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Here is news about St. John Vianney.  Listed with the most current article at the top.

Some great news today. The next Archbishop of Miami will be an SJV Alum! Thomas Wenski, SJV High School class of 1968, will replace Archbishop John Favalora who is retiring. He will become just the forth Archbishop of Miami. How wonderful it will be to get him back at home in Miami!

Local coverage here:

Miami Herald front page story about SJV 

Sunday, 11/29/2009

At St. John Vianney seminary in Westchester, young men defy odds to become priests
Bryan Garcia has an ear for Linkin Park and the Black Eyed Peas, feet for dancing salsa, a guilty pleasure in sitcoms, a love of soccer and a habit of slicking back his dark brown hair.

But something sets this 21-year-old apart from the typical college student: He's studying to be a Roman Catholic priest.

Garcia is one of 74 men at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Westchester. While the church nationally is coping with a shortage of priests, you wouldn't know it from St. Vianney, which is experiencing its largest enrollment in 3 ˝ decades.


SJV had a huge 50th Anniversary Celebration

Check the Reunion Page for more information

SJV College Seminary has launched an all new web site.  It looks great!  Check it out here.

If there was something you used to like form the old site, it's still available here.

Some sad news from the neighborhood...

The IHOP (International House of Pancakes) just north of Coral Way just closed.   I know a few of you have mentioned some fond memories of that restaurant.

Also, the K-Mart has closed and will be replaced by a new Home Depot.   Much of the mall on the SE corner of Coral Way and 87 Ave is closed now.  I remember getting keys to the school copied there while we were 'borrowing' the keys from a faculty member.

A vocations video with some video of our SJV today,1,5581425.story?page=2

Chicago shutters one of nation's last Catholic seminaries

Associated Press Writer

June 2, 2007, 12:34 PM CDT

CHICAGO -- For more than a century, Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary has quietly prepared teenage boys for the priesthood, largely unchanged as the city transformed around it from gritty industrial center to gleaming modern metropolis.

But another kind of change finally caught up with Quigley.

The 102-year-old seminary -- housed in a Gothic-style building that looks like it belongs on a square in Europe instead of in a tony Chicago shopping district -- will close its doors for good in two weeks because of a shrinking student body that has seen just one graduate ordained in the last 17 years.

It's the latest reminder that Catholic preparatory seminaries have all but vanished in the United States, and highlights the Church's struggle to find men willing to dedicate themselves to the priesthood.

"This is more or less the final nail in the coffin of the preparatory seminary," said R. Scott Appleby, a historian at the University of Notre Dame who has written extensively about the church.

"Historians of the Catholic Church will point to the closing of Quigley ... as a final landmark in a trend that has been building now for almost 50 years," he said.

As recently as the late 1960s, there were 122 high school seminaries in the U.S. with a combined student body of nearly 16,000, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

Quigley, which counts New York Cardinal Edward Egan and Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory among its alumni, was bursting with about 1,300 students in the 1950s; it had just 183 at the beginning of this school year. When church officials announced in September that the school would close, they said it would be $1 million in debt by June.

Its closure will leave just seven preparatory seminaries with a combined enrollment of about 500 students in the United States.

The decline of high school seminaries illustrates a dramatic shift in the way the church finds priests -- and how it's had to scramble to do so.

Parishes increasingly are being served by priests from foreign countries, in large part because fewer American men are becoming priests. At the same time, the average age of new priests is older, with many men waiting until their 30s, 40s and beyond.

When 13 priests were ordained last month in Chicago, all but one was from another country; nine were in their 30s. The lone American was a 42-year-old former advertising executive.

The reasons for the shift begin with how dramatically things have changed since Quigley opened in 1905.

Like other seminaries, Quigley, which moved to its present home in 1918, thrived because large Catholic families, many Irish or Polish, often sent at least one of their sons there.

"In the old days you had an Irish family with three kids. One was going to be a priest, one was going to be a cop and one was going to be a fireman, and the mother was going to be the one who decided which was which," said Peter Makrinski, a longtime teacher and coach at Quigley.

That began to change in the 1960s and '70s. Archdiocese spokesman James Accurso said that seminaries fell out of favor among young people for the same reason marrying right out of high school did.

"A lot of things in life are delayed, young people get married later and I think they join the priesthood later," he said.

Morgan Mellske, an 18-year-old Quigley senior, said that, while some students are considering becoming priests, most are not.

"I don't even know what I want to do with the rest of my life," said Mellske. "People become priests in the middle of their life."

Appleby, the historian, said there's more to it.

