Reaching new milestones

Archbishop William Skurla presents vocation report to Serra Club

Archbishop William Skurla graciously accepted the Byzantine Serra Club’s invitation to speak at the Jan. 15 dinner meeting and give an update on Seminary developments.

Archbishop William opened with the announcement that the Seminary had “passed another milestone” by completing the American Theological Schools audit. It is a hard-won process, he said, and hopes that with this ATS approval, the Seminary will continue in good stead for “the next 10 years.”

He next reported on then student population of the Seminary: 12 Master of Divinity students from the Ruthenian and Melkite churches. “We will have three or four graduations in May. And we will have three or four new seminarians entering from the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and hope for more from other eparchies in the fall.”

Regarding the Deacon Program, the Archbishop said, “The Deacon Program will invite our nine deacons from Pittsburgh and the deacons from other eparchies back…for their second year of summer courses.”

The Archeparchy has 24 deacons serving to date. The Master of Theology (MAT) program has 23 students, both lay and ordained, taking classes this year. The online courses continue to grow, serving students “from all over the United States and the world.”

The three courses have over 50 people enrolled, bringing our Byzantine spiritual heritage far and wide. While the Catholic Church has grown to more than 1.3 million and our seminary prospers, “our number of priests went down a little last year, which was the first drop in 10 years.

The religious men and women continue to decline. This means you Serrans have your work cut out for you to continue to pray and work to increase vocations to ordained and religious life,” he concluded.

He announced a proposed gathering of adult Byzantines in Pittsburgh in November and the presbyteral ordination of Deacon Thomas Wells in Houston, Texas on Jan. 18