- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

A once-abandoned building in Hyattsville yesterday officially became a school for men studying for the priesthood both within the Archdiocese of Washington and throughout the world.

“It’s not easy to be a good shepherd,” said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, who performed the dedication ceremony.

The four-story building will serve as one of the nation’s five Redemptoris Mater seminaries.

Seventy-four men are studying for the priesthood in the archdiocese. On May 27, the cardinal will ordain 12 of them, including two from Redemptoris Mater. It will be the largest ordination class for the District since 1979 and the second-largest ordination class of any diocese in the country this year.

The building, on 17 acres, was constructed in 1929 for a Christian Brothers seminary. A few years later, the building was closed and sold to the federal government, which eventually abandoned it.

Cardinal McCarrick founded Redemptoris Mater in 2001 to train men from around the world to become missionary priests.

The archdiocese bought the building three years later and began renovating.

Cardinal McCarrick led other Catholic officials yesterday through the building, sprinkling holy water on the fourth-floor chapel, a sanctuary and a two-story library.

Entrance halls throughout the building have polished Italian marble floors. The chapel has polished Spanish marble floors and seating for as many as 250.

A hand-painted icon on the wall depicts the Nativity, Last Supper and Resurrection.

Some of the new seminarians will be selected from various countries. Most will speak two or more languages. Upon completing studies, some will be assigned to the Washington archdiocese and some will be sent to other countries.

“They will be part of this diocese in every part of the world,” Cardinal McCarrick said.

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