Come next June, the group of priests that has overseen St. Patrick's Seminary since it began 118 years ago will stop overseeing it.
The Society of the Priests of St. Sulpice (Sulpicians for short) announced Oct. 21 to the Archdiocese of San Francisco that they plan to withdraw administrative and academic services from the Menlo Park-based Catholic seminary and university when the academic year ends June 30, 2017.
The move caught the archdiocese by surprise, said Mike Brown, communications officer for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Sulpicians are a group of priests whose mission is to train seminary students, according to the seminary website, and the group has taught at St. Patrick's since the seminary began in 1898.
Currently, there are six faculty members and several administrators who are of the Sulpician group and will be leaving at the end of the school year, acording to Mr. Brown, representing roughly half of the faculty.
There are currently 63 seminary students, he said, generally from California and the Pacific Northwest.
The seminary will search for new faculty to replace those leaving, possibly from a different order of priests – though the Sulpicians are unique in their explicit focus on educating seminary students – or by other people, Mr. Brown said.
The seminary's board has already assembled a search committee to help find a new president-rector.