Finding the Land to Grow Priests

Where Vocations Take Root

The ideal seminary environment is designed to assist in the formation of the “whole man.” It should form the spirit and turn the soul toward God. As such, we searched for property that was quiet, remote, and removed from the noise of secular society—fertile ground for the seed of a priestly vocation to grow.

“Part of the difficulty that we all have in a transient age is that everyone is rootless,” explains Rev. Matthew Kauth, Rector of St. Joseph College Seminary. A vocation is a seed of the priesthood, and a seminary by definition is a seedbed. “It’s necessary to create a bit of a buffer, a raised bed as it were, to plant that seed so a young man’s vocation can take root. We want to make sure these men are first rooted in Christ and secondly, organically connected to each other. As such, even their roots are entangled in the Diocese and with their brother priests.”
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On September 8, 2017, the Diocese purchased 86 acres of wooded land—plenty of room to put down roots deep enough to grow and support seminarians in our Diocese for generations to come.

The property is located just two miles from Belmont Abbey College where St. Joseph’s seminarians will work toward an undergraduate degree in Philosophy as part of their priestly formation. It connects two parcels straddling the municipalities of Belmont and Mt. Holly and backs up to 50 acres of pasture, creating a buffer to allow for silence, contemplation, and recreation. Strong bonds will be formed between brother priests as they cookout, camp out, and work the land.
As a providential sign, the seminary’s land is located at 1212 Perfection Avenue. Christian perfection is the goal of the spiritual life, especially for the priesthood. It will serve as a perpetual reminder of the command of Christ: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).