BERKELEY, CALIF. — Students of the Franciscan School of Theology will soon have a new location for their classes. Beginning in September 2013, FST will be located on the grounds of Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, Calif., as part of a new affiliation with the University of San Diego.
The nearly 50-year-old Franciscan School of Theology, part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, announced its plans last month to partner with the University of San Diego “for the mutual benefit of both institutions in serving the needs of their students, society and the universal church.” FST will move from its present location in Berkeley to the grounds of Mission San Luis Rey, roughly 35 miles north of the USD campus.
Students will have access to a broad range of graduate courses at USD, including courses offered in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. “These courses will enhance the capabilities of graduate studies to serve in stewardship roles in the Church and other mission-oriented institutions,” according to a Sept. 27 news release.
“Forging a relationship with USD gives FST an opportunity to explore new ways of expressing our faith for the twenty first century,” said Fr. John Hardin, OFM, provincial minister of the California-based St. Barbara Province and chair of the FST Board of Trustees.
To implement the plan, FST will transition from its current membership in the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. The relocation of the school will require the approvals of its accrediting agencies.
“While we grieve our losses and are grateful for all of our friends and colleagues at the GTU, we also look forward to this,” said Fr. Joseph Chinicci, OFM, president of the FST since spring 2011, in a letter to friends, faculty and alumni.
Old Mission San Luis Rey is the site of a variety of retreats and programs for both friars and the public. Last month, it offered a twilight retreat titled “The Spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi.” A weekend event titled “Greccio: The Child of our Dreams,” hosted by two Franciscan sisters, is scheduled for Dec. 14 to 16.
FST’s change is among several made recently by religious institutions. Earlier this year, the Washington Theological Union announced its closing. In March 2010, St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan Institute announced that its School of Franciscan Studies, the teaching component of the Franciscan Institute, was suspending new enrollments in the master of arts program taught during the academic year.
News of the FST and USD collaboration is posted on the FST website, along with announcements about new tuition discounts for employees of Catholic institutions and an Oct. 11 Mass in honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.