Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has penned a letter to priests of the archdiocese about the sale of the chancery property to Boston College and most specifically how it affects the seminary.
Among the details he highlights that I hadn’t seen before:
The buildings we have agreed to sell to Boston College include the Chancery, Creagh Library, the former priests residence adjacent to the Chancery, the Seminary Library, and Bishop Peterson Hall.[…]
As the Archdiocese retains ownership of St. John’s Seminary, by way of a very favorable management agreement Boston College will maintain the building and exterior grounds and provide food service to the seminary. This agreement is of significant benefit to the seminary and assures high quality services for the long term. In addition, Boston College has committed to work exclusively with the seminary lay employees impacted by this agreement, to review possible employment opportunities.
The agreement with Boston College will also provide significant improvements for the Library, which is in need of capital investment to address deferred maintenance issues and upgrade the building’s systems and technology. Seminarians and seminary staff will have unrestricted access to the Library and St. John’s will retain ownership and control of the important and highly regarded seminary library collection.
He also briefly remarks on the moved-up departure of the seminary rector over the property sale. Fr. John Farren, OP, who nearly everyone agrees has done a great job turning St. John’s around over the past four years, including tightening up the faculty and improving formation by leaps and bounds, was being reassigned by the Dominicans and was set to leave on June 30. However, when the sale was made public, he announced his immediate departure because of his disagreement with the action. The cardinal made an indirect response by saying: “We do not believe that the sale of additional property from our Brighton campus will harm or hinder the essential work of St. John’s. The independence of the seminary, its ability to prepare candidates for the priesthood, and to be the source of the formation and training for lay ministries, will be preserved.” He added his gratitude for Fr. Farren’s service.