Saint John's Seminary (Massachusetts)

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For other uses, see St. John's Seminary.
St. John's Seminary
Chapel at St. John's Seminary
Established 1884
Type Private, Graduate
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Rector James Patrick Moroney
Dean Edward Riley
Vice Rector Christopher K. O'Connor
Academic staff
seminary: 9 F/T, 12 P/T
lay programs: 19[1]
Students 91 seminarians,
approx. 60 laity
Location Brighton, Massachusetts, USA
42°20′38.45″N 71°9′47.18″W / 42.3440139°N 71.1631056°W / 42.3440139; -71.1631056Coordinates: 42°20′38.45″N 71°9′47.18″W / 42.3440139°N 71.1631056°W / 42.3440139; -71.1631056
Campus Urban
Website [1]

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

Founded in 1884, the seminary has 91 seminarians[2] and approximately 60 lay students, mostly from dioceses in New England.

The current rector is Msgr. James P. Moroney, professor of liturgy and executive secretary of the Vox Clara commission of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


St. John's Hall viewed from Lake Street


The construction of the Boston Ecclesiastical Seminary[3] began in 1881, and Archbishop John Joseph Williams entrusted the seminary to the Sulpician Fathers.[4] The school was completed in 1884, and the first students began classes there on September 22, 1884.[5] The Seminary's first rector was John Baptist Hogan.[6]

The Seminary was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts in 1892. In 1911, at the request of Archbishop William Henry O'Connell, the Sulpicians withdrew from the seminary.[4]

Grounds surrounding seminary

Saint John's Seminary adopted its present name in 1941.[3][7]


Cardinal O'Connell Seminary, the archdiocesan minor seminary in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, was merged with Saint John's Seminary in 1968.[3] In 1970 its programs were relocated to a Foster Street site in Saint Clement's Hall.

Crisis and recovery after 2000[edit]

Enrollment at Saint John's declined drastically in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston. From a peak of 86 students in the academic year 2001–2002, enrollment fell to 34 for the year 2005–2006. The seminary recovered thereafter to reach a student population of 63 two years later.[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, BC 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]

Current status[edit]

For the academic year 2009–2010 enrollment in the Seminary is 91, comprising 81 diocesan seminarians and 10 religious.[2] Most students are from dioceses in New England, including the four Roman Catholic dioceses of Massachusetts: the Archdiocese of Boston, the Diocese of Fall River, the Diocese of Springfield, and Diocese of Worcester; the Archdiocese of Hartford, and the dioceses of Burlington, which encompasses all of Vermont, the Diocese of Manchester, which encompasses all of New Hampshire, and the Diocese of Providence, which encompasses all of Rhode Island. Beginning in the academic year of 2014-2015, St. John's began receiving seminarians from the Diocese of Rochester, NY. As well, that same year, the Diocese of Portland, Maine, which encompasses all of Maine, began resending seminarians. St. John's also serves as the seminary for a few men who are from dioceses outside the US.[15]

Statue of St. Patrick, patron of the Archdiocese of Boston

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.

Current faculty[edit]

Administration and Formation Directors[edit]

  • Rector – Rev. Msgr. James P. Moroney, S.T.L. Diocese of Worcester
  • Vice Rector – Rev. Christopher O'Connor, S.T.L. '98

  • Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation – Rev. Edward Riley, M.Div. '00
  • Director of Human Formation – Rev. Raymond Van De Moortell, Ph.D., M.L.I.S. '76
  • Director of Spiritual Formation – Rev. Msgr. John McLaughlin, M.Div. '95
  • Director of Intellectual Formation (Interim) – Prof. Paul Metilly (Ph.D. Candidate)
  • Director of Pre-Theology – Rev. David Pignato, S.T.D. '00 Diocese of Fall River
  • Director of Liturgy – Rev. Joseph Briody, S.S.L. '95 Diocese of Raphoe, Ireland

Resident and Full-Time Faculty[edit]

  • Very Rev. Romanus Cessario, OP, S.T.D., '71 (Moral Theology)
  • Rev. Msgr. Cornelius "Connie" M. McRae, '61 (Spiritual Director)
  • Very Rev. Mark O'Connell, J.C.D. '90 (Canon Law)
  • Rev. Stephen Salocks, S.S.L., '80 (Scripture)
  • Rev. Joseph Scorzello, Ph.D., '69 (Spiritual Director, Philosophy)
  • Dr. Janet Hunt, FAGO, D.M.A. (Music Director)

