Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 19, 2010
Seminary rector named to head Newman College
Craig surprised by getting second post as Kulmatycki steps down
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
Even Father Shayne Craig was surprised when Archbishop Richard Smith asked him to become the new president of Newman Theological College.
With only one year left on his second three-year term as rector of St. Joseph Seminary, Craig says, "I wasn't expecting any different or an expanded role here."
But when the archbishop called, Craig answered.
So the 45-year-old Sulpician priest, originally from the Victoria Diocese, agreed to a two-year stint as both college president and seminary rector.
As president of Newman College, he takes over from Bryn Kulmatycki who has served in the position since 2005. Kulmatycki's term was due to expire in July, but he left March 30 under a mutual agreement, said the archbishop.
Smith said the decision to consolidate the two positions, at least for the next two years, came as the result of a lengthy review of governance procedures at the college.
The seminary and college need the three positions of college president, seminary rector and academic dean (Father Stefano Penna), he said. But with the small size of the two institutions, there was potential to have one person hold two positions.
"It's the right fit," he said, noting Craig's long history with the two institutions. "He understands that Newman serves not just seminarians, but also lay people."
Indeed, Craig said he has been linked with Newman and the seminary for 24 years. He received his seminary training at St. Joseph and has served on the formation team, as vice-rector and finally as rector.
"It's a great privilege to be able to give something back," he said.
The two institutions will move onto the central Edmonton "campus" with the Catholic Pastoral Centre over the summer.
"The new college is magnificent; it's beautiful. The new seminary as well," Craig said. "These are exciting times."
One challenge at the new location, he said, will be to have diocesan institutions working more closely together. "It's a vision I share . . . which helps."
Both Craig and the archbishop said the seminary and college will always remain independent institutions.
"There's no way you could collapse the two into each other," the priest said. "I don't think anybody would advocate that."
"The college is not the seminary; the seminary is not the college. We are separate institutions but we work together."
The college has had several priests - such as Fathers Mike McCaffery, Gerald Wiesner and Jack Gallagher - serve as president in the past, he said. "Father Don MacDonald was president of the college for awhile and I don't think the college collapsed into the Franciscans."
Likewise, Craig sees greater coordination with the archdiocese's office of faith formation and evangelization.
"The fundamental thrust behind Nothing More Beautiful is a re-formation of our people in the fundamentals of the Christian faith, he said. Newman College represents another step in that formation process.
Craig said the jobs of rector and president each have a different focus. The seminary rector is involved with the formation of seminarians for the priesthood. The college president is much more involved in administration.
LOTS OF CONSULTATION
Although Newman College is a small institution, it has a model of shared governance, which involves lots of consultation. The president, he said, is involved in coordinating that consultation.
He also raised the possibility that Newman may bring back its undergraduate programs in theology, which were cut two years ago. The Association of Theological Schools, which provides accreditation to such institutions, has changed its rules to make it possible for small graduate theological schools to also run undergraduate programs.
Smith paid tribute to Kulmatycki for his contributions to the college. The college board of governors, he noted, passed a resolution extending its "profound thanks" to the former school superintendent for his work at Newman.
Kulmatycki "has led the college well in a very challenging time of transition," he said. "He's a real man of the Church and a servant of the Church."
A farewell celebration is being planned for Kulmatycki.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.