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Sulpicians host farewell to St. Patrick’s Seminary

09 5.25.17_sulpicians.goodbye PAGEMore than 500 guests sing the concluding hymn at the prayer service bidding farewell to the Sulpicians at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University chapel on May 13. (Photo by Michael Collopy)

May 25, 2017

In a final tribute to their 118 years of service at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, the Society of St. Sulpice, Province of the United States, the Sulpicians, hosted a farewell celebration May 13, with a prayer service and luncheon to officially end their history of staffing the school.

More than 500 alumni, friends and supporters of the seminary attended the event. The celebrant for the prayer service was Sulpician Father Gladstone Stevens, outgoing president-rector of the seminary. Homilist was Sulpician U.S. Provincial Superior Very Rev. John C. Kemper.

Father Kemper noted the major impact the Sulpicians played in the life of the Catholic Church in Northern California and the Pacific Rim over the more than 100 years of staffing the seminary.

“At St. Patrick’s we have educated church leaders, both priests and bishops in the Sulpician tradition,” Father Kemper said in an announcement. “We are proud of these leaders and of our contribution in the region. But now, due to circumstances beyond our control, the Society of St. Sulpice must bid St. Patrick’s Seminary… Adieu! We wish God’s blessing upon the new faculty and administration as they begin to build on the 118-year foundation built by generations of dedicated Sulpicians.”

As a parting gift to St. Patrick’s Seminary, the Sulpicians have established an endowed Sulpician Scholarship for a needy seminarian from a mission diocese attending St. Patrick’s.

“The current endowment can generate a partial scholarship, but with time and future contributions the corpus will grow,” the Sulpicians said.. “It is the hope of the Sulpicians that this endowment will become a full year scholarship.”

Each person attending the farewell celebration received “The Life and Times of François-Charles Nagot, Founding Superior of the Sulpicians in the U.S.,” a recently published book about the first Sulpician superior in the United States. The book was written by Sulpician Thomas R. Ulshafer for the 225th Anniversary of the Society of St. Sulpice (1791-2016) in the United States.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco announced Feb. 16, 2017, that Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone has appointed Jesuit Father George Schultze as president rector of the seminary. Father Schultze, who attended the luncheon, will take office July 1. Father Schultze has served as spiritual director and adjunct faculty member at the seminary since 2005. He served as assistant professor of social ethics at his congregation’s University of San Francisco from 1998-2004. He holds, among other degrees, a doctorate in social ethics from the University of Southern California.

The Sulpicians informed Archbishop Cordileone on Oct. 21, 2016, that they would cease to be part of St. Patrick’s as of June 30, 2017.

In a statement on Oct. 22, the archdiocese said, “We sincerely thank the Sulpicians for their very long service to the archdiocese and to those other dioceses served by the seminary. Before being informed of this decision, the Board of Trustees had intended to begin discussions that might lead to new seminary administrative models with the society. We regret that we did not have the opportunity to explore the possibility of forming a new collaborative model with the Sulpicians.”

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