Msgr. Ross Shecterle has been selected as the new president-rector of Sacred Heart School of Theology, the graduate Roman Catholic Seminary in Franklin, Wis. He replaces The Very Rev. Jan de Jong, SCJ, president-rector since 2008, who is retiring at the end of June at the age of 74.
Msgr. Shecterle, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will become the seminary’s 19th rector. He previously served as rector of the American College of the Immaculate Conception in Louvain, Belgium, which closed last June.
The Provincial Council of the U.S. Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, the order that owns and operates the 80-year-old seminary, made the selection Wednesday.
The Very Rev. Thomas Cassidy, SCJ, superior of the order, said, “I look forward to Msgr. Shecterle’s service to an apostolate that is close to my heart, as a former rector myself. I look forward to working with him as he continues to advance the goals of the seminary, including its strong collaborative relationship with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and the spirituality of our founder, Fr. Leo John Dehon.”
Msgr. Shecterle was an assistant professor at St. Francis de Sales Seminary from 1998 to 2002, dean of students from 2000 to 2002, and vice rector from 2002 to 2003.
A licensed psychotherapist, he has served on the formation faculty of the Pontifical North American College in Rome as director of counseling services, and as an invited professor in pastoral psychology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas-Angelicum, Rome.
Msgr. Shecterle earned his license in sacred theology (S.T.L.) graduating, magna cum laude, in 1994 at the Catholic University of Louvain. He earned his master’s in 1995 and his doctorate in pastoral counseling in 2000, both from Loyola College in Baltimore, Md.
He earned his master of divinity with honors from St. Francis de Sales Seminary, St. Francis, Wisconsin, and was ordained to the priesthood, in 1986.
He served as associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Burlington, Wis., from 1986 to 1990, and continued as assistant vocation director, director of the high school seminary program and director of college recruitment for the Milwaukee Archdiocese in the early ’90s.
A published theologian, Msgr. Shecterle is a highly-sought speaker for academic and pastoral talks in the U.S. and internationally.
Transition efforts will get underway immediately, and Msgr. Shecterle will assume the post July 1.
Fr. Cassidy added, “The Priests of the Sacred Heart made the decision to open its rector search process beyond its own members in order to ensure that its candidate pool included the most qualified of applicants, and at this moment, the most appropriate candidate for president-rector of Sacred Heart School of Theology is a priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. We are confident that the charism of our founder, Fr. Dehon, will continue to be the foundation for all that is done here at Sacred Heart School of Theology.”