Annual Borromeo Weekend Includes Nov. 6 Candlelight Procession of 220 Seminarians

The 220 seminarians who attend the two seminaries affiliated with the University of St. Thomas – one undergraduate and one graduate – will gather Nov. 6-8 for their 11th annual Borromeo Weekend.

Named for St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminarians, the weekend is set aside for 40 hours of worship and fellowship between the graduate-level Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity and the undergraduate St. John Vianney College Seminary. What began in 2005 as a way to increase fraternity between the seminaries has grown into a communitywide event that is open to the public.

The weekend begins with a 7 p.m. Mass Friday, Nov. 6, at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, located at Cleveland and Laurel avenues on the university’s main campus. Following Mass, a candlelight procession will cross the main campus and end at St. Mary’s Chapel, located on the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity campus at Summit Avenue and Mississippi River Boulevard. Officers from the university’s Public Safety Department will stop traffic on Summit and Cretin avenues for the procession to cross from one campus to the other.

Enrollment at both seminaries is strong this year; the seminarians come from 30 dioceses, religious orders and institutes of religious life from around the country and world.

St. John Vianney, the seminary for undergraduates, was established on the St. Thomas campus in 1968 and enrolls 136 this year, or about 10 percent of all college seminarians in the United States.

The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity has been preparing men for the priesthood since 1894, when railroad magnate James J. Hill and his Catholic wife, Mary T. Hill, donated money to build a seminary on Summit Avenue. It became the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity through a 1987 affiliation with St. Thomas. Today, it enrolls 84 men studying for the priesthood. Another 74 lay people and members of religious communities are studying for their master’s degrees in theology, pastoral ministry and religious education.

Sixty-two men are currently studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis: 27 of the 31 in formation at a major seminary are at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity; 30 of the 31 in formation at a minor seminary are at St. John Vianney College Seminary.

More information about the Borromeo Weekend can be found here.