The Institute for Priestly Formation’s recent strategic planning process conducted during 2019, our 25th anniversary year, identified as its top priority the appointment of a new Executive Director for the Institute. I am pleased to announce to you today that Father Brian Welter, Vice Rector of Formation at Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, has been appointed to that post, effective July 1, 2020.
Father Welter received a B.S. in Manufacturing Technology at Bradley University; and an S.T.B. and M.Div. from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. Ordained a priest in 2005 for the Archdiocese of Chicago, he served as Associate Pastor St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, Orland Hills, IL, and then as Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Chicago. At Mundelein Seminary he served as Director of Spiritual Formation before being appointed to the role of Vice Rector in 2016.
Father Welter completed the Institute’s Spiritual Exercises program as well as its Spiritual Direction Training Program. He has served as an adjunct faculty member and spiritual director with the Institute since 2010.
The Institute’s Board is delighted that Father Welter has agreed to serve in this important role and is confident that he is the right choice to lead the Institute at this time. Having just completed a strategic planning process, the Institute is poised to be of even greater service to the Church in the United States and beyond in the coming years. We are deeply grateful to Cardinal Blase Cupich and the Archdiocese of Chicago for allowing Father Welter to serve in this new ministry.
One of the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation, Father Richard Gabuzda has served as the Executive Director since the Institute began in 1994. He has overseen the growth of the Institute from an initial summer program with six seminarians to a year-round mission to priests and seminarians fostering their deepening interior lives in communion with Christ. The summer seminarian program consistently reaches capacity at 176 seminarians. This winter 120 priests are completing the three-year spiritual direction training program for diocesan priests. Over the past quarter century, the Institute has served over 3,000 seminarians and more than 800 priests. That represents participants from 165 U.S. dioceses and 55 international dioceses.
I would like to offer profound gratitude to Father Gabuzda for his years of service and leadership to the Institute over this time of incredible growth. Father Gabuzda will remain on the staff of the Institute, continuing to serve as Director of Programs, as Moderator of the IPF Priests of St. Joseph, and helping to provide a smooth transition for Father Welter.
We look forward to welcoming Father Welter in July and to supporting him with our prayers as he leads the Institute.