cleveland catholic priesthood

Seminary Vocation Office

Diocese of Cleveland

28700 Euclid Avenue
Wickliffe, OH 44092

P: 440-943-7660

Borromeo Seminary

Borromeo Seminary

Borromeo Seminary is a house of formation in the Diocese of Cleveland. It is located at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe, Ohio. Men who have been accepted into the Borromeo Seminary program live at the seminary and commute to John Carroll University, where they take most of their classes as they work toward their undergraduate degree.

Borromeo Seminary’s faculty members are adjunct faculty of John Carroll University. They teach certain philosophy and religious studies classes required by the Program of Priestly Formation at the seminary.

The Program of Priestly Formation is the guiding document issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and calls for four pillars of formation:  human, intellectual, pastoral, and spiritual. These four pillars are emphasized in the formation of our students as they discern their call to priestly ministry.

Click to go to the Borromeo Seminary website


History of Borromeo Seminary College


September 1952

Diocese obtains buildings and property of the former Marycrest School in Wickliffe.


Borromeo Seminary College July 16, 1953

Fr. John F. Whealon, Parochial Vicar of St. Aloysius Church in Cleveland is appointed rector of Borromeo Seminary.


September 1953

Borromeo Seminary High School opens with 80 students and covers the first three years of high school.


September 1954

Fourth year of high school is added and the College program begins. Borromeo Seminary High School is approved by the Ohio State Department of Education.


March 1957

Borromeo Seminary College is chartered under the laws of the State of Ohio and authorized by the State Board of Education to give the Bachelor of Philosophy degree.


Borromeo SeminaryApril 1958

Borromeo Seminary College is authorized to grant Bachelor of Arts degree.


July 1961

Msgr. Robert C. Wolff replaces Msgr. John F. Whealon, named an Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland in June, as rector of Borromeo Seminary.


September 1962

Borromeo reaches its height in enrollment with 500 students enrolled – 280 in high school and 220 in college.


March 1963

Borromeo Seminary College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.


November 1972

The Reverend Anthony M.  Pilla is named Rector of Borromeo Seminary as Msgr. Wolff becomes pastor of St. Angela Merici in Fairview Park.


June 1976

Borromeo Seminary High School closes.


October 1982

Rev. James L. Caddy is appointed Rector-President of Borromeo Seminary. Accreditation is renewed by the North Central Association for ten years without notations or additional requirements.



Coach William Tighe receives the Eleanor Eells Award for Program Excellence, the highest award granted by the American Camp Association.



The Captain’s Den opens, replacing the unused bowling alleys with areas for TV viewing and games. The room is named in memory of Captain Frank, a longtime kitchen employee and friend of the students.

Fr. Caddy assumes an active role in the NCEA Seminary Department.



By-laws of the Board of Trustees are revised and approved, calling for more engagement of the board members with the community.

The first Bishop’s Seminary Brunch is held at Landerhaven, a tradition that continues.

The quarterly newsletter for the two seminaries is renamed In-Formation.

The Vatican Visitation Team, comprised of five members under the leadership of Bishop Alfred C. Hughes, visits Borromeo to assess community life, discipline, administration, spiritual formation, academics and the apostolic program.



Continental Cable and the City of Wickliffe present Borromeo with video equipment.

Pulpit exchange program is launched. Borromeo students address school and parish youth groups.

Western Region Association of College Seminaries (WRACS) issues a case statement describing the value of college seminaries. Fr. Caddy is one of its founding members.

Rev. Thomas Johns establishes a Counseling Center at the seminary to assist students with academic or personal problems.



Seminary Task Force convenes, examining the future direction of Borromeo in light of declining enrollment. Relationship with John Carroll University is established.



Twenty-five percent of Borromeo students begin courses at JCU on a voluntary basis in January; in September, most Borromeo students enroll at JCU and take the majority of their classes there. Courses in philosophy and religious studies continue at Borromeo.



Fr. Caddy is elected to the Board of the NCEA Seminary Department.


Fall 1990

Fr. Caddy leads 22 students to Washington, DC, to participate in the National Right to Life March for Life.

Seminarians speak at 44 parishes to raise vocation awareness on Seminarian Outreach Sunday.

Laventhol-Horwath Management Advisory Services is engaged by the Diocese to conduct a thorough study of Borromeo and Saint Mary Seminaries to determine the most effective method of delivering an excellent education to future priests. As part of the study, Fr. Caddy visits other diocesan seminaries and local facilities that could house the Borromeo community. Each locale presents significant drawbacks. After thorough discernment and discussions, the decision is made to combine the two seminary campuses at Borromeo.

The first Alumni Day Picnic is held in July on the grounds of Borromeo.


