Enrolment is up sharply at Newman Theological College.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Enrolment is up sharply at Newman Theological College.

September 23, 2013
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

EDMONTON – Newman Theological College has begun the current academic year with higher enrolments than anticipated.

That's according to registrar Maria Saulnier, who says the college currently has 515 enrollments over all programs compared with 362 enrollments this time last year.

The figure includes 75 students in the new online Certificate in Catholic Studies program.

"Undergraduate program admissions (bachelor of theology, diploma in theology and certificate in theology combined) are up approximately 167 per cent; most of these are lay students," Saulnier said.

"Our MRE (master of religious education) and GDRE (graduate diploma in religious education) enrolments are up 114 per cent from this time last year."

Saulnier said Newman has 13 teachers enrolled in a Catholic School Administration course in Red Deer and 24 students enrolled in Newman's EXCEL Catholic School Administration course which is offered in collaboration with three local school boards.

Fr. Stephen Hero

Fr. Stephen Hero

College president Jason West is pleased with the numbers, saying the college is trying hard to focus on the education of lay people.

"We are trying to meet the needs of the various people in the archdiocese so that they will come to see Newman not just as a place to go to learn to do professional ministry but really as a central point for faith formation in Western Canada."

St. Joseph Seminary, located a few metres south of Newman, is having a good year too.

Currently, it has 45 seminarians, including eight who are doing their parish internships. Six seminarians are studying for the Archdiocese of Edmonton. Seminarians at St. Joseph come from 13 different dioceses, mostly in Western Canada.

"Forty-five is the highest it has been in a number of years," noted seminary rector Stephen Hero. "Last year we had 42."

The institution is expecting one ordination to the priesthood for the Edmonton Archdiocese next year and at least seven ordinations to the transitional diaconate, none of them for Edmonton.

Seminary enrolments are growing because many Western Canadian dioceses are paying attention to vocation ministry, Hero explained. "They are making deliberate efforts to promote vocations (to the priesthood)."