May 26, 2006

Bishop Bruté House of Formation
undergoes name change

By Sean Gallagher

When a new academic year begins in late August, the seminarians who will return to the campus of Marian College in Indianapolis will experience some changes.

The Bishop Bruté House of Formation, which recently completed its second year of operation, will be known as the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary.

Father Robert Robeson, who has led the house of formation since its inception and whose title is changing to rector, said that the name change is “a matter of more accurately describing what we’re doing here.”

He said that people more easily understand a seminary to be a place where men are trained for the priesthood than a “house of formation.”

Although the house of formation is undergoing the name change, it will not be a freestanding, degree-granting institution. Its resident seminarians will continue to take classes at Marian College and reside on its campus.

There will also be a significant increase in the number of seminary residents.

At the end of the 2005-06 academic year, there were 12 seminarians participating in the program of priestly formation. All but one of them were affiliated with the archdiocese.

Father Robeson said that there could be as many as 21 seminarians residing at the seminary starting in the fall, with the archdiocese having as many as 14 seminarians. The Evansville Diocese may enroll as many as three seminarians, and the Lafayette Diocese may send as many as four men to the seminary on the campus of Marian College.

Father Robeson said he expects the increase in the number of seminarians to have a positive effect on the life of the seminary.

“The more guys you have, the more you can do in terms of spiritual formation, and also the richer experience they will have with the other seminarians,” he said.

Because of the increase in the number of seminarians, Father Daniel Donohoo will begin to assist Father Robeson this summer as the seminary’s new director of spiritual formation.

Father Donohoo’s duties will include serving as spiritual director for many of the seminarians, hearing confessions, celebrating Mass, leading theological reflection groups, and helping to plan and lead seminarian retreats.

“I really can’t think of too many things more important right now than to have the opportunity to form healthy, holy priests for the future,” said Father Donohoo, who will soon complete his tenure as the pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in Indianapolis.

“I think that’s what our people really expect, what the Church expects. And to have a hand in that—whatever contribution I can make toward that by introducing them to our wider tradition of prayer and of spirituality—that really does excite me.”

Father Robeson thinks the addition of Father Donohoo will benefit the seminarians.

“I think Father Donohoo is a perfect choice for this role because he’s a priest of wisdom,” Father Robeson said. “He’s had 20 years [in the] priesthood. He’s very, very broadly read in the area of

spirituality and has been a very successful spiritual director to many people. He’s just really the ideal choice for someone to fill this role.”

In addition to his two decades of life and ministry in the priesthood and his knowledge of the Church’s spiritual traditions, Father Donohoo also brings with him expertise in psychology that he gained from graduate studies in the field.

Father Robeson said that when he began his ministry at the house of formation two years ago, he expected it to grow. But he has been surprised by how fast that has happened.

He said that vocations directors of other dioceses have come to him to investigate the possibility of sending their college seminarians there, and noted that he did not seek them out.

Father Robeson credits the growth to the connection to Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, who was the president-rector of Saint Meinrad School of Theology before being ordained to the episcopate in 1987.

“People have confidence that any kind of seminary that he’s overseeing or that is under his authority will be effective and will have the right priorities,” Father Robeson said.

The house of formation also ended the year with its first graduate, seminarian Eric Hodde.

Although Hodde, a member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg, began his priestly formation before the house of formation was established, he was pleased to be the first of its residents to complete its program.

“To be the first graduate, that’s a great honor because clearly it’s going to be a great benefit to this archdiocese and to the community and to Marian College, and I think, all the way around, it’s really going to be a great program,” Hodde said. †

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