Very Rev. Timothy F. Whalen, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and currently chancellor of the Orchard Lake Schools in Michigan, has been named the eleventh rector of Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
In his role at Orchard Lake, Father Whalen served as chancellor of both Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary and Saint Mary’s Preparatory School in the Archdiocese of Detroit. At Saint Vincent Seminary, Father Whalen will lead the first major seminary in the United States operated by Benedictine monks. The appointment is effective January 16, 2012.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Father Timothy Whalen as the new rector of Saint Vincent Seminary to our campus,” said Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B. “With his rich experience in education and in pastoral ministry, he will certainly be in a position, with our faculty, to enhance the educational philosophy of the Seminary—‘scholarship in service of pastoral care’.”
“Father Whalen has done an outstanding job in priestly formation at Orchard Lake,” said Most Rev. David Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh, in recommending Father Whalen to serve as rector.“His approach to ministry has been clearly pastoral.”
“I am delighted that Father Whalen has agreed to accept the responsibilities of Rector of Saint Vincent Seminary,” said Dr. James Maher, chairman of the Seminary Board of Regents, “I look forward to working with him and all the members of the Saint Vincent community to continue the development of the Seminary in service to the Church.”
Father Whalen graduated from Saint Mary’s Preparatory School in 1970. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Duquesne University in 1974, and a master of arts degree in systematic theology from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1978. He has done additional graduate work in education administration and spirituality at Duquesne University. Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, he has served as chancellor of the Orchard Lake Schools for the past twelve years.
“In the twelve years that I’ve been at Orchard Lake, I have had the opportunity to serve in key leadership roles in the operation of the seminary,” said Father Whalen. “I have enjoyed working with the faculty in the education and formation of students preparing for the priesthood and I’m looking forward to continuing that challenging ministry at Saint Vincent. I am honored to be asked to serve in this leadership role in the formation of priests to serve the Church.”
In his role as chancellor, Father Whalen has had a leadership role in development campaigns for the Orchard Lake Schools and the community. Father Whalen supervised accreditation for the Seminary by the Association of Theological Schools and the Michigan Accrediting Agency for Non-Public Schools. He has represented the Seminary at community and civic events and meetings; oversaw the celebration of events connected with the 125th anniversary of the Orchard Lake Schools’ founding; and served as the spiritual leader of the Orchard Lake Schools community.
His experience both as pastor and in education has been wide-ranging: budget management within his diocesan and pastoral roles; retreats and lectures in youth ministry on both the national and regional levels; ministry in suburban, city, inner-city and rural parishes; reorganization of five ethnic parishes into one parish in Ambridge; and working in school and university environments.
“I recognize in our young people a real hunger for a relationship with God. I believe that seminarians have to get in touch with their own hunger and their own thirst in their lives, their own need for the Lord Jesus, and be able to share that, to feed others with what they have learned,” said Father Whalen. “The primary challenge of the seminarian is to examine his love for Jesus Christ and to grow in that love. This is the basis for all that he learns and does and says.”
Before his assignment in Michigan, Father Whalen served as pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish and administrator of Saint Joseph Parish, Diocese of Pittsburgh, while also serving as director of Catholic Campus Ministry at California University of Pennsylvania (1995-2000). He served in team ministry at Good Samaritan Parish, and chaplain of Quigley Catholic High School (1994-1995). He also served in the Office of Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry and as director of Spiritual Formation of Youth for the Diocese of Pittsburgh (1986-1994). He served as chaplain of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity (1986-1989); as parochial vicar of Saint Lawrence O’Toole Parish; as chaplain at Lawrenceville Area Catholic High School (1983-1986); and as parochial vicar of Saint Anselm Parish (1978-1983).
Father Whalen’s assignments included serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of Madonna University (2006-present); delegate to the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and the Polish National Alliance (2000-present); the National Catholic Engaged Encounter Executive Team (1994-1997); the Catholic Engaged Encounter of Pittsburgh Executive Team (1994-1997); the Board of Regents of Orchard Lake Schools and the Board of Trustees of Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary (1989-1998); the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry Committee for Evangelization (1986-1991); the Pittsburgh Diocesan Committee for Spiritual Renewal of the Priesthood (1987-1988); Whale’s Tail (Youth Drug and Alcohol Counseling Center) Board of Directors (1986-1988); Central Catholic High School Advisory Board (1981-1983); and as adjunct spiritual director for Saint Paul Seminary (1978-1987).
Saint Vincent Seminary was founded by Abbot Boniface Wimmer in 1846 and canonically established by Pope Pius IX in 1855. The Seminary has given the Church more than forty bishops and abbots, both in America and in Europe. Its alumni also include musicians, historians, labor priests, and biblical scholars.
In recent years, Saint Vincent Seminary trained men for the Roman Catholic priesthood from many archdioceses and dioceses within the United States, including Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Erie, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Altoona-Johnstown and Greensburg, Pennsylvania; Steubenville and Youngstown, Ohio; Paterson, New Jersey; Covington, Kentucky and Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, as well as Brazil, Taiwan, and China. The Seminary also serves religious communities of Benedictine men, as well as other orders, and has instituted a new master of arts program in ecclesial ministry, aimed at training candidates for the permanent diaconate.