Seminary Life -- Recent News

2020 Virtual Christmas concert rehearsal and taping

The closing of 40 Hours: November 3, 2020


These men in the School of Diaconal Formation were admitted to Candidacy for Holy Orders and will be ordained Deacons in 2025. They are pictured here with Bishop Timothy Senior, Rector and Monsignor Gregory Fairbanks, Dean of the School of Diaconal Formation.


The first weekend in October Bishop Senior blessed the dorm rooms on campus.



Saturday, October 3 was Cassock Day at the seminary when new men from both the College Seminary and the Theology Seminary receive their cassocks for the first time.



This year the College Seminary Apostolate has become a group effort. Due to the Coronavirus restrictions at many of our previous assignment locations, the collegians were not able to have individual assignments. Instead the college seminarians are going out together and are volunteering at Caring for Friends located in Northeast Philadelphia.

Under the supervision of Mr. Vincent J. Schiavone, the collegians have been making meals, working hard creating, filling, and sorting through boxes of donated food at the warehouse. The seminarians arrive at noon, have a poor man’s lunch of sandwich and water, and work non-stop until 4:00 p.m.

The collegians all have the opportunity to experience a different aspect of the program each time they volunteer. Some put together the food boxes that are used for the food pantries, others sort through large trucks of donated food, and some work to make snack bags. In the future, the collegians will be sent out to the distribution centers. Caring for Friends delivers over 28,000 meals per month and 1.5 million pounds food all over the 5-county Philadelphia region and they are solely reliant on volunteers.

I cannot relay how proud I am of the College seminarians for their efforts in supporting this outstanding organization. The Caring for Friends staff are very impressed with the work ethic and joyful spirit of our seminarians and cannot believe all the work they accomplish. These men work tirelessly and as a team! They continue working until the tasks are completed and look forward to their next visit. I can honestly attest that these are not easy jobs and the men put forth their strength and energy to get the food packaged and ready for delivery. This week we were the only group that volunteered and the demand for food continues to grow significantly.

On Thursday, September 24th, the collegians made 1,100 meals for shut-ins and 500 food boxes. While we were there, Caring for Friends received 19 phone calls from 19 food centers in Delaware County. The seminarians filled these orders which would, in turn, feed 5,000-10,000 people. Mr. Schiavone stated that it was God’s Divine Providence that the Saint Charles Borromeo College seminarians are here today to prepare and box all the food for those so desperately in need. It has been amazing to see the College seminarians working together, giving freely of their talents and energy. “Sons of God”, we are all very proud of you! We look forward to going with the men to Caring for Friends again on October 8th!

Have a blessed day,
Father Szparagowski
Dean of Men
College Seminary


Yesterday was the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary's Seventh Annual Golf Outing presented by J.J. White, Inc. More than 190 golfers participated at two picturesque golf courses: Gulph Mills Golf Club and Philadelphia Country Club. For the second straight year our event was chaired by Joe McLoughlin, CEO, Haverford Trust. We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their support. All proceeds from the Golf Outing support the seminary's mission of forming priests after the heart of Jesus Christ.



Today, Mass with the Institution of Lectors was held in the Chapel of Saint Martin of Tours on campus. Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, D.D., the bishop of Arlington, VA was the principal celebrant. Candidates were from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, PA; the Diocese of Allentown, PA; the Diocese of Arlington, VA; the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA; and the Diocese of Lincoln, NE. Candidates included seminarians and candidates for the Permanent Diaconate.


Five members of the Ordination Class of 2020 representing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia concelebrated Mass in the Chapel of Saint Martin of Tours on campus with the faculty, staff and student body. It was livestreamed so that the other members of the class from other diocese who weren't able to participate in person could participate virtually. Pictured here outside in front of the Chapel are: (front row) Father Wilmer Chirino Gonzalez, Father Louis Monica, Father Kevin Okafor, (Back row) Father August Taglianetti, Bishop Timothy Senior and Father Cesar Izaguirre Gonzalez.


Today was the celebration of the Mass with the Institution of Acolytes for both seminarians and candidates for the permanent diaconate. The Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald, D.D., J.C.D. was the principal celebrant in the Chapel of Saint Martin of Tours. Candidates were from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese of Colombo, the Diocese of Arlington, the Diocese of Greensburg, the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Diocese of Lincoln, the Diocese of Raleigh, and the Congregation of the Mission.


Saint Charles Seminary kicked off the 2020-2021 academic year with 27 new men amongst its total enrollment of 156 men.


Archbishop Perez ordained five new priests for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and the Shrine of Saint Katharine Drexel.  Listed below is each priest and his first assignment.

Reverend Wilmer Chirino, Parochial Vicar, Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish, Philadelphia
Reverend Cesar Izaguirre, Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of Grace Parish, Penndel
Reverend Louis Monica, Parochial Vicar, Saints Peter and Paul Parish, West Chester
Reverend Kevin Okafor, Parochial Vicar, Saint Elizabeth Parish, Upper Uwchlan
Reverend August Taglianetti, Parochial Vicar, Saint Pius X Parish, Broomall


Archbishop Perez ordained four transitional deacons and nine permanent deacons on June 13 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul and the Shrine of Saint Katharine Drexel.

