by Ian Bush
LOWER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — A major change of plans for Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood: consolidation is off the table; now, it appears the entire campus will be put up for sale.READ MORE: Burlington County Double Shooting Leaves Teenager Dead, Another Injured
The new plan would have priests-in-training study and live at or near a Philadelphia-area college with whom the seminary would partner and where it would build new facilities.
While the Archdiocese hasn’t announced what it’ll do with the current 75 acres, the campus that’s hosted Popes John Paul II and Francis likely would go to a developer.
“We certainly have a tremendous amount of history there on the campus in Lower Merion, but the seminary is not about the past, it’s about the future,” said Bishop Timothy Senior, a rector at St. Charles.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
He says this restructuring is supported by an independent audit and major benefactors: they saw challenges in the 2013 plan that would have consolidated the seminary into its upper campus and sold or leased the remaining 40-some acres. It’s also faced a court challenge.
Senior says the seminary board expects the new plan to be fleshed out within a year and changes made by the end of the decade. He released the following statement concerning the new direction:
“It is my strong belief that this new direction will allow us to build on the already solid foundation of our present program by significantly strengthening and enhancing our seminary. This new path forward allows us to pursue new facilities that will further enrich and better serve the contemporary academic, spiritual, and human needs of our seminarians and lay students. We embark on this new journey at a time of particular strength and grace, emanating from the recent visit of our Holy Father, and testified to by another year of projected enrollment increases, a record increase in the 2016 Seminary Appeal and the addition of several new, well-credentialed faculty members.”MORE NEWS: 2 Suspects In Custody After Shooting Near Lincoln High School Left Man Killed, 16-Year-Old In Critical Condition, Police Say
The announcement from the seminary did not mention any potential Catholic institutions, to partner with, by name.