Saint John's Seminary (Massachusetts)

Saint John's Seminary, located in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, is a Catholic major seminary sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

St. John's Seminary
TypePrivate, Graduate
AffiliationCatholic Church
RectorStephen E. Salocks (Interim)
DeanPaul Metilly
Vice RectorChristopher K. O'Connor
Academic staff
seminary: 9 F/T, 12 P/T
lay programs: 19
Students139 seminarians,
approx. 60 laity
Location, ,
42°20′38.45″N 71°9′47.18″W

Founded in 1884, the seminary has 114 seminarians[1] and approximately 60 lay students, mostly from dioceses in New England.

The current interim rector is Fr. Stephen E. Salocks, professor of Sacred Scripture.


In 1864, wealthy Boston merchant James Stanworth acquired a farm on a hill in Brighton known as the Hildreth estate. Stanworth suffered losses in the Panic of 1873 and his heirs found he owed substantial debts. Archbishop John Joseph Williams purchased the Hildreth estate and construction of the Boston Ecclesiastical Seminary[2] began in 1881 and was completed in 1884. In 1883, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts granted a Charter to the Seminary to grant degrees in philosophy and divinity.[3] The Archbishop entrusted the seminary to his former teachers, the Sulpicians.[4] Students began classes on September 22, 1884.[5] The First rector was John Baptist Hogan.[6]

The Seminary was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts in 1892. In 1911, the Sulpicians withdrew from the seminary at the request of Archbishop William Henry O'Connell,[4] who preferred a diocesan faculty more familiar with local conditions.

Saint John's Seminary adopted its present name in 1941.[2][7]

Merger with Cardinal O'Connell Seminary

Cardinal O'Connell Seminary, the archdiocesan minor seminary for high school students in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, was merged with Saint John's Seminary in 1968.[2] In 1970 its programs were relocated to a Foster Street site in Saint Clement's Hall.

Crisis and recovery after 2000 child sexual abuse scandal

In the wake of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston sex abuse scandal enrollment declined from a peak of 86 students in the academic year 2001–02 to 34 for 2005-06. Two years later, the seminary recovered to a student population of 63.[8][9]

During the 2000s, nearly all the Seminary's land and buildings were sold to Boston College (BC), the neighboring Jesuit-run college. In 2001, Boston College leased St. Clement's Hall, formerly the site of the Seminary's undergraduate division, and it bought the property in June 2004.[10][11][12] In May 2007, the Archdiocese sold the Seminary's open land, its library building and several other structures.[13] Rector John Farren, OP resigned and protested the 2007 sale in a letter to Cardinal O'Malley.[8][12][14]

After the land sales, the campus of the Seminary consists only of Saint John's Hall.[13]

Enrollment statistics

(by academic year)

  • 2001–2002: 86[8][9]
  • 2005–2006: 34[8][9]
  • 2007–2008: 63[8][9]
  • 2009–2010: 91 (81 diocesan seminarians and 10 religious)[15]
  • 2015–2016: 114 (78 diocesan seminarians and 36 religious)[1]
  • 2016-2017: 139 (100 diocesan seminarians and 39 religious)

Participating dioceses

Most students are from dioceses in New England: in Massachusetts, from the Archdiocese of Boston and the Dioceses of Fall River, Springfield, and Worcester; in Connecticut, from the Archdiocese of Hartford; and also from the dioceses of Burlington, Vermont, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.

In the academic year of 2014-2015, St. John's began receiving seminarians from the Diocese of Rochester, New York. That same year, the Diocese of Portland, which encompasses all of Maine, resumed sending seminarians. St. John's also serves as the seminary for a few men from dioceses outside the U.S.[16]

College-level seminary candidates for the Archdiocese of Boston reside at Our Lady of Providence Seminary College in Providence, Rhode Island and various other institutions.


Seminary programs

As a major seminary, an institution providing formation for the Catholic priesthood, Saint John's offers a four-year program leading to the Master of Divinity degree. There is also a program leading to the Master of Arts in Theology.[17]

In addition, "St. John's Seminary offers a two-year program of initial formation for those candidates who are college graduates and have no prior experience of formal preparation for the sacrament of Holy Orders."[18] Those who complete the Pre-Theology Program may qualify to receive a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.).