There were nine new Permanent Deacons ordained for Philadelphia, they are:
Deacon Gerald J. Cassidy, to SS. Simon and Jude Parish, West Chester

Deacon Henry C. Fila, to St. Norbert Parish, Paoli

Deacon Franz N. Fruehwald, to Queen of Peace Parish, Ardsley

Deacon Matthew A. Horvath, to St. Philip Neri Parish, Pennsburg

Deacon Gregg W. Hoyer, to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, Hilltown

Deacon James V. Nash, to St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Limerick

Deacon Mark D. Nowakowski, to St. Basil the Great Parish, Kimberton

Deacon Paul F. Stoyell-Mulholland, to St. Norbert Parish, Paoli

Deacon Thomas N. Verna, to St. Andrew Parish, Drexel Hill

Philadelphia Transitional Deacons Summer Assignments:
Deacon Kenneth Cavara, Saint Andrew Parish, Newtown
Deacon Mark Tobin, Saint Katherine Parish, Philadelphia

Mymensingh (Deacon Assignment)
Deacon Prodip Mrong, Holy Innocents Parish, Philadelphia

Congregation of the Mission (The Vincentians, Summer Assignment)
Deacon Erik R. Sanchez, Vincentian Parish, St. Mary's, Greensboro, NC


The following men were ordained priests for the Diocese of Lincoln:
Reverend Caleb D. Hile, Faculty, Pius X High School and Diocesan Master of Ceremonies Residence, Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln, Nebraska
Reverend Alec J. Sasse, Faculty, Pius X High School and Assistant Vocation Director/Newman Center; Residence, St Thomas Aquinas Church, Lincoln, Nebraska


The following men were ordained priests for the Diocese of Raleigh:
Reverend Jairo Maldonado-Pacheco, Parochial Vicar, Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Raleigh
Reverend Matthew Nwafor, Parochial Vicar, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh

Allentown (Summer Assignment)
Deacon Philip Maas, Cathedral of Saint Catherine of Sienna, Allentown

Arlington (Summer Assignment)
Deacon John Paul Heisler, All Saints Parish, Manassas, VA
Deacon Jonathan Smith, Church of the Nativity, Burke, VA


Harrisburg (Summer Assignment)
Aaron Lynch (to be ordained August 22, 2020), Saint Catherine Laboure Parish, Harrisburg


Pictured above at the Diaconate Ordination Mass in Raleigh, NC (from left to right) are Father Sperger, Deacon DiMassimo, Bishop Zarama, and Deacon Sparrow.

Raleigh (Summer Assignment)
Deacon Steven DiMassimo Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish, Apex, NC
Deacon Tyler Sparrow Saint Mark Parish, Wilmington, NC


III College celebrated Multicultural Sunday at Mass followed by a lunch with the Philippino Community at Old Saint Augustine Church in Philadelphia on March 1.


Faithful across the Archdiocese including those at the seminary receive blessed ashes on their foreheads, marked in the sign of a cross, reminding them to repent and believe in the Gospel as the 2020 Lenten Season begins.


Cardinal Joseph Zen, 88, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong was in town and gave a talk at the Penn Newman Center. The topic of his talk was "On the State of the Church in China." Several of our seminarians were able to attend and are seen pictured with Cardinal Zen.

Archbishop Chaput and Archbishop Perez joined the seminarians for dinner at the seminary on Friday night following the March for Life


Together we fight for life. Hundreds of thousands have been joining the mission of the March since its inception. The March happens every year in January, but it is also a mission that spans the country and the digital sphere 365 days a year.  Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary's seminarians, faculty and staff are pictured here at the March for Life.


Second Collegians participated in the MLK Day of Service.  Second College went to Queen of Peace Parish, Ardsley, PA to assist with making Blessing Bags for the Atlantic City Chapter of Angels In Motion (AIM).  They helped package snacks, socks, gloves and made note cards for the homeless battling substance abuse in Kensington.  The parish made 653 Blessing Bags for this outreach organization.  The seminarians also assisted our parishioners in making cards for the firefighters battling the fires in Australia.  The two cards that are pictured were drawn by Robert Stephens, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Second College.

The Second Collegians were Robert Stephens, Aidan Warren, Bob Hutz, John Peter Zappe, Benjamin Albanese.


Mark Gomba, Tyler Loch, Daniel Monastra, and Paul Boyer spent Martin Luther King Day of Service at the Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery on the campus of Villanova University. Fr. Esposito supervised their work

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary sent a team to the 20th Annual Father Pat O’Malley Invitational Basketball Tournament at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago this weekend. This is Saint Charles Borromeo's third year participating. 16 seminary teams participate from across the country.


During III Theology's trip to Italy they were blessed to meet Pope Francis. It was a trip they will never forget.


Kelly Anderson, assistant professor, department of sacred scripture offers scriptural insights with the Temple Mount in the background

III Theology were given a tour of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) led by Father Tad Oxley, a priest of Toledo who is an official at the CDF while on their trip to Rome. They are pictured on the roof of the CDF right in front of Saint Peter's Basilica.

