After sending out our flyer soliciting support for a new seminary, we have been daily receiving responses which are highly generous and most encouraging. Along with these responses, we have received some questions which we would like to answer here.
- Why don’t you simply add on to the seminary in Winona?
We have looked into this possibility very carefully for several years. While Br. Marcel was here, he produced a set of drawings detailing plans for expanding the Winona seminary. These plans, which provided more rooms, more classroom space, and a larger sacristy, were bid at that time at around $10 million. But the plans did not address the overcrowding in the chapel and the refectory, the overtaxed heating and septic systems, and conformity with updated building codes. To solve these other problems would greatly surpass the amount bid. Our superiors rejected this possibility as an imprudent use of assets. A new complex, on the other hand, would require less maintenance and would greatly reduce operational costs.
- Why don’t you purchase one of the many seminaries which are for sale in the United States?
We have also seriously considered this possibility over a number of years. Every possible candidate that we have looked at has suffered from one or more major difficulties: size, disrepair, cost of maintenance, or refusal to sell to the SSPX. Once again, it seems more feasible, and a better use of assets, to build a new seminary.
- Why not split the seminary?
This possibility, while indeed solving the problem of overcrowding in Winona, would entail a double operational cost and an increased professorial staff, not to mention that we would still need to acquire a new house of formation. Likewise, from the point of view of priestly formation, it is preferable to keep the seminary together; in this way, the senior seminarians can help to form the new candidates, and the staff is given more time to evaluate their vocations.
- How much is the new seminary going to cost? How are you going to raise the money?
The current projected cost is $25 million. This number is based upon the building costs in rural Virginia and upon economic trends. To raise this amount, the Seminary plans to launch a professional fundraising campaign directed to people both inside and outside of the SSPX family.
- How long is the construction estimated to take?
The construction time will be approximately 30 months. The Seminary has already obtained county approval for the project and could begin the work as early as December 2011, if the necessary funds are forthcoming and our superiors approve.
- Why did you choose Virginia as the location for a new seminary?
The Virginia location – 700 acres near Charlottesville – assures complete privacy for the new seminary, beautiful mountain views, and excellent weather. In addition, numerous historical and cultural sites in the vicinity will bolster the seminarians’ formation. Traveling to and from the seminary will pose no difficulty thanks to two nearby airports. Also, low property taxes and revenue from the land’s timber resources promise to reduce our demands on the faithful. Finally, our future neighbors are fully supportive of having a Catholic seminary in the area.
If you wish to help us make this project a reality, send us your promise to donate by phone (507-454-8000),