Finding the Land to Grow Priests

Image
The ideal seminary environment is designed to assist in the formation of the “whole man.” It should form the spirit and turn the soul toward God. As such, we searched for property that was quiet, remote, and removed from the noise of secular society—fertile ground for the seed of a priestly vocation to grow.

“Part of the difficulty that we all have in a transient age is that everyone is rootless,” explains Rev. Matthew Kauth, Rector of St. Joseph College Seminary. A vocation is a seed of the priesthood, and a seminary by definition is a seedbed. “It’s necessary to create a bit of a buffer, a raised bed as it were, to plant that seed so a young man’s vocation can take root. We want to make sure these men are first rooted in Christ and secondly, organically connected to each other. As such, even their roots are entangled in the Diocese and with their brother priests.”
Image
On September 8, 2017, the Diocese purchased 86 acres of wooded land—plenty of room to put down roots deep enough to grow and support seminarians in our Diocese for generations to come.

The property is located just two miles from Belmont Abbey College at 1212 Perfection Avenue where St. Joseph’s seminarians will work toward an undergraduate degree in Philosophy as part of their priestly formation. It connects two parcels straddling the municipalities of Belmont and Mt. Holly and backs up to 50 acres of pasture, creating a buffer to allow for silence, contemplation, and recreation. Strong bonds will be formed between brother priests as they cookout, camp out, and work the land.
“The building, the structure — beautiful as it is — is attempting in its nobility and strength to be an image of that: a reminder of what we are supposed to become as men of virtue.”
Fr. Matthew Kauth, Rector

Sacred Spaces

The seminary building’s concept addresses the need for contemplative silence by providing partially cloistered, inward-directed spaces, places for peaceful gatherings, and areas for quiet study. It also provides the classrooms and common areas necessary for fostering theological and philosophical thinking. It will be a sacred space that evokes the presence of God in its buildings and in the details in and around the seminary itself.

The first phase of construction included 40 seminarian rooms, a refectory and kitchen, a conference room, classrooms, administrative offices, faculty rooms, guest rooms, a cloister walk, and a temporary chapel.
Aerial Photo
Aerial Photo
Site Plan
Site Plan
Main Level Floor Plan
Main Level Floor Plan
Second Level Floor Plan
Second Level Floor Plan
Anticipating future growth in the number of seminarians, Phase II will include additional seminarian rooms and a larger, permanent chapel. When complete, the seminary will be split into three different zones with the chapel and residential wings acting as ‘bookends’ to the academic and administration building. A capital campaign is currently underway to fund the construction of this project.
SUMMARY OF PROJECTED COSTS
Land Acquisition$1,397,000
Site Development$2,520,000
Professional Fees$1,434,000
Construction$11,347,000
Equipment, Fixtures, and Furnishings$1,052,000
Financing/Other$1,100,000
Campaign Costs$1,150,000
TOTAL$20,000,000

Check Out Our Building Progress

A divine break in the weather during Tropical Storm Florence allowed us to break ground on our new college seminary on September 15, 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. We are now well down the path to building our new home!

We still need your support to raise the $20 million for this project. We hope you will help build our seminary and support the formation of good and holy priests here in our Diocese where they will serve.

"Do you wish to be great? Then begin from what is slightest. Do you plan to construct a high and mighty building? Then think first about the foundation of humility. When people plan to erect a lofty and large building, they make the foundations all the deeper. But those who lay the foundation are forced to descend into the depths."
St. Augustine of Hippo (excerpt from Sermon 69, 2)

Moving In

In April of 2020, we were able to start moving into the newly built seminary. We emptied four houses worth of belongings and put them in their now permanent locations. The Echo class was the first incoming class to be welcomed into the new seminary building, where they are for the first time living in community with the other three classes under one roof.
Aula Magna
Aula Magna
Seminarian Bedroom
Seminarian Bedroom
Caverna
Caverna
Chapel
Chapel
Classroom
Classroom
Cloister
Cloister
Facade
Facade
Refectory
Refectory