III Theology seminarians took a moment on their last day in Rome to pray for the repose for the soul of Bishop Louis Desimone during morning Mass offered for him and later that day in front of the tomb of his patron, St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

III Theology had the opportunity to reunite with St. Charles alumni from the diocese of Arlington who are completing their studies in Rome. They are pictured here on the roof of the North American College in Rome

Monsignor Magee offers Mass in the Clementine chapel, located immediately behind the tomb of Saint Peter during III Theology's trip to Italy.

Father Shenosky offers Mass in front of fragments of the Holy Crib, or manger, in the confessio of St. Mary Major Bascilica

Msgr. Magee explains the history of the Roman Forum to III Theology on their first night in Rome.

III Theology just arrived in Rome after two nights in Assisi where they toured the holy sites of St. Francis and St. Clare led by Mr. Eduardo D'Amico, father of Rev. Francesco D'Amico, priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and member of the Neocatechumenal Way. They were also treated to a meal by other local members of the Way.

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary's Transitional Deacons in front of the Church of Saint Peter's Primacy

Father Bernard Taglianetti and Deacon August Taglianetti during Mass at the Church of the Visitation

Deacon Kevin Okafor reading from the Gospel of Luke at the Churchof Saint Peter in Gallicantu (Jerusalem)

Deacon Jairo Malandonado praying Psalm 88 at the cell in the House of Caiphas, where Jesus was held on Holy Thursday night

Here the Transitional Deacons are at the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem along with Fr. Keith Chylinski, Fr Taglianetti and Kelly Anderson.

III Theology is on a trip to Italy.  They were privileged to be greeted by Archbishop Mario Enrico Delpini, the Archbishop of Milan, before Mass was celebrated in the crypt chapel adjacent to the tomb of Saint Charles Borromeo at the Duomo in Milan.


A group of our seminarians are in Phoenix, AZ for the FOCUS-The Fellowship of Catholic University Students #SLS20 Conference! All week they have been learning about the practicalities and the importance of our roles as missionary disciples, while praying and experiencing fellowship with thousands of young, on-fire Catholics from college campuses and parishes worldwide!

They are pictured here with Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Coffey (‘96, Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA), Fr. Bochanski (‘99, Courage International), Fr. Kane (‘00, Dean of Men), Fr. Dave O’Brien (‘19), and Fr. Carson Kain (‘19).

Saint Charles Borromeo's Transitional Deacons are on a trip to the Holy Land and sent back these photos:

Sunrise at the Sea of Galilee

Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary's Transitional Deacons awaiting the Solemn celebration of Angelus, Basilica of the Annunciation

Deacon Caleb Hile proclaiming from the Gospel of John in Cana

Deacon Alec Sasse proclaiming the Gospel of :Luke at the "Synagogue Church" in Nazareth

Deaon Louis Monica serving Mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation

Feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe




Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary's Christmas Concert featuring the seminary choir was held on December 8, 2019


College seminarians help decorate the campus for Christmas

The Philadelphia Half Marathon and Full Marathon took place in November. Bishop Senior said Mass for all the seminarians participating in the Half Marathon. Father Cooke also completed the half marathon. Not pictured - seminarian Declan Cole who ran the full marathon.

The Divine Liturgy was presided by Archbishop Borys Gudziak of Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia in Saint Martin of Tours Chapel on November 20, 2019. Volodymyr Radko is a seminarian from the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia studying at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.


United States Council of Catholic Bishops

United States Conference for Catholic Bishops
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary sent a delegation to Baltimore this week to the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops. Rector, Bishop Senior hosted a reception for fellow bishops including alumni from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and partnering bishops from other dioceses. Rev. Joseph Shenosky, Vice Rector, Rev. George Szparagowski, Dean of Men College Seminary, Rev. Brian Kane, Dean of Men, Theology Seminary, Father Christopher Cooke, Director of the Spiritual Year and seven seminarians made the trip.

Pictured here: Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama, Bishop of Raleigh Catholic Diocese of Raleigh with Rogelio Raya, I Theology (Raleigh).

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington (right) Catholic Diocese of Arlington is joined by seminarians Zinjin Iglesia, I Theology (Arlington) and Matthew Kuna, II Theology (Allentown).

Upper Side versus Lower Side

The annual Upper Side versus Lower Side flag football game resulted in a first-ever tie game!

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Peter Claver brought a home cooked dinner for all the seminarians and the resident priests on November 12 – it is their fourth consecutive year bringing delicious dinners to Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. On the menu: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, cornbread and an assortment of cakes for dessert


The American Red Cross held a blood drive at the Seminary on November 11.  Pictured here:  Tony Schukei, II Theology (Lincoln).

On Veteran's Day -- Saint Charles Seminary recognizes the following:

Father Brian Kane, Dean of Men for the Theology Seminary is currently serving in the Nebraska Army National Guard.

These current seminarians are veterans: Mark Tobin, III Theology (Philadelphia), Joe Creavey, II Theology (Harrisburg), Daniel Engo II College (Harrisburg), James Beran, III Theology (Lincoln)

Andrew Lane and Henry Graebe both II Theology (Philadelphia) and Caleb Magowan, Pre-Theology I (Arlington) plan to serve in the Archdiocese for Military Services following their ordination as military chaplains.


November 1-3 marked the annual 40 Hours Devotion at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.  Please continue to pray for all of our seminarians.