"It's a culture that raises a collective eyebrow at the notion of a young man or a young woman would renounce sexuality or sexual self expression," he said. "There's a general skepticism about the emotional health of people who would do that voluntarily," particularly, he said, at such a young age.

Within the church itself, more people began questioning the wisdom of training teenagers to become priests and forego sex.

"Our understanding (of sexuality) is more developed today," explained the Rev. Donald Cozzens, a professor at John Carroll University in Cleveland and a former seminary rector who criticized mandatory celibacy in a book, "Freeing Celibacy."

Further, as families shrank, so did the pool of prospective seminarians.

"When they don't have more than one boy, parents are very reluctant to let that child go into the priesthood," said Sister Katarina Schuth, a teacher at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, who has studied seminaries for more than two decades.

Even families that continued to send their sons to Quigley made it clear they were doing so for a Catholic education and not to start them on a path to the priesthood.

"The parents, they want their sons to make money, they want their sons to get married," Makrinski said. "They'd say, 'I'd much rather see them get a job."'

In fact, while more than 3,000 young men have graduated from Quigley in the last 17 years, just one, a 1999 graduate, has been ordained.

But student John Anschuetz, 17, says the school serves a purpose every bit as important as turning out priests.

"Just because we don't become priests doesn't mean the school isn't accomplishing its goal," he said.

Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press

For those who were at SJV during what many call the "Buckley" era:    Bob Fulton, the cathedral organist, passed away at the age of 76.   

I found the documents that were the very start of the SJV Campus.    Look at them on the Building History page here.

Under the heading of 'we know how you feel...  Our thoughts are with those currently enrolled at this seminary.

Quigley supporters seek to stop closing plan

By Manya A. Brachear and Margaret Ramirez
Tribune staff reporters

September 25, 2006, 7:33 PM CDT

Waving placards proclaiming "Good men wear black!" and fake "For Sale" signs with the address of the Chicago archbishop's Gold Coast residence, parents and alumni of Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary called on Cardinal Francis George to reverse his decision to close the school.

"The real reason Quigley ... is closing is the price of prime real estate in Chicago's Gold Coast," said state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), a 1982 graduate of Quigley Seminary South, which closed in 1990. "The cardinal has closed the doors on vocations. He has made a grave mistake."

Later Monday, as part of his first public comments since undergoing cancer surgery, George stood by the pronouncement, insisting in an interview that it was "the right decision."

The archdiocese announced last week that the century-old institution, intended to turn out priests who would serve the city, will close in June. Citing decades of declining enrollment, rising costs and a shortage of priests able to teach, the archdiocese also said the age of discernment has changed, making the concept of a high school seminary obsolete.

"The church is realizing that's a very big decision for a 14-year-old to make," said Pam Rubey, whose son Morgan Mellske is a senior at Quigley.

But she said the church is underestimating the lasting impact of a high school seminary education. Some men who are called to the priesthood later in life attended a high school seminary, she said, including the new associate pastor at her own parish, St. Hedwig.

Les Weiss, a 1976 graduate of Quigley South, said he regrets not following his classmates to the college seminary.

"Part of me always felt that I cheated God," said Weiss, whose son Michael is a freshman. "But I've got four children, three sons, and I'm hoping they'll make up for me. I tell Michael to listen to what God is telling you. They're taking away another opportunity for young boys to explore and think about it."

But George said parents like Weiss are an exception. In today's society, most families no longer encourage their sons to become priests, he said. A majority of parents and students have been choosing Quigley for its college preparatory curriculum, which includes the classics and Latin.

The school no longer fulfills its mission of sending young men to be ordained as priests, the cardinal said. Last year, four graduates went on to St. Joseph's Seminary, three of whom are still there. The year before, none of the graduates continued to St. Joseph's.

On Monday, parents panned the archdiocese for sending their children home last week with letters announcing the school's closure. They also questioned the archdiocese's reports of a $1 million operating and expenses deficit, pointing to the school's multimillion-dollar endowment. The cardinal said the archdiocese has been dipping into that fund for years.

Officials now are planning to put money from that endowment toward an extracurricular program at other Catholic high schools that would encourage boys to consider the priesthood. It also plans to hire more vocation directors to recruit potential priests, presumably adult men.

"It will really expand the whole pool, so to speak, of young men who are thinking about the priesthood," said archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Burritt.

Geri Cummings, whose son Robert is a senior at Quigley and twins Tim and Chris are freshmen, blames the archdiocese for raining on the energy and enthusiasm of a new school year.

"They agonized long and hard about where to go to high school," Cummings said of her sons. "Now it's like walking into a yearlong wake."

