Louvain, BELGIUM (September 25, 2006)The Reverend Ross A. Shecterle, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been appointed the sixteenth Rector of The American College of the Immaculate Conception, to become effective 15 July 2007. Announcement of Father Shecterle's appointment was made in Louvain by The Most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne and Chairman of the Committee for The American College of Louvain, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), on 22 September 2006 during the seminary's formal opening of its 150th year.
Father Shecterle will succeed the Very Reverend Kevin A. Codd, a priest of the Diocese of Spokane, who will be completing a six-year term as Rector, preceded by two years as Vice-Rector of The American College. Father Codd commented on the appointment of his successor, "Father Shecterle is an excellent choice as Rector of this venerable seminary, and I am deeply grateful to him for his generosity in accepting the invitation of the American bishops to lead their seminary in Louvain. He will bring immense talents, great energy, and deep faith to the leadership of this institution; it is a joy to hand over the mantle of the rectorship to a priest of his standing and quality."
Father Shecterle currently serves on the Formation Faculty of the Pontifical North American College in Rome as Director of Counseling Services. Father Shecterle was born in Milwaukee in 1960 and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on 17 May 1986. In 1982 he received his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology at Saint Francis de Sales College in Milwaukee, and in 1986 he earned his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee. Following his ordination to the priesthood, he received in 1994 his License in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) in Dogmatic Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain, where he resided at The American College. He followed those studies by completing a Master of Science (M.S.) in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1995, and then continued his studies at the same institution, completing his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Pastoral Counseling in 2000.
Father Shecterle served as Associate Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Burlington, Wisconsin, from 1986 to 1990. From 1990 to 1992 he served as Assistant Vocation Director, Director of the High School Seminary Program, and Director of College Recruitment for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. From 1998 to 2003 he was Assistant Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Psychology at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary of Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2002 he was Dean of Students and from 2002 to 2003 the Vice-Rector at the same seminary. Since July 2003 Father Shecterle has served on the Formation Faculty of the Pontifical North American College in Rome as Director of Counseling Services. He also serves as an Invited Professor in Pastoral Psychology at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas-Angelicum in Rome. He has given many presentations in the United States and internationally on priestly formation, celibacy, spirituality, and psychological health. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor of the State of Wisconsin. He authored the book The Theology of Revelation of Avery Dulles, 1980-1994: Symbolic Mediation, Volume 8, Roman Catholic Studies Monograph Series, Edwin Mellen Press, New York and Wales, U.K., 1996.
The American College of the Immaculate Conception was founded in 1857 and is presently celebrating the 150th anniversary of its foundation by Bishops Martin J. Spalding of Louisville and Peter Paul Lefevere of Detroit. In the nineteenth century it prepared European seminarians for ministry in the mission fields of North America and became home as well for American seminarians seeking advanced philosophical and theological formation in preparation for priestly service in their home dioceses in America; after the First World War, it became a house of formation primarily for American seminarians. The American College continues its original mission of seminary formation today. It now also serves as a house of studies for priests and religious seeking advanced degrees in theology, philosophy, and canon law at the Catholic University of Louvain and for those in need of sabbatical and renewal programs.