FRANKLIN — Msgr. Ross Shecterle has been selected the new president-rector of Sacred Heart School of Theology, according to a news release issued by the seminary last Wednesday.
Msgr. Shecterle, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will become the seminary’s 19th rector, replacing Sacred Heart Fr. Jan de Jong, president-rector since 2008, who is retiring at the end of June at age 74.
The decision to appoint Msgr. Shecterle to the position was made by the Provincial Council of the U.S. Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the order that owns and operates the 80-year-old seminary.
Msgr. Shecterle was an assistant professor at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary from 1998 to 2002, dean of students from 2000 to 2002 and vice rector from 2002 to 2003, before being appointed rector of the American College of the Immaculate Conception in Louvain, Belgium, in 2007. The 154-year-old seminary closed last year due to low enrollment.
A licensed psychotherapist, he has served on the formation faculty of the Pontifical North American College in Rome as director of counseling services, and as an invited professor in pastoral psychology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas-Angelicum, Rome.
Msgr. Shecterle earned his master of divinity degree with honors from Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1986.
From 1986 to 1990, he served as associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Burlington, and continued as assistant vocation director, director of the high school seminary program and director of college recruitment for the Milwaukee Archdiocese in the early 1990s.
Msgr. Shecterle earned his license in sacred theology, graduating magna cum laude in 1994 at the Catholic University of Louvain. He earned his master’s in 1995 and his doctorate in pastoral counseling in 2000, both from Loyola College in Baltimore.
“The Priests of the Sacred Heart made the decision to open its rector search process beyond its own members in order to ensure that its candidate pool included the most qualified of applicants, and at this moment, the most appropriate candidate for president-rector of Sacred Heart School of Theology is a priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,” said Sacred Heart Fr. Thomas Cassidy, superior of the order, in the release. “We are confident that the charism of our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon, will continue to be the foundation for all that is done here at Sacred Heart School of Theology.”
Since 2006, the academic formation of seminarians for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has taken place at Sacred Heart School of Theology, while their formation in the human, spiritual and pastoral dimensions continues at Saint Francis Seminary.
Currently 93 students are enrolled at Sacred Heart School of Theology, including 18 seminarians for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Transition efforts are beginning immediately and Msgr. Shecterle will assume his new post July 1.