George, who has been conducting the business of the archdiocese while recuperating from cancer surgery, said he would meet with students and alumni as his public schedule widens. Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Senator Walter "Skip" Campbell, Class of 1966, is running for Florida State Attorney General.  Check his web page here.  Behind his picture, we can see the SJV Chapel.    His time at SJV is also featured in his Bio video.   Sept 5, 2006

From Paul Konsavage:

Found on the CM website. Paul Edwards has a malignant brain tumor. Please ask all to pray for him. Thanks.

Jim Blachura, High School Class of 1969,  has released his third CD album of contemporary Christian hymns to be sung in church by congregations! Entitled "I Will GIve Thanks" it follows two previous CD albums of worship songs "Goodness and Kindness" and "How Good Is God". For more info contact Msgr. Pablo Navarro at St Joh Neumann Parish in Miami or email

Alumni Association?

How does everyone feel about an Alumni Association?   

Kevin McNamara    HS '70  " I am active in the St. Meinrad Alumni Association and presently serve on the Alumni Board of Directors. I would like to work with you on establishing an SJV Alumni Association."

Dan Kroger  "This is great, we seem to have the beginnings with regard to the website. All it takes is time...
I would love to help - I think it is fair to limit it to the CM years and allow the current administration to create their own post CM years if they are interested. I think we could get ours going judging from the reflection comments. However, we should start soon before too many others like Chris Wright and Dennis McCarthy pass on..."

From the SJV College web site it seems like there may be one now:

The purpose of this Association is to foster fraternity among the alumni, to coordinate an Annual Reunion of the Alumni at the Seminary, to provide support for the Seminary from the membership and to seek such support from benefactors and friends of the Seminary. Membership in the Association is open to all alumni of the Seminary, lay and clerical."

The are almost two schools, the one most of us are from, the High School and Minor Seminary, pre-1975, under the direction of the Vincentian Fathers, and then the College of today, run Archdiocesan faculty.  

What are your thoughts?   Join the existing one?   Create our own?   Let's talk about this in the Mailing List.   

Please join our mailing list to help us coordinate a reunion or create an Alumni Association. Subscribe to stjohnvianneyseminary
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Another article about Bishop John Noonan from the Archdiocese web site.   Be sure to check his Biography and check the video.

A wonderful article about SJV's current Rector, Monsignor Noonan appeared in the August 21st Miami Herald.   See it here.  You may have to sign up for the Miami Herald service.  It's free and doesn't appear to cause spam.

Posted on Sun, Aug. 21, 2005

Click here to find out more!
  R E L A T E D   C O N T E N T 
IN PRAYER: Msgr. John Noonan at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Westchester.
IN PRAYER: Msgr. John Noonan at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Westchester.
 R E L A T E D   L I N K S 
 •  Four to watch
 •  Audio | Hear excerpts of the interview


Shepherd of the diocese


Monsignor John Gerard Noonan -- prankster priest, seminary rector and the next auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Miami -- seems more like your favorite uncle than a No. 2 man at the Archdiocese.

He cleans up the cafeteria alongside his students at St. John Vianney College Seminary, brings coffee to his secretary and often stashes his white plastic priest's collar in his shirt pocket, complaining it's too stuffy.

''He sweats the big stuff; he doesn't sweat the small stuff,'' said the Rev. José Alvarez, dean of students at St. John Vianney.

Born in Limerick, Ireland, Noonan, 54, has a soft, lilting accent and a searing wit. After studying biology at Florida Atlantic University in the 1970s, Noonan decided to fulfill a childhood dream of entering the priesthood. As a seminarian at St. John Vianney in Westchester, and later at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, he developed a reputation as one who hid friends' books and wrapped cars in toilet paper.

His colleagues say he has kept that sense of humor in 22 years of the priesthood -- all in South Florida, except for when he earned a master's degree in education at Boston College. Since 1996, he has been president-rector at St. John Vianney. ''Like any good Irishman, he loves a party,'' said the Rev. Robert Vallee, a philosophy professor at St. John Vianney.

Randy McGrorty, the head of Catholic Charities Legal Services, who has worked with Noonan to obtain visas for the seminary's international students, said Noonan's good-natured charm will help him tackle a more public role: ``Of all the priests in the Archdiocese of Miami that I have gotten to know, . . . John Noonan has always been the model priest personality.''

Noonan will need to harness that charm and wit to assume a top church post during one of the most troubled times in the Catholic Church's history. Since the sexual abuse scandal broke in 2001, U.S. church officials have had to face vocal demands from the laity who say the church did little to curb abuse. At the Miami archdiocese, which oversees 1.3 million Catholics in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests have demanded the archdiocese post the names of pedophile priests on the archdiocese website. The archdiocese has responded with a letter citing its updated policy for ``reporting allegations and determining the credibility of such allegations and dealing with the accused.''

