will be moved to what is known as the “upper side” or “theology division” campus at the seminary during a three- to five-year period.

The timing of the moves will be tied to renovations of the theology facilities to include classrooms, dormitories, and office space.

Chaput says the archdiocese will retain about 30 acres encompassing the theology division property and will operate the college and theology programs from there.

The college division has 45 full-time students and the theology division has 83 students, for a total population of 128, studying for the priesthood for the archdiocese or one of nine other dioceses.

Once the renovations are completed, Chaput says, the seminary will support up to 200 seminarians and hundreds of full- and part-time students enrolled in the graduate school of theology, which offers graduate degrees and catechetical certificate programs for clergy and laity.

Also, the facilities will be available to all candidates discerning vocations to the permanent diaconate.

Chaput says the sale or lease of the college division buildings and property will enable the archdiocese to gain a source of income to keep the seminary in operation for the long term.

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