Coming off the heels of its largest graduating class in over a decade and with 123 seminarians enrolled for the start of the school year—a high mark not seen since 2012—the Lord has truly blessed Sacred Heart. With all the blessings comes increased demands on faculty, which is why the addition of Sacred Heart’s newest faculty members couldn’t come at a better time. This year, Msgr. Todd Lajiness, rector of Sacred Heart, was pleased to welcome Fr. Cyril Whitaker, SJ, and Stephanie Nofar-Kelly as the newest additions to the seminary.
This summer, Fr. Cyril Whitaker, SJ, assumed his new responsibilities as a member of the resident priest faculty. Many students already know Father Whitaker from his role last year as part-time spiritual director at the seminary. Father Whitaker now serves as a full-time spiritual director and devotes his entire time to spiritual direction, retreat work, and conferences for the seminarians.
During his 2018 rector’s address, Monsignor Lajiness expressed his gratitude to Fr. Brian Paulson, provincial of the Mid-West province of Jesuits, for releasing Father Whitaker for full-time service as a resident priest at Sacred Heart.
“I’m pleased that we are able to welcome Father Whitaker to the seminary and grateful to have a faithful, devout, and wise spiritual father who will guide our men and accompany them in their discernment and growth in holiness,” said Monsignor Lajiness.
In addition to Fr. Cyril Whitaker, Monsignor Lajiness welcomed Stephanie Nofar-Kelly as the new director of liturgical music. Mrs. Nofar-Kelly is an accomplished musician with a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. She replaces Dr. Ronald Prowse, who transitioned to semi-retirement from his role as director of liturgical music and professor of music. Dr. Prowse will remain in his teaching capacity as associate professor of music.
Mrs. Nofar-Kelly will work closely with Fr. Charles Fox, director of graduate seminarians and director of Liturgy at Sacred Heart, contributing to the liturgical formation of seminarians. In a letter to seminary faculty and students, Father Fox explained the search for a new director of liturgical music involved a careful and collaborative search process.
“Stephanie understands and embraces the mission of our seminary,” said Father Fox. “She brings many great gifts to this new role, including her vibrant Catholic faith and a wealth of experience and talent in the areas of choral leadership, organ playing, and vocal performance.”
Father Fox went on to thank Dr. Prowse for his years of dedication and service to the seminary. “Our seminary owes Dr. Prowse a great debt of gratitude for his years of service as our director of liturgical music, a position he held jointly with his faculty position.”
With student enrollment continuing to increase and the upcoming centennial celebration in 2019, Sacred Heart needs talented and dedicated staff as it moves forward. We are pleased to welcome Father Whitaker and Mrs. Nofar-Kelly to the seminary community.