The Pontifical North American College

Rector’s Welcome

Welcome to the website of the Pontifical North American College!

A lot has changed since our mission began in 1859. A website is just one example of how our lives are very different from those of the first students who came from the United States to study for the Priesthood at the heart of the Church in the Eternal City. And yet, despite many dramatic changes, and having seen thousands of our men return home to serve the Church faithfully and joyfully, our mission remains the same. We exist to help form young men who discern that God is calling them from the midst of this world to serve Him and His Church as priests. This is a simple and yet profoundly privileged mission. I am glad that you are interested in it, and I hope that what you find on these pages gives you at least an initial introduction to the many good and holy things that we are about.

Beginning in 1859, the Pontifical North American College has been forming priests for service of the Church in the United States. It was in response to an appeal by Pope Pius IX for an American Seminary in Rome, that the Catholic bishops of the United States founded our College as a house of formation and study for the diocesan priesthood. Pope Pius IX believed that bringing men to live in the heart of the Church for priestly formation would provide for the Church in North America happy, healthy and holy priests with a love and appreciation for the Successor of St. Peter; a loyalty to a man’s own Bishop; and a broad understanding of the issues the whole world faces in following Christ. Those many years ago, the Holy Father knew that the world was becoming more and more interrelated. This has been and continues to be a part of our mission at the Pontifical North American College. The College has grown beautifully over the years to also include not only the formation of seminarians, but also the continuing education of clergy through the Casa Santa Maria, our house for priests engaged in graduate studies at the Pontifical Universities of Rome, and the Institute for Continuing Theological Education for priests on sabbaticals. In addition, the College also assists a few bishops from Australia and Canada in forming men for their dioceses too. And the ties which are formed between our men and the Holy Father, and indeed an experience of the Universal Church are as close as ever, and I believe as necessary as ever.

I ask you for your prayers for the important work of forming priests after the heart of Christ Himself. And I thank you for your interest in and support of the Pontifical North American College.

May God bless you!

Very Reverend Peter C. Harman, S.T.D., Rector

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