New leader named for Mundelein Seminary, University of St. Mary of the Lake

A biblical scholar and astrophysicist has been named the new rector/president of Mundelein Seminary and University of St. Mary of the Lake, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich announced Friday.

The Rev. John Francis Kartje succeeds Bishop-elect Robert E. Barron, whom the pope appointed an auxiliary bishop in the Los Angeles Archdiocese in July.

"Father Kartje is a well-respected priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago, with a keen mind, pastoral heart and mature personal spirituality," Cupich said in a news release. "These qualities will serve him well as he takes on this new office. I am confident he will build on the already well-established tradition that has distinguished Mundelein Seminary both nationally and internationally."

Kartje has been at the seminary since 2009, serving as acting president of the pontifical faculty of theology, assistant professor of biblical studies, seminarian spiritual director and formation faculty team member.

A native of East Chicago, Indiana, Kartje has bachelor's degrees in math and physics from the University of Chicago, where he also earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics in 1995.

Kartje was ordained in the Archdiocese of Chicago and received a bachelor of sacred theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in 2002 and earned a doctorate of sacred theology from Catholic University of America.

"I am humbled by the honor of serving our Archdiocese and the Church as rector/president of Saint Mary of the Lake University/Mundelein Seminary," Kartje said in a news release. "This is a place where I found peace and support as I fulfilled my vocation and I look forward to helping form men for the priesthood and teaching others about the faith through our many programs."

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