Community celebrates 100-year anniversary of Mundelein Seminary

Chicago News

MUNDELEIN, Ill. — Crowds of people impacted by Mundelein Seminary gathered at the University of St. Mary of the Lake campus on Sunday to celebrate the Seminary’s impact over the course of 100 years.

Mundelein Seminary, located on the beautiful 1,300 acre campus has been the figurate heartbeat of many people’s lives.

“It means everything to me, I’ve been coming out here for years and years and years, since Cardinal George was here,” attendee Sharon Harris said.

Harris is one of hundreds of people who traveled to the university on Sunday for the celebration.

Harris, who said her grandson was baptized here, has plenty of fond memories of the past on this campus.

“We would stay overnight in the building next door and it was wonderful. I met a lot of people,” Harris said.

Archbishop George Mundelein opened the schools of philosophy and theology in 1921. Over its history, hundreds of priests have graduated from Mundelein Seminary, leaving their footprint across the globe.

“Millions have been impacted through their ministry and service because each one of those priests have impacted tens of thousands of people over the course of their 50 years, 60 years in priesthood,” Father John Kartje-Rector said.

Father John Kartje, who graduated from the seminary in 2002 and was ordained by Cardinal George, said the school trains priests who come from a variety of professions.

“I think that’s a blessing to the church because they bring that perspective, they bring those gifts,” Kartje-Rector said.

Father Tom Franzman, who shared some of the seminary’s history, shared long lost film of crowds flocking to the campus in 1926 for the last day of the Eucharistic Congress.

“It was the largest movement of people by train I understand, of any day in the US,” Franzman said.

Franzman graduated from the seminary in 1971 and recalls the wonderful people who helped maintain and operate the once self-sustaining campus.

“All those people who worked here, from the carpenters to the plumbers and electricians, all those folks became a real part of my life when I was a student,” Franzman said.

In recent years, about 30 to 40 priests graduate from the seminary each year.

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