Adjunct Faculty[edit]

  • Rev. James Conn, SJ, J.D., J.C.D. (Canon Law)
  • Rev. John Grimes, Ph.D. (Pastoral Theology)
  • Rev. Peter Grover, OMV, S.T.L, '90 (Greek)
  • Rev. Msgr. Robert Johnson (Liturgy) Diocese of Worcester
  • Rev. Thomas MacDonald, '13 (Philosophy)
  • Rev. Mark Mahoney, J.C.L. '86 (Canon Law)
  • Rev. Dennis McManus, D.Litt., Theo (Liturgy) Archdiocese of Mobile
  • Rev. Mark Murphy, M.Div, M.A. '11 (Catechism)


  • Dr. Angelica Avcikurt, Ph.D. (Spanish)
  • Dr. Phillip Crotty, M.Sc. (Latin)
  • Dr. Stephen Fahrig, S.T.D. (Scripture)
  • Dr. Angela Franks, Ph.D. (Theology)
  • Dr. Leonard Maluf, S.S.L., S.T.D. (Old Testament)
  • Dr. Ann Orlando, S.T.D. (Patristics, Church History)
  • Dr. Richard Spinello, M.B.A., Ph.D. (Philosophy – Ethics)


St. John’s Seminary is located on Lake Street in Brighton, Massachusetts. The nearest transit station is the MBTA Boston College light-rail stop (Green Line).


Seminary programs[edit]

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.[16]

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."[17] Those who complete the Pre-Theology Program may qualify to receive a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.).

St. John's Seminary exterior

Programs for lay students[edit]

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.[18] The MAM division of TINE also offers non-credit catechist training programs in evangelization and apologetics.[19]


The Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools[20] and by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.[21]


Seminarians partake in sports including basketball, football, golf, softball, and soccer.,[22] 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.[23]

Daily life[edit]

In addition to their daily schedule of classes and services in chapel,[24] 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 his spiritual director at least once per month.

Organ in seminary chapel
Statue of St. John the Evangelist

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


Here is a list of the rectors of the Seminary.

Under Sulpician administration:[4]

  • 1884–1889: John Baptist Hogan, S.S.[25]
  • 1889–1894: Charles B. Rex[25]
  • 1894–1901: John Baptist Hogan, S.S.
  • 1901–1906: Daniel E. Maher, S.S.[26]
  • 1906–1911: Francis P. Havey

Under archdiocesan administration:

  • 1911–1926: John Bertram Peterson
  • 1926–1933: Charles A. Finn
  • 1933–1938: Joseph C. Walsh
  • 1938–1950: Edward G. Murray
  • 1950–1958: Thomas J. Riley
  • 1958–1965: Matthew J. Stapleton
  • 1966–1966: Lawrence J. Riley
  • 1966–1971: John A. Broderick
  • 1972–1981: Robert Joseph Banks
  • 1981–1986: Alfred Clifton Hughes
  • 1986–1991: Thomas J. Daly
  • 1991–1999: Timothy J. Moran
  • 1999–2002: Richard G. Lennon
  • 2002–2007: John A. Farren, OP
  • 2007–2012: Arthur L. Kennedy
  • 2012–present: James P. Moroney


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Mary L. Gautier. "Catholic Ministry Formation Enrollments: Statistical Overview for 2009–2010" (PDF). Georgetown University (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate). 
  3. ^ a b c Alice H. Songe. American universities and colleges: a dictionary of name changes. p. 173. 
  4. ^ a b c "Sulpicians". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume XVI. New York: Universal Knowledge Foundation. 1914. p. 331. 
  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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b John Farren, OP (May 23, 2007). "Response of Rector to Proposal". "Catholic Pundit Watch" (archived at 
  13. ^ a b 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. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest, 1997, art. 13.
  19. ^ Angela Franks and Jim Lockwood (September 4, 2009). "St. John’s Seminary introduces Catechetical Certificate". The Boston Pilot. 
  20. ^ "Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada". Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  21. ^ "Details: Saint John's Seminary". New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Retrieved 13 Jul 2010. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b John A. Butler (May 1898). "St. John's Ecclesiastical Seminary, Boston". American Ecclesiastical Review 18 (5): 457. 
  26. ^ "Candidates Ordained in Boston". The New York Times. May 25, 1902. 

External links[edit]