Noonan says he is ready for the challenge, noting that his relationship with the late Archbishop Edward McCarthy prepared him for his new role. McCarthy, who lived at the seminary in his retirement, died on June 7, a day before Noonan learned he would be named a bishop.

''It was as if Archbishop McCarthy was his father, the way he took care of him,'' said the Rev. Jean Pierre of St. James parish in North Miami, who was spiritual director at St. John Vianney for 10 years. ``He's going to bring that into his ministry as a bishop, this kind of openness and love and generosity.''

Wednesday, Noonan will be ordained as an auxiliary bishop in an elaborate ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral, joining Archbishop John Favalora, 69, and Auxiliary Bishop Felipe de Jesús Estévez, 59, to head the archdiocese.

In an excerpted interview with The Herald, Noonan reflected on his years as a young priest, his relationship with McCarthy and the challenges facing the Archdiocese of Miami:

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a priest?

A: Growing up in Ireland -- it's a very Catholic country -- I always had the dream of being a priest. As a small kid, you know, you play being a priest. We'd do baptisms and all those things.

Q: What pushed you?

A: I was living in Florida going to school. In those days -- the early '70s -- there were a lot of Irish priests here and I got involved with them in youth work. One evening after doing a crazy youth retreat in a gym with two or three hundred kids, one of the priests said to me, 'You enjoy this, John,' and I said, 'I love it. This is great fun,' and he said, `Why don't you do it full time?'

Q: What brought you to South Florida?

A: My mom moved to Florida. After living in the snow in New York [at Fordham University], I said 'Holy God, the first chance I get I'm going to come here.'. . . I was studying biology at Florida Atlantic University, working in equine infectious anemia. I grew up on a farm so I knew everything about animals.

Q: What were the biggest surprises about the priesthood?

A: You're a hot shot when your first ordained. You think you know everything [giggles]. You think you have all the practice and suddenly realize, 'Oh I made a mistake.' You go to a funeral home some night, and you're so busy, and you go in and do the wrong service for the wrong people. And they end up not being Catholic, thank you very much.

Q: What were some of your first impressions of South Florida?

A: At St. Edward's of Palm Beach, which is very, very wealthy, we had a car wash planned. The kids said, 'No we're not going to do a car wash. We're going to do an airplane wash.' They said all our dads have planes and we're going to go wash them at the airport. I guess I was one of the few CYOs [Catholic Youth Organizers] in the world doing airplane washes instead of car washes.

Q: Are you concerned that as a bishop, you'll be removed from the laity?

A: As a priest you interact with a community, and as a bishop you interact with a larger community. I would like to keep that. That's what feeds me.

Q: You're doing a Mass rotation during your first year as bishop. How many churches will you visit?

A: Probably 60 or 70 parishes.

Q: You were a personal assistant to the late Archbishop Edward McCarthy. What did you learn from him?

A: We used to take him out for ceremonies. You got to experience firsthand what he was experiencing.

. . . It wasn't so much that he actively taught you to become a bishop. You saw what needed to be done and what could be done. He was a very simple man.

Q: As auxiliary bishop, you will be heading the Office of Persons. Previously you've headed the Ministry to Priests. What will your new job entail?

A: Now I'm going to take care not just of the diocesan priests but of all the religious priests, Jesuits, Carmelites. [pauses to look up the description of the office in the archdiocese's directory]. And you're a liaison to police, law enforcement, lawyers, dentists, doctors, firemen. . .

Q: Do you anticipate making any changes to the office?

A: Are you joking? Do I know what I'm doing?

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the archdiocese?

A: I have to encourage young people to think about the priesthood.

. . . The biggest thing that young people think about priesthood today is that it's a loss of family, a loss of intimacy, but your life is still intertwined with people. There are a lot of rewards.

Q: What about immigration, does that pose a challenge for the church?

A: We've been blessed in many ways, with the influx of immigrants. The churches are booming. We have a lot of new Catholics coming in. The question would be, are their needs being met?

Q: What about the priest shortage?

A: We still need priests, but probably we're luckier than most because Miami is a young church still. We still have quite a number of priests. The diocese was founded in 1958. Some of our priests are retiring, but some dioceses in the north have 40 priests retiring in a year.

Q: How many priests are retiring in Miami?

A: Probably we ordain an average of three, four priests a year, and I would say maybe four retire.

Q: Does the priest shortage mean a greater role for lay people?

