Three Catholic dioceses in the New York City vicinity this week announced they are considering a possible merger for their seminaries. The Archdiocese of New York and the dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Center (Long Island) each have a diocesan seminary.

Discussions among them have only begun, but they might prompt Catholics in this area to wonder, what about St. Charles Borromeo Seminary?

Since 1832 the seminary for the Philadelphia Archdiocese has enjoyed a reputation for forming young men for the priesthood in excellent fashion. The days when the seminary was filled to capacity are gone. According to the Archdiocese’s Catholic Directory, last year the seminary enrolled 153 seminarians, 41 of whom were studying for the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

What might seem a low number actually compares well to other dioceses of a similar size to our 1.45 million Catholics.

According to the 2009 Official Catholic Directory, the Detroit Archdiocese (1.43 million Catholics) had 42 seminarians studying for that local church, Boston (1.48 million) had 44, Rockville Center (1.49 million) had 16 and Brooklyn (1.44 million) had 15.

It’s a testament that 19 other dioceses and religious orders send 112 men to our seminary to form their future priests. Even with that support, the seminary relies on financial and prayerful support of Catholics in this Archdiocese. St. Charles benefits immensely from its annual appeal launched last month, and in the future from an endowment of the Heritage of Faith-Vision of Hope capital campaign currently underway.

The generosity of local families ensures that priests will serve the Church of Philadelphia and throughout the world with zeal and love for generations to come.