Historic Ushaw College will close its doors
A HISTORIC Roman Catholic College is to close, it was announced last night.
A large drop in the number of men training as priests has led to the decision to close Ushaw College, on the outskirts of Durham.
The 200-year old Roman Catholic college is home to St Cuthbert’s Seminary which has been training priests since its foundation in France more than 400 years ago.
The proposal means that the college will cease operating at the end of the current academic year, in June 2011.
In recent years, Ushaw College – between the villages of Bearpark and Esh – has opened its doors to the public in a bid to survive financially while continuing the work of the Roman Catholic Church in the region.
But conferences, heritage open days, paying guests and even a bikers’ rally in the picturesque grounds failed to halt the financial meltdown.
Currently, there are 26 seminarians in formation at St Cuthbert’s Seminary and once they have completed this year’s studies, it is proposed that they will transfer to another seminary.
Archbishop Patrick Kelly, chair of trustees, said: “This is one of the most difficult proposals that we as Trustees have had to make, not least because of the excellence of the formation our students are receiving.”
Monsignor John Marsland, President of the College, added: “Ushaw has a long history within the Roman Catholic Church and words cannot express how sad we are that we are considering such a drastic step.