$2-million gift to support theology, social justice teaching
By Paul Mayne
April 03, 2014
The most significant gift in its 102-year history, a $2-million endowment to St. Peter’s Seminary will strengthen its faculty with the creation of a new endowed chair.
From the Diocese of Hamilton, the donation will be given in four $500,000 installments for the creation of a faculty chair in Catholic Moral Theology and Social Justice. Seminary leaders say the gift will ensure the presence of top professors in the disciplines for decades to come.
“At the heart of a strong seminary is a strong faculty,” said Fr. Stevan Wlusek, St. Peter’s Seminary rector. “A faculty comprised of individuals who are deeply faith-filled witnesses of Christ, and who are highly qualified for their teaching through degrees achieved at schools of the highest calibre, ensure the education and spiritual formation of future leaders of faith whose ministry will stand the test of time.”
Part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, St. Peter’s, one of only six Roman Catholic seminaries, is the oldest English-speaking one in Canada. It trains future priests, deacons and lay leaders from dioceses across Canada. More than 1,100 priests and deacons have been ordained after studying at St. Peter’s since its founding in 1912.
“This extremely generous donation has caused a great deal of excitement to the community of students, staff and faculty here at the seminary,” said Wlusek, a faculty member since 2000 and rector since 2010. “We have some fine seminarians studying for the Diocese of Hamilton, which shows the confidence the Bishop of Hamilton has in the priestly formation offered by St. Peter’s.”
Through its affiliation with King’s University College, the seminary also offers graduate degrees in Theology for seminarians and lay students, including masters in Divinity and Theological Studies.
“The Diocese of Hamilton has benefitted greatly because of the service of our priests who have studied at St. Peter’s and we are pleased to be supporting such an exciting initiative,” said Douglas Crosby, Bishop of Hamilton. “I pray this contribution will be a strong sign of the support of the Diocese of Hamilton for St. Peter’s Seminary and the Diocese of London.”
The fields of Moral Theology and Social Justice are fundamental to the ministry of priests, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers in the church. With the ever-changing landscape of morals being espoused by various philosophies emerging in our society – like relativism, materialism and individualism – Wlusek said leaders of the church need to be grounded in teachings that endure, with unchanging principles, the dignity of the human person and the need for promoting the common good within society.
“Especially with the ever-new discoveries of modern science and technology, church leaders are being called upon to help individuals make important decisions about health and life issues, and recognize that ‘what can be done,’ through modern technology, may not always be ‘what should be done,’ based on the sacredness of human life,” he said.
“Our pope calls us to consider social justice as being the very heart of the Gospel message, not just an extension of it. For these reasons, and many others, a dedicated chair in the areas of Moral Theology and Social Justice make sense for both the needs of future ministers.”
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