Programs for lay students

The Seminary's Theological Institute for the New Evangelization offers programs for lay people wishing to work in Roman Catholic ministry, leading to the degrees Master of Theological Studies for the New Evangelization, and Master of Arts in Ministry (MAM). These programs are based at a separate campus in accordance with norms of the Holy See.[19] The MAM division of TINE also offers non-credit catechist training programs in evangelization and apologetics.[20]


The Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools[21] and by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.[22]


Seminarians partake in sports including basketball, football, golf, softball, and soccer,[23] including intramural games with BC club teams. Twice a year St. John's Seminary competes in softball games against Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary (Weston, MA) and Our Lady of Providence College Seminary (Providence, RI). With access to the Flynn Recreation Complex at Boston College, seminarians contend in intramural basketball and soccer leagues against Boston College students.[24]

Daily life

The daily schedule includes classes and services in chapel.[25] Seminarians have off-campus pastoral assignments at least once per week. Most seminarians also have a "house job", such as sacristan or bookstore manager. Each seminarian meets with his spiritual director twice monthly.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


Under Sulpician administration:[4]

  • 1884–89: John Baptist Hogan, S.S.[26]
  • 1889–94: Charles B. Rex[26]
  • 1894–01: John Baptist Hogan, S.S.
  • 1901–06: Daniel E. Maher, S.S.[27]
  • 1906–11: Francis P. Havey

Under archdiocesan administration:

  • 1911–26: John Bertram Peterson
  • 1926–33: Charles A. Finn
  • 1933–38: Joseph C. Walsh
  • 1938–50: Edward G. Murray
  • 1950–58: Thomas J. Riley
  • 1958–65: Matthew J. Stapleton
  • 1966–66: Lawrence J. Riley
  • 1966–71: John A. Broderick
  • 1972–81: Robert Joseph Banks
  • 1981–86: Alfred Clifton Hughes
  • 1986–91: Thomas J. Daly
  • 1991–99: Timothy J. Moran
  • 1999–2002: Richard G. Lennon
  • 2002–07: John A. Farren, OP
  • 2007–12: Arthur L. Kennedy
  • 2012–18: James P. Moroney
  • 2018–Present: Stephen E. Salocks (Interim)


  1. Mary L. Gautier and Jonathon Holland. "Catholic Ministry Formation Enrollments: Statistical Overview for 2015–2016" (PDF). Georgetown University (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate).
  2. Alice H. Songe. American universities and colleges: a dictionary of name changes. p. 173.
  3. "History", SJS
  4. Fenlon, John Francis. "Sulpicians in the United States." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 August 2019 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. "St. John's History". Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  6. "Dr. John Hogan, S.S." American Ecclesiastical Review. 25: 430–435. November 1901.
  7. "1941 Chap. 0313. An Act Changing The Name Of The Boston Ecclesiastical Seminary To St. John's Seminary And Authorizing The Granting Of Certain Additional Degrees By Said Seminary". The State Library of Massachusetts.
  8. Michael Paulson (December 14, 2008). "Stunning turnaround for St. John's Seminary". The Boston Globe.
  9. "Seminary of Archdiocese of Boston doubles enrollment". Catholic News Agency (ACI Prensa). December 18, 2008.
  10. Michael Paulson (April 21, 2004). "Diocesan headquarters sold to BC". The Boston Globe.
  11. "Statement of the Archdiocese of Boston and Boston College on sale of part of Brighton campus". The Boston Globe. April 20, 2004.
  12. John Farren, OP (May 23, 2007). "Response of Rector to Proposal". "Catholic Pundit Watch" (archived at Archived from the original on August 13, 2010.
  13. Michael Paulson (May 24, 2007). "Boston Archdiocese to sell headquarters for $65 million, move to Braintree". The Boston Globe.
  14. Michael Paulson (June 13, 2007). "Critic slams archdiocese land sale as betrayal". The Boston Globe.
  15. Mary L. Gautier. "Catholic Ministry Formation Enrollments: Statistical Overview for 2009–2010" (PDF). Georgetown University (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate).
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2010-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2010-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest, 1997, art. 13.
  20. Angela Franks and Jim Lockwood (September 4, 2009). "St. John's Seminary introduces Catechetical Certificate". The Boston Pilot.
  21. "Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada". Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  22. "Details: Saint John's Seminary". New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Retrieved 13 Jul 2010.
  24. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. John A. Butler (May 1898). "St. John's Ecclesiastical Seminary, Boston". American Ecclesiastical Review. 18 (5): 457.
  27. "Candidates Ordained in Boston". The New York Times. May 25, 1902.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.