SAINT MARY’S SEMINARY’S 125TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY TO BE CELEBRATED AUGUST 4-6 AT MERCYHURST NORTH EAST, PA
NORTH EAST, PA, Jun. 19, 2006 – Alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the former Saint Mary’s Seminary are invited to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Redemptorist Fathers’ preparatory college and high school during a reunion weekend, August 4-6, hosted by the school’s current owners, Mercyhurst North East.
Also known as St. Mary’s College, the order’s minor seminary was home for 106 years to thousands of young men from parishes in the Redemptorist’s Baltimore Province and its vice provinces, which included the Eastern and Southern United States, as well as portions of the Caribbean and South America.
From its founding in 1881 to its closing in 1987, some 2,100 young men graduated from the school. Even with new owners, the spirit of Saint Mary’s endures in these striking granite buildings in the borough of North East, PA, overlooking Lake Erie, just south of the New York State border. Nearly every week some alumnus drops by his alma mater to wander and reminisce, according to Dr. Gary Brown, Executive Vice President of Mercyhurst North East.
“They realize that they are still in love with Saint Mary’s,” Dr. Brown said. “We’re hosting this reunion so as many alumni as possible can come celebrate this historic occasion. We want to welcome them back home.”
Having purchased the property from the Redemptorists in 1991, Mercyhurst College has added an academic building and three dormitories, whose granite exteriors reflect the original Saint Mary’s architecture, which Dr. Brown and his staff have meticulously preserved.
In addition to a three-day schedule of social and recreational activities, including a Saturday night cookout banquet, the reunion weekend will also feature a spiritual celebration of the Redemptorist heritage at Saint Mary’s, particularly the order’s devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Her icon is still enshrined in the college chapel, whose towering gothic spire remains a local landmark visible from miles around.
“To go to St. Mary’s, traveling hundreds of miles from home at the tender age of thirteen, was the adventure of a lifetime, a formative experience that one never forgets,” said Father Patrick Woods, a North East graduate and former seminary professor, now the provincial superior. “The strangers we met in those first lonely days may well have become our best friends for life.
“Almost all who attend this seminary would gratefully point to that experience as one of the most important times of their lives. That’s why we come back to this place of our memories. This alma mater prepared us so well for the journeys we would take in life.
“I offer my deepest thanks Mercyhurst North East and Dr. Gary Brown for welcoming us home,” Father Woods said.
For more information, those interested should log onto the celebration’s website [www.northeast125.com] for a schedule of events and registration forms or contact reunion coordinator Jack Breslin by email [email@example.com] or phone (914-632-9805).
The reunion organizers stress that anyone who attended St. Mary’s Seminary or St. Mary’s College for any length of time, as well as former faculty, staff, families and friends of the school, are invited to the celebration. Limited on-campus accommodations are still available and several local hotels offer group rates.
Registration for reunion events, meals and on-campus lodging should be made as soon as possible.