August 18, 2017

Indianapolis college seminary starts new year with record enrollment

By Sean Gallagher

With nine new seminarians beginning priestly formation this month, the Church in central and southern Indiana is experiencing the largest one-year increase in seminarians in more than a decade.

At the same time, Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis has a record enrollment of 49 seminarians from 10 dioceses and one religious community who moved into the seminary this week.

(Related story: ‘Great spirit,’ service soar among seminarians who help to spark dramatic rise in their ranks)

Father Joseph Moriarty, rector of Bishop Bruté, credits the near capacity enrollment to the “faith, openness and courage” that “are very active in the hearts” of the seminarians enrolled there.

“Faith plants the seed,” Father Moriarty said. “Openness is their willingness to consider it. And the courage is moving in. They’re going to take a step toward realizing what this call might mean in their life.”

Bishop Bruté began in 2004 with a handful of seminarians. At the time, they lived on the campus of Marian University in Indianapolis, where seminarians still take classes today.

The seminary moved five years later to its current location, a former Carmelite monastery about a mile south of Marian.

Of the 49 current seminarians at Bishop Bruté, 13 are archdiocesan seminarians, an increase of six from the previous academic year. Seven archdiocesan priests received priestly formation at Bishop Bruté.

Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the seminary was founded by Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein. Father Robert Robeson, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove, served as its first rector through the end of the 2015-16 academic year.

Father Moriarty says the confidence that so many dioceses who send seminarians to Bishop Bruté have in it is rooted in the priestly formation developed there by Father Robeson that embodied the vision of Archbishop Buechlein.

“For us, formation is a one-on-one experience of meeting with a formation director every two weeks,” Father Moriarty said. “I don’t know of another college seminary that does it that way.”

Because of the commitment to this approach to formation, the seminary enrollment is now near its capacity. Its increasing enrollment has also resulted for the first time in having two archdiocesan priests serving there on a full-time basis in its 13-year history.

Father Andrew Syberg, serving as a formation dean at Bishop Bruté, joins Father Moriarty. Speaking about the start of his ministry in the seminary less than a week before the seminarians moved in, Father Syberg, who was ordained in 2015, said, “I’m ready to roll.”

“It’s certainly a humbling experience,” he said. “But I know how important and how necessary it is. I was just in formation not that long ago.

“The formation that Bruté offers can do great things. There’s great joy to be experienced when you find out what God wants from your life.”

Along with Father Syberg, other archdiocesan priests are serving the seminary on a part‑time basis as spiritual directors. It also draws on the experience of religious order priests, such as vice rector Benedictine Justin DuVall, former archabbot of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, and director of spiritual formation Jesuit Father Thomas Widner.

“Vocations are growing again,” said Father Syberg. “Indy has more guys. Bruté has more guys. To recognize that this is where we’re going, and that hopefully we’ll keep going in that direction, shows how seriously the archdiocese takes formation.”

(For more information about Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, visit

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