By Mark Abrams

LOWER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — A task force has recommended that the college division of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, in Lower Merion, remain open and that it expand its reach to attract students preparing for the priesthood elsewhere.

Bishop Timothy Senior, an auxiliary bishop and the seminary rector, says a task force approved by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was asked to explore whether the college division should continue operations.

“They came back with a really strong endorsement for the importance of the program, the value of it, the quality of the program,” Senior says.  “They did recommend we move forward with a plan to strengthen it.”

And Senior says the seminary’s college program is unique in the Northeast.  He says many dioceses send students to a secular college and have them live together as a community of men in what are called “houses of formation.”

Senior says the task force thinks St. Charles can reach out across the entire United States, establishing relationships with bishops in dioceses to solicit their students for the college program here.

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