PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A historic seminary near Philadelphia that two popes have visited is looking to relocate.
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary announced Tuesday it wants to affiliate with a local Roman Catholic college or university and move its entire operation into newly constructed buildings on or near that school's campus.
The seminary, which occupies 75 acres in the suburb of Lower Merion, was founded in 1832 and has been at its current location for nearly 150 years.
Spokesman Jay Devine said the move is aimed at strengthening the seminary's programs and developing facilities with up-to-date technology attractive to young people.
Saint Charles had 142 seminarians in the most recent graduating class and will have nearly 170 during the upcoming academic year, he said.
Pope Francis stayed at Saint Charles Borromeo during his Philadelphia trip in September. St. John Paul II visited in 1979.
Three years ago, the seminary announced a plan to consolidate its facilities on one section of its campus after renovations, then lease or sell underused buildings and property. But after a recent independent feasibility study, the board decided to scrap that plan and relocate the entire school.
The Philadelphia Archdiocese said the timing is to be determined.
"This new path forward allows us to pursue new facilities that will further enrich and better serve the contemporary academic, spiritual and human needs of our seminarians and lay students," said the seminary's rector, Bishop Timothy Senior.
The seminary prepares men for the priesthood and the diaconate and provides high-level religious instruction for lay men and women.