CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Charlotte, North Carolina diocese will be debuting its new minor seminary this fall, and the bishop has appointed a faithful priest to be its rector.
"I have a healthy amount of fear about it," Fr. Matthew Kauth told ChurchMilitant.com. "It is an immense responsibility — preparing men for something so awesome in the true sense of the word."
Bishop Peter Jugis officially announced news of St. Joseph College Seminary on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph. It will be a seminary for college-aged applicants, with eight men making up the first class in August. Although fundraising efforts are underway to build a seminary that can house 20 students, the hope is that the number will eventually increase to 50. Courses in the first year will include theology, rhetoric, logic, pre-Socratics, Latin, and Gregorian chant and polyphony.
"The bishop has made it one of his most pressing concerns to work for vocations," said Fr. Kauth. "Part of that is to do what the Church envisions, namely, that each diocese be solicitous to have a minor seminary if possible where we might exercise our own spiritual fatherhood in forming these young men in the seeds of a vocation."
On the most essential aspects of seminarians' learning, Fr. Kauth remarked:
Most of the work you do is teaching them two fundamental things: first, how to do mental prayer, how to have a relationship with the living God, and second, learning the virtues. The Church in Her documents on seminary training calls it "affective maturity," but we often talk about the virtues specifically and how to attain them. The intellectual virtues depend on the moral virtues and vice versa. It is insufficient to study philosophy and develop a habitus of the mind if the passions are not in order, etc. It takes great discipline and a lot of generous will to develop all those virtues.
He continued, "The bottom line is the world is a bad formator of men — and the seminary must be a good one."
Father Kauth arrived to Charlotte High in 2012, and quickly helped turn around the faith life by organizing daily Masses (including the Traditional Latin Mass), regular confession, the blessing of classrooms and school grounds, and establishing himself as a regular priestly presence at the school.
He is hopeful about the direction of Charlotte High. "We have a new principal who is good, and we have a new head of theology ... who is fantastic," he told ChurchMilitant.com. "We have some new theology hires that are all very good, so it's definitely moving in the right direction." Father Kauth also said the new priest is "a very good priest" and "a great, great guy." His relationship with the students is a positive one.
Even so, it's uncertain whether Fr. Kauth will continue at Charlotte High School once he takes up his new duties as rector of the seminary, where he along with seminarians will follow a rule of life that will include daily Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual direction, praying the Rosary, as well as a rigorous education in philosophy and the humanities.
Learn how you can help St. Joseph College Seminary here.