Seminarians Tucker Brown and Martin Grenchik with Chris Stefanick at Archbishop Carroll High School on October 10, 2019. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has called Chris Stefanick “one of the most engaging young defenders of the Christian faith on the scene today.” Chris speaks to over 50,000 teens, young adults, and parents every year.


On Thursday, October 3, Martin Okwudiba was ordained a deacon in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The following morning, Bishop Senior was the principal concelebrant for a Mass of Thanksgiving at which Deacon Martin served as deacon and preached the homily for the first time. The Mass was celebrated in the Basilica dei SS. Carlo e Ambrogio at Corso in Rome. Following Mass Bishop Senior had the opportunity to pray for the seminary community and for our continuing planning process before the relic of Saint Charles Borromeo, the seminary's patron which is venerated in that Church.

Bishop Senior, Rector, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary blesses the dorm rooms of the seminarians at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.

St. Charles Borromeo got 3rd place in the Vianney Cup soccer tournament. We lost to Mt. St. Mary’s 4-1, and won against Theological College 3-1. Healthy competition, fraternity, and fun summarize the day!

In September 2019 was the Ordination of Deacon Martin Okwudiba via the Pontifical North American College in Rome pictured here with Bishop Timothy C. Senior, Rector, Saint Charles Brorromeo Seminary and his family. He will serve Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Cassock Day -- College Seminary

Congratulations to the new men of the College Seminary at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on their Cassock Day! After receiving their blessed cassocks and attending Mass, many of their families joined them to celebrate this very exciting day.

Dean of Men for the Collegiate Division, Fr. George Szparagowski, said in his homily, “What matters is the heart that is under the cassock. That is what the people of God want. They think in their minds and their hearts, ‘He belongs to God. He gave his life to God. He will bring me closer to God. He will bring the Sacred Heart to me.’ Remember: what matters is the heart of the man under that cassock and collar.”


Cassock Day -- Theology Seminary

Cassock Day for the Theological Seminary of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.   Fourteen “new men” received their cassocks, which they will now be vesting in during liturgies. The cassock, a symbol of the armor of God, is also a powerful reminder of the humble, priestly vocation that our seminarians are discerning.


Our sixth annual St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Golf Classic presented by JJ White Inc. was a great success! We were honored to once again host this incredible outing at the beautiful Philadelphia Country Club and, for the first time, at Gulph Mills Golf Course on Monday, September 30, 2019. Our seminarians had a blast volunteering, meeting our sponsors, and some were even able to play alongside the sponsors in the golf tournament!


Bishop David O’Connell, C.M. of the The Catholic Diocese of Trenton, NJ celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel tonight. Bishop O’Connell was joined by Msgr. Mullelly, Vicar for Clergy, and Fr. Calisin, Master of Ceremonies. Following Mass, our guests joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner. They are pictured here with their diocesan seminarians in formation at our seminary. Bishop O’Connell is also pictured with his brother Vincentians (Vincentian Priests and Brothers, Eastern Province, USA), who study theology at St. Charles Borromeo.


Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary celebrated Mass with the Institution of Lectors on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at Saint Martin of Tours Chapel. Candidates for the Permanent Diaconate and seminarians from the Theology Seminary from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Archdiocese of Columbo, the Diocese of Allentown, the Diocese of Arlington, the Diocese of Greensburg, the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Diocese of Lincoln, the Diocese of Raleigh, the Diocese of Trenton, and the Congregation of the Mission received the Institute of Lectors. Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, D.D., the Bishop of Greensburg, PA was the Principal Celebrant and Homilist.

 Bishop Timothy C. Senior, Rector, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary hosted the newly ordained priests of the Class of 2019 for the Community Mass on campus. Rev. Noe Ramirez de Paz was the celebrant for the Mass and Rev. John Maria gave the homily.

Daneil Monastra, College II wrote the following poem about Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary

For seven days of beauty
And always seven days
Does St. Charles linger
In a hundred different ways

She is to us a mother
And we like so true sons
Who dwell within her boarders
‘Till our faithful work begun

Wind swept fields aplenty
And maple trees abound
Close to ancient towers
Soaring off the ground

There’s laughter always ringing
Through her cheerful halls
Except in dead of summer when
The long black line withdraws

The peace that dwells therein
Is gentle like a dove
And e’ry breath that we take
A prayer to Him we love

Her glory and her grace
Remind us ever do
Of beauty ever ancient
And beauty ever new

But any man will tell you
That easy is a lie
For if there’s to be true beauty
Every man must die

The world will always be
Forever at a loss
As the glory of St. Charles
Is the glory of the Cross

So St. Charles shows us
Eternity suffice
And forms us in our call
To love the Heart of Christ

Opening Mass

At the close of the Opening Mass for the 2019-2020 academic year, the seminarians, faculty and staff pose for a photograph on the steps of the Theology Building.

Seminarians Move into Campus to Kick off the 2019-2020 Academic Year

The College and Theology seminarians of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary returned to campus to mark the start of the academic year on Tuesday, August 20th beginning with registration and moving-in to the residence halls.

The Seminary anticipates an overall enrollment of 165 seminarians for the 2019-2020. Of the 42 new seminarians, 19 are seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, six are entering the college seminary while 13 are entering the Spiritual Year, Pre-Theology or ESL. In total, there are 75 new or returning seminarians for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, studying at St. Charles.

