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A Communication to Students from Father Kevin

by psieracki
Tue, Apr 28th 2020 04:00 pm

Dear CKS students,

The grace of our Risen Lord be with you!

It is my prayer that each of you and your loved ones are well during these challenging days of being afflicted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. I am writing to provide you with an update on the status of academic programs imbedded in the revisioning of ministerial formation for the Diocese of Buffalo, and also to extend a personal note of gratitude to the CKS community.

Revisioning Ministerial Formation

Bishop Scharfenberger, the apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Buffalo, has made the following decisions based on the recommendations of the academic and formation subcommittee of the Revisioning Ministerial Formation Steering Committee:

1.    The Diocese of Buffalo will send most of its seminarians to St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland—the first Roman Catholic seminary in the United States.  St. Mary's is operated by the Society of the Priests of St. Sulpice (the Sulpicians) and it has a longstanding reputation for excellence in formation and academic programs.

2.    To assist those in their last year of priestly formation, the Diocese of Buffalo will have a last year of priestly formation and academic studies. There will be a total of seven seminarians who will remain at the Christ the King Seminary campus, all residing in and utilizing the Administration building only. The Diocese of Buffalo will have four seminarians; the Diocese of Ogdensburg will have two; and the Diocese of Syracuse will have one. All seven seminarians will be accompanied and taught by highly qualified formators and adjunct instructors to earn an accredited Master of Divinity degree and to be recommended for ordination to the priesthood. 

3.    The seminary's board of trustees voted to continue its academic programs and operations on a limited basis, also within the Administration building, so that graduate students in their final year within the seminary's Master of Arts in Theology and/or Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry degree may, if they so desire, complete their degrees andreceive their degree from Christ the King Seminary. 

4.    The final academic year will run from August 2020 through May 2021. All academic programs and operations at its campus located at 711 Knox Road will be suspended no later than August 1, 2021. 

5.    Current and future graduate students will be encouraged to, and all candidates within the diaconate program will be enrolled at St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry, Rochester, N.Y. St. Bernard's is a high-quality institution fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools of North America.  Deacon Timothy Chriswell, director of the deacons and lay programs for the Diocese of Buffalo, will be the liaison for all students enrolled and seeking admission to its School of Theology.

6.    The seminary is in the process of establishing a Teach-Out Plan with St. Bernard's for students matriculated in one of the seminary's degree programs.  This Plan is intended to facilitate student completion of degrees and to ensure that all matriculated students are given a high level of assistance in the transition from institution to institution. Whereas specific details about the Plan and the transition will be forthcoming within the next two weeks, presently it is anticipated that the Plan will include:

  • All currently matriculated students (provisional and full), whether active or inactive, will be afforded the opportunity to transition to St. Bernard's through the end of the next academic year.
  • All credits recorded on a CKS transcript (inclusive of any transferred in from other schools) will be accepted by St. Bernard's. 
  • In general, if a student is approximately halfway through with their CKS degree, there will be no changes to the number of credits that must be earned in order to receive a corresponding degree from St. Bernard's.
  • The tuition rate will be maintained at the CKS level, subject to the standard annual percentage increases
  • Efforts will be made to match financial aid. 
  • Courses of instruction for Buffalo Diocese students will be accomplished through distance learning and/or in person at a satellite location within the Buffalo Metropolitan area, excluding independent and directed studies. 

7.    All formation programs will be evaluated and options presented in an ongoing and appropriate manner.

 

On a Personal Note

As the academic year and closure of the seminary is upon us, I want to express my deep gratitude for the opportunity to serve the mission of Christ the King Seminary as its 27th president-rector.  The seminary has a grace-filled history of preparing men and women for servant leadership ministry in the Church and I feel so blessed by our Lord to be part of this sacred mission on such
sacred grounds. 

Our students and seminarians give me great hope in their joy for ministry.  I have been given the opportunity to work with women and men whose dedication to forming holy and professional ministers has been both humbling and inspiring. The faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, donors, and our board members have passionately and generously given of their time, talent, and treasure to this mission that has come out of the heart of the Church. Thank you for your profound contribution to Christ the King Seminary and let's continue to take up the call that was given to
St. Francis: "go and rebuild my Church..."

In Christ,

Reverend Kevin G. Creagh, CM
President-Rector

Buffalo Seminary School