Years of planning, fundraising, deconstruction and construction – all part of the Heart of a Shepherd Campaign – culminated on Dec. 2, 2022, when Bishop Edward Malesic blessed the newly renovated Saint Mary and Borromeo Seminaries.
There was a sense of joy in the crowd of about 200 benefactors, seminarians, seminary faculty and staff, pastors, representatives of religious orders and diocesan staff members.
“Investing this much into the seminary lets people know we intend to stay here,” Bishop Malesic said. “We form our seminarians to have courage, strength and faith. We want to ensure that they have the best environment to pursue their priestly formation. This is a place where they can form lifetime friends with each other and Jesus.”
Father Mark Latcovich, president and rector of the seminaries, and Rick Schultz of St. Mary Parish in Hudson, chair of the Heart of a Shepherd campaign, also spoke. After evening prayer in Sacred Heart Chapel and a reception in the Founders’ Room, visitors enjoyed tours of the newly renovated seminary.
The Heart of a Shepherd campaign was an extraordinary endeavor, one that had its share of twists and turns. It began in 2018 as a $30 million initiative to provide funding for much-needed seminary updates, the priest retirement fund and to help newly ordained priests burdened with student debt. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, the campaign expanded to help parishes fund their pressing needs. In a show of enormous support, generous donors far exceeded the original goal, raising $52 million with $12.9 million of that to support the parishes.
“We thought there would be only 4,000 donors, but not in our diocese. There were 13,520 donors,” Schultz said. Bishop Malesic credited the late Bishop Anthony Pilla for developing a vision to renovate the facilities. The bishop and Schultz both expressed gratitude to all those who took leadership and support roles in the Heart of a Shepherd campaign.
“Thank you, also, to our benefactors today. We celebrate the bricks and mortar, but you, dear benefactors, are the living stones of our church,” said Bishop Malesic.