The Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Guam was established in December, 1999 and now, based on a decision by Diocese of Agana Archbishop Michael Byrnes, it will likely close in December, 2017.
"The main reason for the closing the seminary is that it is simply not a sustainable model for the Archdiocese of Agana," Byrnes said. "I've deliberated long and hard. This has not been an easy decision."
Archbishop Byrnes said he made his decision after working with a review committee and a wide variety of consultants to the church. This will be the final semester of the seminary. Byrnes will establish a transition team for the closure, starting with the future of presently enrolled seminarians, currently number between 15 and 20.
The Diocese currently is supporting three seminarians from the former St. John Paul the Great Seminary in Malojloj studying for the priesthood at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California. Annual tuition alone for each student is just under $20,000 per student and the overall cost per student ranges from $40,000 to $42,000 each.
Most currently enrolled seminarians will probably move on to other RMS-oriented seminaries in the U.S. mainland. Efforts will be made to document their work while studying on Guam and the property, the former Accion Hotel, will be a major asset in an expected court ordered settlement of more than a hundred clergy sexual abuse cases next year. There's no conclusive publicly available value placed on the ocean view property. Byrnes said it could be anywhere from $2 to $70 million. He said he was not aware of any currently interested buyers.
Byrnes was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Agaña in October 2016, after Archbishop Apuron, a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, was accused of sexually abusing minors. Apuron’s Vatican trial is ongoing, and he also faces several civil lawsuits.
"We are one church and my hope would be that some of that strife in the church would subsides," Archbishop Byrnes said. "That's my hope."
[Archbishop Byrnes said he had no further information on the canonical trial of Archbishop Apuron, which he recently said had concluded. He pointed out that even the identity of the judges is secret.
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