BLOOMFIELD – The Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education has granted St. Thomas Seminary reaccreditation. The endorsement, which is valid until Dec. 31, 2015, enables the seminary to issue a certificate of education for biblical studies and religious studies.
“Receiving reaccreditation means that the Board of Governors for Higher Education affirms the mission of the seminary to educate students in biblical and religious studies,” said Msgr. Gerard Schmitz, president of St. Thomas Seminary. “The primary goal of the seminary has always been the formation of candidates for ministry in the Catholic Church as priests, deacons and lay ministers.”
The Certificate in Biblical Studies is a part-time program that is completed over the course of four years for a total of 18 credits. It provides intensive study covering every book of the Bible.
Students learn skills for studying and praying with Scripture, focusing on both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
“I can’t say enough good things about it,” said biblical studies student Kim Petrillo.
Ms. Petrillo, a nurse, began taking the course in September to enhance her faith, she said, and perhaps to be able to teach Bible studies in the future.
“If I understand the Bible better, I will become closer to God, and be able to educate others,” she said.
Barbara Jean Daly Horell, chair of the biblical studies certificate program, said, “As a newly accredited academic program at St. Thomas Seminary, the Certificate in Biblical Studies not only enables our students to receive academic credit for their work, but also affirms the central place of Scripture study within the faith formation of adults and leaders in the Catholic Church.”
The Certificate in Religious Studies is also a part-time program that consists of 12 courses over four years. The program parallels diaconate formation, and currently is open only to candidates for the permanent diaconate. An expansion of this program for other areas of ministerial formation is anticipated in the near future.
Currently, there are 139 students enrolled in the seminary’s biblical studies program, and 26 students enrolled in the religious studies program.
Msgr. Schmitz said students have access to a wealth of resources at the seminary, namely the Archbishop O’Brien Memorial Library, and access to 22 archdiocesan agencies that are headquartered there.
Besides Msgr. Schmitz and Ms. Horell, the administration of the seminary includes Msgr. Michael J. Motta, dean; and Father Aidan N. Donahue, chair of the religious studies certificate program.
Catalogues are available at (860) 242-5573. Information about the programs is available at (860) 243-9465.