Saint Charles’ seminarian population is becoming increasingly diverse with approximately 30% of its students now coming from Asian, Latino, or African countries or nationalities.

Pictured below Rev. Joseph T. Shenosky, vice rector, visits with Zachary Shepherdson (College I) and his mother on Opening Day.



Our Seminarians finished their Spiritual Year in mid-June. The Spiritual Year occurs off-campus -- it offers formation intentionally in a smaller community setting to provide a solid basis for the spiritual life and nurture greater self-awareness for personal growth.

Key goals of the Spiritual Year include the opportunity for the Seminarian to enter deeply into solitude so as to solidify his self-knowledge of his vocational calling, and to profoundly affect the Seminarian's interiority with the heart of Christ.

Utilizing all the dimensions of priestly formation -- human, intellectual, pastoral and spiritual -- this one-year program strives for a life experience which will allow the Seminarian to find God in all things. The stillness of the year -- freed from academic grades and including a media fast -- aims at fostering a monasticism of the heart to remain with the candidate through ordination and priestly life.

The year culminates with a 30-day retreat. The retreat leaders are pictured here with the Seminarians are: (from left to right) Father Ugo Naccarone, Father Earl Muller, Father Herbert Sperger and Father George Quickly.

Seven become new priests for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as families, friends share in joy

Standing with the class of 2019’s newly ordained priests are (front row from left) Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary; Archbishop Charles Chaput and Father Javier Santaballa, rector of Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the Philadelphia seminary for the Neocatechumenal Way; along with the new priests (middle, from left) Fathers Francesco D’Amico, Anthony Raymundo, Alessandro Giardini, Jonathan Rice (back, from left), David Buffum, David O’Brien and Alexander Pancoast. (Sarah Webb)

To read the full story originally reported by Catholic Philly, click here.


Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers accepts a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bishop Senior and Archbishop Chaput at the 182nd Concursus at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.  Dr. Rivers has served as a lecturer at Harvard University and has presented at Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Enterprise Institute, the Vatican, the United Nations and several other venues.  Her latest publication, co-authored with Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, appears in the volume The Cultural Matrix.  She received her Ph.D., Master and undergraduate degrees from Harvard University.  Dr. Rivers is also the Executive Director of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies.

Baccalaureate Mass, IV College celebrates on the steps of Saint Martin's Chapel

Transitional Diaconate

On Saturday, May 11th, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, ordained five men to the Transitional Diaconate at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Truly, it was a joyous occasion!

“The Transitional Diaconate Ordination represents an important step for the men and their families toward their Ordination to the Priesthood as it acts as the temporary state of men who intend to go on for the priesthood. Please join me in praying for not only these young men, but for all those men and women who are currently discerning a vocation in the priesthood, consecrated, and religious life, that the Holy Spirit may guide them with grace and truth.” +Archbishop Charles Chaput

2019 Priest Ordinandi with the Chalices they will use as priests.

Clap Out

A long-standing tradition dating back to the 19th Century, Clap-Out is a signature send off for Seminarians prior to their Ordination to Priesthood.  Each Deacon rings the bell of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception for the last time.  All of the seminarians, faculty and staff form a double line exiting the chapel and “Clap Out” each Deacon in celebration of their upcoming Ordination to the Priesthood.  The joy and camaraderie are evident on the faces of the Ordinandi as well as all those assembled.

To view the 2019 Clap Out video, click here.  Special thanks to Seminarians Zinjin Iglesia and Dominic Mirenda for the photos and video.


Deacon David Buffum

Deacon Francesco D'Amico

Deacon Guisseppe Esposito

Deacon Allesandro Giardini

Deacon Carson Kain

Deacon Sean Koehr

Deacon John Maria

Deacon David O'Brien

Deaon Alexander Pancoast

Deacon Noe Ramirez de Paz

Deacon Jonathan Rice

Deacon Anthony Raymundo

Deacon Joshua Weaver

Deacon Zachary Wehr

New Pipe Organ for Sacred Heart Chapel

The Seminary is pleased to announce the generous donation of a beautiful Pipe Organ!  We are extremely grateful for the donation of a generous benefactor! 

Built by Bennett & Giuttari (2004) of Rehoboth, MA, the instrument is of extraordinary quality of sight and sound.  It features three individual ranks of wood flutes.  The organ will primarily be used by the College Seminary in Sacred Heart Chapel, but can easily be used in St. Martin's and future locations. To see and hear the organ video click here.

Broad Street Run
Our Seminarians participated in the Broad Street Run. Prior to the race, Bishop Senior said Mass at the Church of the Holy Child, Our Lady of Hope Parish in Philadelphia which is near the starting line for the race. The soggy weather didn't dampen their enthusiasm! Special thanks to Cynthia Brown for providing brunch to the Seminary runners after the race.

Ministry of the Acolyte

On Saturday May 4th, Bishop Alfred Schlert of the Diocese of Allentown celebrated Mass in St. Martin's Chapel for the Institution of the Ministry of Acolyte. 2nd Theology seminarians and candidates for Permanent Diaconate were installed.  "The acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the Priest and Deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister." (USCCB -


Alumni Jubilee
Recently, many of our alumni celebrated their Jubilee. See photos from the Class of 1994 (25 years) pictured with former faculty member Reverend Richard Malone and the Class of 1969 (50 years) pictured with Archbishop Chaput.


