The Catholic University of America

April 20, 2007

Rev. Melvin C. Blanchette, S.S., Named Rector of the Theological College of The Catholic University of America

Sulpician Father Melvin C. Blanchette

Baltimore, MD - The Provincial Council of the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice announces the appointment of Sulpician Father Melvin C. Blanchette, M.A., Ph.D., as Rector of Theological College, the seminary of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, effective July 1, 2007. This appointment has been made by the Sulpician Fathers with the approval of Father David M. O'Connell, C.M., President of the University, and the Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, S.T.D., Archbishop of Washington and Chancellor of the University.

Sulpician Provincial Father Ronald D. Witherup praised Father Blanchette as "a dedicated and talented Sulpician who is very well qualified for his new duties. An expert in human and spiritual formation, his extensive experience in the continuing formation of priests around the country will serve him well in his new role." Father Witherup noted that in April of 2000, Father Blanchette received from the National Catholic Education Association the Pope John Paul II Award for outstanding service to American and Canadian seminaries. Also, in February of 2001, the National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy gave him the Pope John XXIII award for his contributions to the continuing formation of priests and religious.

A spiritual director and formation advisor at Theological College since 2004, Father Blanchette is an alumnus of St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, MI, and he is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was ordained in 1967 and became a Sulpician in 1975.

In addition to degrees in theology and in counseling, Father Blanchette holds a doctorate in psychology from the United States International University in San Diego, CA. Prior to joining the formation team at Theological College, Father Blanchette served as director of the Vatican II Institute for Clergy Formation in Menlo Park, CA, and as director of the Center for Continuing Formation at St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, MD. Since 1994, he has been a member of the General Council of the Society of St. Sulpice.

Father Blanchette will replace Father Thomas R. Hurst, S.S., who has been rector since 2002. Father Witherup called Father Hurst "a very effective pastor of the community at Theological College. He is a dedicated and loyal priest of the Church who has been an excellent role model for seminarians." Father Hurst's new assignment will be announced as soon as the assignment process is completed.

Theological College is a national Roman Catholic seminary, affiliated with The Catholic University of America. Founded in 1917, Theological College is owned and operated by the Society of St. Sulpice, pioneers in priestly formation in the United States since 1791.

For more information, contact the Office of the Sulpician Provincial at 410-323-5070 or