Cardinal Wuerl Dedicates New Wing at Blessed John Paul II Seminary

February 15, 2014

HYATTSVILLE, Md. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, today celebrated Mass and formally dedicated D’Aniello Hall, a new wing at Blessed John Paul II Seminary.

“D’Aniello Hall, the seminary’s new facility, will enhance the efforts to provide the spiritual, pastoral, academic and human formation of our future priests,” said Cardinal Wuerl is his homily at the dedication Mass for the seminary’s new wing.

The new wing, which contains 20 new student rooms, enlarged classroom space, a new common room, an exercise facility, quarters for two faculty members and a large library and reading room, was made possible by a generous donation from Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello. With the seminary already at capacity after only three years, D’Aniello Hall will allow more young men to discern a vocation to the priesthood. Cardinal Wuerl also highlighted the gratitude of the archdiocese, pointing out that their generosity was a sign of their loving commitment to the Church.

The nucleus of the new library will be the Haydock collection. Father Kenneth Haydock, a priest in the Archdiocese of Seattle, recently donated his personal library, numbering approximately 10,000 volumes of theology and philosophy, to the seminary. The Catholic University of America’s Department of Library and Information Science will be involved in organizing the library.

The seminary was originally dedicated at a Mass on Oct. 22, 2011, which is the feast day of Blessed John Paul II. Blessed John Paul II will be canonized in Rome on April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, which he instituted worldwide during his pontificate.

Blessed John Paul II Seminary is an institution of the Archdiocese of Washington established to prepare college-age men and young adults for entrance into major seminary and eventual ordination to the Catholic priesthood. The seminary is located near The Catholic University of America at 145 Taylor St. N.E. in Washington, D.C.

With the expansion, the seminary will now have space for 50 men who attend classes at The Catholic University of America while receiving their priestly formation at the seminary. Those pursuing an undergraduate degree enroll in a normal schedule of classes with a major in philosophy while those who already hold an undergraduate degree undertake a special non-degree program for two years with an emphasis in philosophy and ancient languages. Before ordination, they will complete an additional four years of theology studies.

“When Cardinal Wuerl established this seminary in 2011, it was a bold step inspired by the Holy Spirit,” said Monsignor Robert Panke, rector of the Blessed John Paul II Seminary and the Director of Formation for seminarians of the archdiocese. “We are blessed to have seen a great increase in younger vocations, and we are grateful that this new space allows us to accommodate even more young men to discern God’s call to the priesthood.”

Currently 81 men are studying for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Washington, including 40 in college and pre-theology studies.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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