Upper Side vs Lower Side Soccer Game

Every Spring the seminary hosts an “Upperside vs. Lowerside Soccer Game,” where the college seminarians compete against the theology seminarians. This year’s win went to the Upperside!  Please keep our seminarians in your prayers as they finish up their last week of classes and prepare for final exams. 


Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity
19 of our seminarians that are soon to be ordained deacons and priests made their Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity before the entire seminary community.  Please pray for these upcoming transitional deacons and priests!

Hispanic Family Day

The Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia celebrated Hispanic Family Day at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday, April 7th 12:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. for high school aged young men and their families.  Most Reverend Edward M. Deliman, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the Hispanic Family Day Mass at Saint Martin of Tours Chapel. Mass was celebrated in Spanish. A soccer game was held in the fields surrounding the chapel after lunch between the Seminary soccer team and participants. Food and beverages were available in the Seminary’s refectory. Tours of the Seminary were offered to all families attending. The day concluded with Evening Vespers at 5:00 p.m. with the entire Seminary community. Vespers were led by Bishop Timothy C. Senior, Rector of Saint Charles Seminary. 


Seder Dinner

On Sunday, April 7, Monsignor Fairbanks and Father Kane led a group of Seminarians who participated in an Interfaith Seder Dinner at St. Joseph University's Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations.

The event was co-sponsored by: The Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, AJC (the American Jewish Committee), Main Line Reform Temple Beth Elohim, and SJU's Interfaith Task Force

Italian Club

On Saturday, April 6, the Seminary’s Italian Club — led by Louis Monica (Third Theology, Archdiocese of Philadelphia) — went to New York City to see a performance of Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera.  First they had Mass at the National Shrine of Saint Frances Cabrini. After lunch they saw the opera. Then they ate dinner at the Italian restaurant Pappardella’s.

Cassock Classic -- Saturday, April 6, 2019
The Cassock Classic Ultimate Frisbee tournament featured co-ed players from Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Temple University Newman Center, Catholic Young Adults of Chester County, CYACC Metanoia Young Adults, WCU Catholic Newman Center, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Center for Young Adults, and @HarrisburgYoungAdultCatholics. 


Theology on Tap
Father Tim Danaher, O.P., Parochial Vicar, Saint Patrick's Parish, Rittenhouse Square gave a Lenten Presentation on the five wounds of Christ.  The event was open to adults ages 21-35 and featured live music and refreshments on tap.

Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form

Mary pondered everything in her heart, and she always pressed on... She says to you and me, 'Press on. Press on in your life of prayer. Press on in your discernment. Press on in your discipleship.'" - Fr. Dennis Carbonaro

For the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Fr. Dennis Carbonaro, Spiritual Director of the College Division, celebrated a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Rev. Mr. Alessandro Giardini (Philadelphia) serving as Deacon and Rev. Mr. Zachary Wehr (Allentown) serving as Subdeacon. St Charles Borromeo Seminary Sacred Music, led by Dr. Nathan Knutson, provided beautiful sacred music.

Our Lady of the Annunciation - pray for us!



Talent Show
In March, our collegiate seminarians put on an in-house talent show. Music, comedy, and monologues were just a few of the acts performed. It's wonderful to see the flourishing of our seminarian's passions and talents. Truly the night was filled with laughter and great joy. Please continue to pray for them and for the Holy Spirit to always guide Christ-centered fraternity within our seminary. 



Bishop Luis R. Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh, NC celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel Wednesday night. Following Mass, Bishop joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner. He is pictured here with his diocesan seminarians studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. This was Bishop Zarama’s first visit to the seminary as Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh.

Man Up Philly -- This year’s attendance was approximately 1,500 men, according to Eustace Mita, who has been Man Up chairman from the very beginning. Bishop Timothy Senior, the rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, bookended the day by leading Morning Prayer and celebrating a concluding Mass in the afternoon. Many seminarians attended the conference.

“In a time of trouble, Man Up Philly stands out as a unique celebration of faith in God’s goodness,” Bishop Senior noted, “and a rededication in his name to family values, community service and respect for all life.”

Also attending and speaking was Father Stephen DeLacy, director of the Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood, and Deacon Michael Pascarella of the Department of Permanent Deacons, both taking advantage of a conference that can clearly be a source of religious vocations. By a show of hands there definitely were men willing to man up in that respect.

But of course most who came were just there to renew their commitment to the Lord and get a bit of encouragement along the journey.  Read the story from Catholic Philly, here.


Ash Wednesday is one of the most important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.


Muffin Day

On March 5, Cynthia A. Brown, a Lady of Peter Claver donated more than 250 baked muffins from Sweet Jazmine's Pastery Shop to the seminarians, faculty and staff at Saint Charles Seminary to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.  Pictured with Ms. Brown are Rector Bishop Timothy Senior (Fourth Degree Claver), Trustee Jerry Davis, Deans of Men Father Szparagowski and Father Kane along with Seminarians Adam Klukiewski, Nikolai Bresinski and Aaron Schiedel.  Ms. Brown is a devoted and generous supporter of Saint Charles Seminary where she works closely with existing Seminarians while also encouraging new vocations.