May 1991

The final commencement ceremony for Borromeo College of Ohio is held. From 1954-1991, 796 degrees have been awarded and 2,721 students have attended the college.

Renovations begin to transform the facilities.


Borremo SeminarySeptember 1991

Borromeo College of Ohio will now be known as Borromeo Seminary, and joins with Saint Mary Seminary, the Diaconate Program, the Pastoral Ministry Program and later the Office for Continuing Education and Formation of Priests and Ministers to form the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe.



An Advisory Board for the CPL is established.

The first Alumni Basketball Tournament is held, with 27 alumni from Borromeo and Saint Mary participating.

Borromeo seniors are the first class to graduate from John Carroll University. Courses taught at Borromeo are listed in the JCU Catalog and JCU students may enroll in courses taught at Borromeo.

The first CPL family picnic for faculty and staff members is held. Over 200 children and adults participate.

The student dining room is dedicated in memory of Rev. John Krispinsky.



“Where Are You Going” retreat is inaugurated for adults considering the possibility of serving the church. The weekend is sponsored by the Diocesan Vocation Office and supported and staffed by Serrans. Seventy adults ranging in age from 19-50 participate.

The Continuing Education Office (now OCEFM) relocates from the Chancery to the CPL.



The Congregation of Catholic Education in Rome affirms the seminary programs for Saint Mary and Borromeo seminarians in a letter to Bishop Pilla from Pio Cardinal Laghi, Prefect of the Congregation. Borromeo Seminary is commended for its courses in philosophy and religious studies offered by the Borromeo faculty in addition to the regular academic program at JCU.

The college formation program adds monthly conferences by diocesan priests to share their ministry and personal witness.


Summer 1996

The first “Discovery,” a weekend retreat for ninth and tenth graders, is held at Cedar Hills in Painesville.

Borromeo hosts several Vocation Awareness Weekends for high school juniors and seniors and college students.

Fr. James Caddy, the sixth President-Rector, completes 14 years as Rector of Borromeo Seminary. At the time of his being named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Gates Mills, he was the longest standing rector of Borromeo Seminary.

Fr. Thomas M. Dragga is named the seventh President-Rector of Borromeo Seminary. He acquires and manages the placement of the Hallinan Art Collection. This is a 30-year collection of the prized pieces of Art sponsored by the Diocese of Cleveland. The collection was housed at the Case Western Reserve Hallinan Center prior to coming to the CPL.

In the late 1990s, Fr. Dragga oversees a modest renovation of the Resurrection Chapel that includes a new marble floor in the sanctuary, and placement and restoration of wood statues throughout the chapel.


November 2003-2004

Borromeo Seminary celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2003 beginning with a year long celebration on the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo on November 4, 2003. The celebration culminated on November 4, 2004, with the renaming of the High School Dining room as the Founders Room after the seven founding fathers of Borromeo Seminary, and one of the Courtyards named the Pilla Piazza, after Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, Ninth Bishop of Cleveland and a member of the first graduating class of Borromeo Seminary.

The seminary begins taking seminarians on its annual mission trip to Honduras.



The Aula Magna at the Seminary is renovated. Around the same time, in collaboration with COO Brian Houlihan, Fr. Dragga initiated architectural drawings for the renovation of the student rooms and second floor of the CPL. This project was placed on hold when Bishop Lennon became Bishop because of his desire to assess all of the needs of the diocese.



Dr. Chad Engelland, professor of philosophy, rewrites the philosophy curriculum for Borromeo Seminary in line with the guidelines for the Fifth Edition of the Program of Priestly Formation. The new edition calls for ten classes of philosophy (up from eight) that build on one another in order to provide students with a comprehensive view of reality, including nature, knowledge, ethics, being, the human person, and God.



Classrooms F and G are renovated and later renamed Augustine and Aquinas Hall. Artist Jeff Pasek (Borromeo ’97) is commissioned to paint portraits of 12 philosophers for the classroom walls.



Fr. Dragga and Fr. Damian Ference initiate “The New 12,” a vocation initiative to invite at least 12 young men to enter the seminary every year.

Borromeo Seminary, in conjunction with Saint Mary Seminary, begins a technology initiative. Seminarians and faculty members receive iPads and are given training with them as well as with ActiveBoards and videoconferencing in every classroom. The wireless environment of the seminaries serves to prepare seminarians to use technology for the new evangelization of the 21st century.


June 2013

Fr. Thomas Dragga, after serving as President-Rector for 17 years (and thereby becoming the latest longest standing rector of Borromeo Seminary), is named pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lakewood, OH. Fr. Mark Latcovich, President-Rector of St. Mary Seminary, becomes President-Rector of Borromeo Seminary as well.


Fall 2014

Enrollment at Borromeo steadily increases to its highest enrollment since the 1980s.