New England Seminary education?

Does anyone know of a seminary in the arch/dioceses of New England, preferably Boston, New York, or Washington, that require no higher than a high-school level education to begin priestly studies?

What you’re looking for is a college seminary, often called a minor seminary. These are more typical of dioceses, not religious. You may have to contact the diocese of your choice and ask them if they have one.

I have to point out that you have spread yourself too far. The New England Region does not include New York and Washington. The Catholic Church is divided by regions, often called provinces. New England is not one diocese. There are over 10 dioceses that make up the New England region. They usually send their secular seminarians to Boston.

New York and Northern New Jersey are a region of their own. They usually send their secular seminarians to St. Joseph in NY.

Philadelphia is the seat of another region that takes in part of Southern NJ, PA and I believe parts of DE.

Washington uses either Mt. St. Mary’s in MD or Catholic University of America in DC. Washington belongs to the Baltimore Province.

Two ways that you can find out is to contact the major seminary directly and ask who their feeder schools are or as I said above, the diocese that you want to join.

If you want to join a religious order and be both, a priest and a religious, you have to go by their constitutions and local statutes. Most religious orders and religious congregaions in the USA require college before you enter novitiate, because the cost of running a minor seminary is cost prohibitive for the religious. But some do take men who are in college. However, often these men are not received into the community until they have finished college. These are called pre-noviate programs. They come under several labels. You would have to accommodate to them. Remember, they are not joining you. You are joining them. If you feel called to their charism, you have to do it their way. It’s not easy, but not impossible either. Be patient and follow the steps and you’ll get there.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Sort of off topic question.

Washington, DC is an Archdiocese but is part of another Archdioceses province?
I have found that DC has a suffrage diocese of Saint Thomas, Virigin Islands and Baltimore has suffrage dioceses of Arlington, Richmond, Wheeling-Charleston, and Wilmington.

To answer the question of the OP. The only college seminary I know of is in Chicago. Franciscian University in Steubenville also has a sort of program.

I would suggest contacting your diocesen vocations director.

This is off-topic, but I have never understood the Washingaton-Baltimore relationship. Search me. :shrug: The may be autonomous, for all I know. But they were carved out of Baltimore and everyone still refersto Baltimore as the Primate’s Seat. Who knows how these lines are drawn? :smiley:

That’s good to know about Chicago. I know that Miami also as a college seminary, John Vianney. But I don’t know how far north it reaches. My impression is that i serves the dioceses of Florida and those religious communities that choose to use it. There was one in Cleveland, St. Charles Borromeo. Aren’t they around anymore?


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I know that multiple bishops in New England send seminarians to Our Lady of Providence, which is in Rhode Island. This is actually the seminary that I’m currently in. Boston sends men here, I myself am one of them.

This would be good information to have on file. Is Our Lady of Providence minor seminary or major seminary?


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

OLP is a minor seminary. The major seminary used by the Archdiocese is St. John’s seminary in Brighton (a town right next to Boston). Were James Parsons to decide to become a seminarian for Boston, he would be sent where I am. It’s not a particularly big seminary. As it is, we have 23 men in the house, with about 3 extra spots left. There will be about 10 men finishing this year, so there will definitely be room for more new men next year. And we at Boston could always use a few more seminarians. :thumbsup:

You Bostonians just take care of your bishop. He’s an awesome man. I lived with him for several years and we have been friends since 1972. I just wrote to him this week too. He was the inspiration behind our move to work in pro-life ministry . . . one of the holiest bishops in the USA and a very holy Brother.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Don’t worry brother, we love our habited Cardinal. We’ll do as best we can with him.

You don’t want a bunch of Franciscans rioting at your front door. :smiley: He was my superior once upon a time, when we were both young. DISCLAIMER! I’m still young. :cool:

If you want to make him smile, call him Friar Sean or Brother Sean. He loves being a friar.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

You can find your VD here: Best of luck.

congregation<mission<parish<deanery<archdeanery<diocese<archdiocese<metropolitan archdiocese<patriarchy

I thought DC was a metropolitan archdiocese too, but I guess not. St. Louis is a metropolitan archdiocese that used to have the archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas under its control. You can also have titular archdioceses underneath metropolitan archdiocese as well.

Thanks for the above, Mike. I always have a hard time remembering who fits in where. You may be right about DC. I don’t know why they keep referring to Baltimore as the primatial see, unless it’s out of respect, since Baltimore was THE diocese once upon a time.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Don’t worry too much about finding a seminary. You first concern is finding a diocese in which you are comfortable and which you can call home.