The first Sunday in March is Multi-Cultural Sunday. Each class of Seminarians makes a visit to a different parish/ethnic group in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to experience their worship and culture. Pictured here are students from College III with Fr. Bill Waters, pastor, St. Augustine Church, Old City, Philadelphia with members of his parish from the Filipino community. They provided lunch for the seminarians after Mass that morning.


Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, VA celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel in February. Bishop Burbidge was joined by the Diocese of Arlington’s Director for the Office of Vocations, Fr. Michael Isenberg. Following Mass, our guests joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner. They are pictured here with their diocesan seminarians studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Bishop Burbidge is a previous Rector of St. Charles Borromeo and former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Ski Trip

In February, a group of Seminarians took advantage of Rector's Weekend to travel to Mount Snow in Vermont.  There they went skiing and snowboarding.  Bishop Senior and Father Kane joined the ski trip and celebrated Mass.



Bishop Edward Malesic of Greensburg, PA celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel in February. Bishop Malesic was joined by the Diocese of Greensburg’s Director for the Office for Priestly Vocations, Fr. Tyler Bandura. Following Mass, our guests joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner hosted by Bishop Senior. They are pictured here with their diocesan seminarian studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. 

Following Mass Father Stephen Grozio, C.M. Provincial of the Eastern Province, Congregation of the Mission joined Bishop Senior and our Vincentian seminarians for Rector's Dinner in February 2019.

St. John Vianney's Incorruptable Heart

(Minor edits were made to the story below which first appeared in Catholic Philly).

St. Charles Seminary was a stop on the tour of the relic of St. John Vianney’s incorrupt heart, encased in a glass and gold reliquary, in early February 2019.

St. John, also known as the cure d’Ars, was a 19th century French parish priest known for his generosity administering the sacrament of penance in his parish town of Ars, often hearing confessions for 12 hours a day. He died in 1859 and was canonized in 1925. He is the patron saint of parish priests.

The tour of the relic is titled “Heart of a Priest,” alluding to the saintly model of St. John for today’s priests and to the relic of his heart that appears to have resisted natural decay for 160 years.

In Catholic tradition relics are venerated as objects recognizing how God’s grace has effected holiness in a person. Neither the saint nor the relic are to be worshiped, which is reserved for God alone. A major or first-class relic such as a bone fragment or other part of a saint’s body is regarded by the faithful as a sign of the saint’s holiness and God’s action in his or her life.
The relic of St. John Vianney first arrived in Philadelphia for a two-day program of prayer and study at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary — the locus of priestly formation in the archdiocese for 187 years.

Seminarians and priests prayed the Divine Office, heard a conference by a theologian and prayed in a holy hour. On Saturday, confessions were heard, seminary rector Bishop Timothy Senior celebrated Mass for the seminary community and another conference took place before Knights of Columbus, who sponsored the tour, transported the relic to the cathedral in Philadelphia.

Cardinal Foley Chair Lecture

In late January, the John Cardinal Foley Chair lecture featured a top-notch talk to our Seminarians and the general public by Kim Daniels, embodying the communication ideals of John Cardinal Foley: dignity, candor, and positivity.  She is the Associate Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University.  She spoke on the topic From Anger to Renewal: Communications and the Crisis in the Church.


Our semniarians traveled to the Mundelein Seminary basketball tournament in Chicago this January. They ended the tournament with 2 wins and 1 loss. 

Testimony from Deacon Josh Weaver:

“Even better than competing against seminaries from across the country was having the opportunity to meet those seminarians and grow closer to the St. Charles Borromeo guys I travelled with. It’s so refreshing to see so many talented, genuinely good, and holy men discerning God’s call to the priesthood at our own seminary and at seminaries across the country! Plus, it’s always an added bonus when you’re able to win a couple games too!”

Martin Luther King Day of Service

On St. Charles of Borromeo's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service all of our seminarians served at various locations throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia working with various religious orders, those in poverty, the ill and handicapped, and even on our own seminary campus. As always, their days began with prayer and Mass in preparation of bringing the light and love of Jesus Christ to those they encounter through service.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 


March For Life

Seminarians, faculty and staff proudly participated in the March for Life 2019 in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Jan. 18. Pictured here are Bishop Senior, Rector; Louis Monica (Third Theology, Archdiocese of Philadelphia) and Declan Cole (Second College, Archdiocese of Philadelphia) as they were interviewed for Relevant Radio.



Holy Land Trip

In January 2019, Msgr. Magee, Deacon Alessandro Giardini, and the deacon class visit the site of the Upper Room where the Lord celebrated the Last Supper.


St. Charles Borromeo Seminarians attended SEEK2019 in Indianapolis presented by FOCUS-The Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

Holy Land Trip

St. Charles Borromeo Semninary Deacons went to the Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem in January 2019


St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's Deacons prayed before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in January 2019.


St. Charles Seminary's Deacon class in front of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The group renewed their baptismal promises here in January 2019.


In January 2019, St. Charles Seminary Deacons at Caesarea Maritima in the Holy Land.