A: Up until the late '70s, only priests could give out Communion and now you have lay people giving out Communion. You have permanent deacons, you have eucharistic ministers, you have lay people visiting the sick in hospitals.

Q: Do you envision an expanded role for women?

A: Go into any parish office. Look at any director of religious education, it's mostly women. I always tell the guys in the seminary, 'You know, you're going to have to work with a lot of women.' . . . They're the backbone of some of our ministries.

Q: What about ordaining women?

A: I can't do anything. It's the decision of the church. I depend on the wisdom of the church to help me make those kind of decisions.

Q: Should the church allow married Catholic priests to serve to make up for the priest shortage?

A: You're asking me a question I can't answer right now. To understand the whole ministry of priesthood is hard because our culture doesn't even understand what it means to be a priest.

Q: What should the archdiocese do in the wake of the scandal to regain lay people's trust?

A: The biggest thing I can do right now is to make sure these young men are prepared to be good priests and to let them know the church can't tolerate anything like this anymore. . . . For a young man to come into the seminary, there's a whole barrage of psychological testing.

It's not that we have all the answers, but we have a lot more checks and balances, a lot more education. . . . We were probably very nave across the board. Things happened that should never have been allowed to happen.

Q: What has the archdiocese done to ensure that abuse gets reported and pedophile priests are removed?

A: All those guidelines come from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. We're evaluated on those things; we have no choice.

Q: Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests have asked [Archbishop John] Favalora to meet with victims of sexual abuse and visit parishes that have been affected. Do you plan to do that?

A: That's the whole ministry of a priest -- to help heal. What would Christ do? He would reach out to people and that's very important now.

Q: Do you think the church's response has been adequate?

A: People are more aware that mistakes were made and are wondering how do we build a better church. The priests are learning; the lay people are learning.

Q: So how do you bring about healing?

A: There's no easy answer in that. It's not all education. There's a dimension of spirituality, there's a dimension of holiness. There's no magic formula.



From: Jim Quinn 
Subject: SJV update

Class of 1969: Jim Blachura has made available Compact Disc of Congregational Hymns for use in parishes nationwide...a second CD will be available in December 2005 with two more to be released in the calendar year 2006. $10 includes disc and shipping...Contact email mghtyqnmsc (dot thing) yahoo (dot thing) com for information and ordering.


July 02, 2005

At the suggestion of Michael.Miciak, I have created a new Yahoo Groups mailing list for us:

Please join our SJV Alumni Mailing list: Subscribe to stjohnvianneyseminary
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Feb. 26, 2005

While I was on campus for a Memorial Mass for St. Brendan High, I took a long walk around.   While I was there, SJV's current Rector, Msgr. John Noonan, saw me and asked about this web site.  He has been recommending it to alumni who visit.   I'm very thankful for the referrals.

A couple items about campus.   


You might remember a very small building in front of the Chapel and the College Building.  This is where the power company's transformer for the campus is located. There was a small fire there caused by some overgrown vines.  It was all 1950's vintage equipment.  While there was no damage to the school, it has resulted in power reductions due to temporary wiring that had to be done.   Air Conditioning in the Chapel, for example, can not be used.  I'm sure this is only a temporary situation.  Luckily, since this was a separate building, there was no damage at all to the school.


I asked about any reunion plans.   No, but there is something that might be close.   The Chapel pipe organ is in need of overhaul.  They hope to have a ceremony to celebrate its return to service.   When they do this, they may invite back a very popular Vencention music teacher.  I'm guessing Fr. Buckley.   Msgr. Noonan promised to let me know when this is finalized so I can let everyone here know.


After the updates, Msgr. Noonan invited me to lunch.  I can't tell how much of a  thrill it was to again eat a meal in the Refectory.  So many wonderful memories came rushing back.   It was everything I could do to not wash my own dishes.   The kitchen is very much as you will remember it.  The dining room has been updated with new lighting, ceiling tiles and wall coverings.   The same beautiful floor tile is there.  Today the Refectory serves the Seminary and all the students of St. Brendan High School for lunch.   



One of our bothers made national news tonight.   Florida State Sen. Skip Campbell, High School Class of 1966, was interviewed on the Wednesday, 4/13/2005 60 Minutes program.

"State Sen. Skip Campbell says there's plenty of blame to go around. "Somebody didn't do their job," says Campbell.

"You have a child who's black and blue, who was beat up, who is 3 years old with a mother who should be classified immediately as a high-risk mother...[Angel's death is] the textbook example of how a system fails."


If any of you visit campus, or otherwise find some news about SJV, please send it to me.