Contact the vocations director for the diocese to begin your application process. The vocations director will let you know where you will need to apply for seminary. Typically a diocese already has a relationship with one, or several, seminaries to which they send their seminarians. Some may sent their seminarians to a particular seminary while others like to spread their men out to different seminaries. Either way, it is up to the bishop that that particular diocese.

It is not unusual for seminarians to begin with nothing more that a High School diploma, in fact that used to be the norm. Even if you were to have a college degree, you would still most likely start out in a college seminary, studying philosophy. I had a B.S. degree in a technical field before seminary. I know of other seminarian that entered with philosophy degrees, one from a secular university, one from Steubenville and one as a commuter student at the same seminary he latter entered as a seminarian. They each had to do 2 years pre-theology in the college seminary before moving over to Theology. In this case it was a seminary that had both college and theology so they were able to take graduate theology courses while in undergraduate formation. The just got an MA in Theology in addition to the MDiv. Seminary is about more than the academics. It is about the total formation of the man for the priesthood. Academic, spiritual, human and pastoral.

I can answer this question:

Our Lady of Providence Seminary is a college seminary for the most part affiliated with Providence College, it can be a pre-theology program if one lives in the Diocese of Providence, RI. Many New England dioceses send seminarians there including:
-Diocese of Portland, ME
-Diocese of Burlington, VT
-Diocese of Springfield, MA
-Archdiocese of Boston, MA
-Diocese of Norwich, CT
-Diocese of Providence, RI
-Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.
-Archdiocese of Hartford, CT

I think Diocese of Bridgeport, CT has their own college seminary program affiliated with Catholic colleges in New York City

I am unsure about the Diocese of Manchester, NH and the Diocese of Fall River, MA, but I would say Our Lady of Providence Seminary.

The Diocese of Worcester, MA. has a college house where students attend a local Catholic College, but I could be mistaken

I should call him…Friar Sean? That would not go well with the diocesan heirarchy.

I never thought about that. You’re right. Bad idea. Forget I mentioned it.

Just observe his calm. I have always found it impressive.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

I like him a lot too. And he had to be walking in to one of the most difficult jobs in the Church Universal when he came to town.

I was recently visiting a community of Sisters in the area. One of the older Sisters was saying that they used to have Mass offered twice a day in their chapel, but then said he had better things for the priests to do than offer TWO Masses daily and now they have one and if you miss it you miss it. 90-year-old Sister is not thrilled with this state of affairs, but whatcha gonna do. What I thought I heard was “Bishop Shaw.” Hmmm. Never heard of that guy. I moved to town when Cardinal Law was the archbishop. Cardinal Cushing was a famous previous one. Never heard of a Bishop Shaw. So I’m making conversation and asking when that was …

She looks at me oddly. He came in about five years ago …

Ohhhh. Bishop SEAN. Because I’m a dolt, I would refer to the gentleman in question as Cardinal O’Malley. But “Sean” is a religious name so yes that is correct.

Note to self: One does NOT make a good impression by seeming to not recognize the Cardinal Archbishop of your very own diocese!!! Oops. :blush:

It is indeed. His Eminence has the great capability to spread it around to those nearby.

It is an ancient Franciscan custom to use one’s first name and not the family name. That’s why he often uses Cardinal Sean or Bishop Sean.

However, because human beings are creatures of habit (no pun intended), we tend to treat all bishops and priests as if they were diocesan and call them by their last name. The normal address for a Capuchin would be his title followed by his first name or one can skip the title and simply use Friar, Brother, or Frater. In some circles, people are uncomfortable doing this. Therefore, most Franciscans accommodate rather than making an issue out of it. It’s not a big deal to let people call you Bishop Smith instead of Brother John.

I’m not sure how we got into the habit of calling friars by titles such as: Father and Bishop. That was not the custom. For hundreds of years the only person whom we called Father was St. Francis and he was not a priest. But he was always Father Francis. Everyone else was either Brother or Friar. St. Bonaventure was a cardinal and he was always Brother Bonaventure. Juniper Serra was always Brother Juniper, never Father Juniper. My guess is that it was just carried over from the diocesan clergy. Though in some countries diocesan bishops are called Doctor and diocesan priests are called Mister. The Italians used to call diocesan priests, Don (Mr). We did too in the USA, during the 1800s.

The objective of the Franciscan family is to have a brotherhood of equals, whether they are ordained or not. Our priests and bishops disappear into the group. We even have superiors who are not priests.


Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

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