Seminarians gather as they embark on a trip to #SEEK2019 a Catholic conference hosted by FOCUS-The Fellowship of Catholic University Students in Indianapolis in January.


Seven members of St. Charles Seminary Deacon Class are in Israel in January 2019 for St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's annual trip to the Holy Land. It is subsidized by the Priest Alumni Association. Father Chylinski leads it, and Msgr. Magee and Fr. Shenosky are with the group.  The deacons are seen here at the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. 

March 2018 started off with St. Charles welcoming Bishop James Conley to visit. Along with participating on the board of trustees, Bishop Conley presided over our First Friday Holy Hour with Deacon Sheron Fernando preaching.

The month was bookended by substantial Nor’easter snow storms. While trees fell all throughout campus, everyone stayed safe and enjoyed two snow days. Some seminarians even took advantage of the fallen trees to do some exercise.

On March 17, Catholic apologist Tim Staples, a graduate of the College Division, came and gave a series of talks on Mary and evangelization for the 25th annual St. Charles’ Marian Day.

The next day Fr. Larry Kozak led a day of recollection, reflecting on Jesus’ question to James and John, “Can you drink from the cup?”

The next week, the theologians held a casino night fundraiser and raised over $1,500 for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Noe Ramirez de Paz of the Diocese of Raleigh took his oath of fidelity, preparing to be ordained a deacon on Divine Mercy Sunday.

In April, St. Charles Borromeo will host Theology on Tap on Friday April 20th at 7:00pm. All adults above 21 years of age are welcome to attend!

Want to keep track of what’s happening at the seminary? Follow us on Facebook (, Twitter (@StCharlesSem), and Instagram (stcharlessem).


February News:

While the seminarians gradually made their way back into a normal routine in late January, seminary life was in full swing in February. Led by Fr. Chylinski, the community hosted its first "1st Friday Holy Hour" of the semester in the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

That Sunday, the faculty and students gathered to watch the Super Bowl. When the Eagles' victory was certain, the bells of the Immaculate Conception Chapel could be heard ringing throughout the neighborhood.

Along with several of the schools in the Archdiocese, seminarians were excused from their typical Field Education schedule that following Thursday in order to attend the Super Bowl Parade. Thankfully all the seminarians that attended the parade returned home safely to Mother Overbrook.

The next weekend seminarians ventured off on an abbreviated "Rector's Weekend." These weekends allow the seminarians to leave campus for a couple nights and take short trips if they wish. When the students returned, both the college and theology divisions hosted Marti Gras parties and a combined college and theology Ash Wednesday Mass was celebrated the next day.

While the seminarians and faculty carried out various Lenten penances and observances, the spirit of the house was not completely somber. The month was bookended with the visits of Bishops Mulverde of Corpus Cristi, Texas, and James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. The community joyfully welcomed these two bishops and appreciated the Masses celebrated by both bishops.



January News:

While the third Theologians committed their final days of Christmas break to stud for their oral examinations in order to obtain their Masters of Divinity, the rest of the seminarians went out to various retreat centers throughout the archdiocese and embarked on a five day silent retreat.

During the Christmas break, six transitional deacons accompanied Fr. Keith Chylinski, Fr. Brian Kane, and about 20 others on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The transitional deacons were offered a reduced price, compliments of the generosity of donors. It was a tremendous opportunity for the men to prepare for ordination to the priesthood. Highlights of the trip included time at the Sea of Galilee, Mass in Nazareth, recalling the Baptism of the Lord at the Jordan River, and the Way of the Cross through Jerusalem, culminating at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The pilgrims did have some time to relax, though, enjoying St. Peter’s fish in Tiberias and floating (literally!) in the Dead Sea. The priests, deacons, and lay pilgrims all left with new friends, a lifetime of memories, and moments of encounter with the Lord in his native land. (Pictured below are St. Charles faculty and transitional deacons on the road to Emmaus and by the Sea of Galilee.)

On January 19, the entire community traveled to Washington D.C. for the 45th annual March for Life. On the morning of the march, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hosted the 10:00am Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated the Mass, accompanied by Deacon Brandon Artman, who beautifully chanted the Gospel.

On January 26, Fr. Brian Kane led thirteen seminarians to Mundelein, Chicago for the 16th Annual Fr. Pat O’Malley Basketball Tournament. Sixteen seminaries from around the country competed, and the games were live streamed. Back at Mother Overbrook, the seminary held a watch party. While St. Charles did not bring home a trophy, the men competed well under the dual-leadership of Josh Weaver (Theology 3 – Diocese of Harrisburg) and John de Guzman (College 4 – Diocese of Raleigh). Weaver expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support of the benefactors and seminary community who made the trip possible. Fr. Brian Kane added that intra-seminary tournaments are great platforms for fraternity among seminarians across the nation.

While January was full of exciting events, the highlight was the St. Charles community welcoming Bishop Robert Barron as a speaker for the Cardinal Foley Lecture Series. The creator of Word on Fire, Bishop Barron stirred the evangelical spirit of seminarians, faculty, and over 500 other attendees. He offered twelve points of reflection on evangelization, challenging the seminarians to explore the possible inspirations they may receive in order to be catalysts of creative evangelical efforts.