The Strategic Plan

Guide Star of our Mission

2019—2024

Mission Strategic Priorities

Forming Hearts and Minds. Proclaiming Jesus Christ.

The mission of Sacred Heart Major Seminary is simple and compelling: to educate and form priests, deacons, and lay ministers to be leaders of the new evangelization of our increasingly secularized world.

Sacred Heart’s students are formed by highly-credentialed instructors who teach according to the mind of the Church. Students are inspired by the example of the Good Shepherd and the surrounding urban environment to answer the call to serve human needs. Called into a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, students are thereby prepared to assist others into that same intimate friendship.

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Sacred Heart Major Seminary primarily forms1 priests according to the Heart2 of Jesus Christ3 the Good Shepherd,4 and further, prepares priests, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers, equipping5 them for the work of ministry6 in the New Evangelization.7

1Form:  This word has unique significance since it appears repeatedly throughout normative ecclesiastical documents, such as Pastores dabo vobis, The Program for Priestly Formation, and documents related to the formation of candidates for the Permanent Diaconate and lay ecclesial ministry.  To form is a distinctive activity that recognizes the comprehensive nature of the subject.  It is not merely developing a skill-set for effective performance, but rather reflects the integral shaping of the candidate in the imitation of Christ, the Good Shepherd, according to the appropriate ministry to which the candidate is called.  (cf. Core Values – “Formation of Heralds for the New Evangelization”).

2Heart is a direct reference to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, from whom this seminary takes its name.

3Jesus Christ – At the center of our mission is the person of Jesus Christ.  “Jesus is the center of all that we do.  Our mission is to share in the mission of the Church, founded on the love of God the Father given to us in Christ through the Holy Spirit.” (Taken from our Core Values)

4Good Shepherd: The cornerstone at Sacred Heart Major Seminary bears the words of the Prophet Jeremiah (3:15) “I will give you shepherds after my own heart.”  These words are also part of the title of the normative document for priestly formation, Pastores dabo vobis. 

5To equip has its roots in two New Testament references. First, 2 Timothy 3:17, and second in Hebrews 13: 21.

6For the work of ministry: To be equipped recognizes the active work of grace that forms the mind and heart so that effective ministry is accomplished, not merely by the talents or gifts of the individual, but by cooperation with the work of grace.

7Pope John Paul II invited the universal Church to engage in the New Evangelization.  He described this in several documents and talks.  Sacred Heart Major Seminary has energetically engaged this invitation by the Holy Father so that courses, programs, and initiatives emerge from this part of our identity.

Vision Statement

Vision Statement

Sacred Heart Major Seminary aspires to be of national stature and the premier seminary in the region, on account of the excellence of the theological and philosophical education it offers and the formation of zealous exemplary priests, permanent deacons and their lay co-workers - all according to the mind of the Church and one in heart with the Holy Father and his brother bishops for the sake of the New Evangelization in the Third Christian Millennium.

Institutional Values

Institutional Values

Christ as the Center

Jesus Christ is the center of all that we do. Our mission is a share in the mission of the Church, founded on the love of God the Father given to us in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Nourished by the Eucharist, we are a Catholic community of faith and higher learning on fire for the Word of God.

Formation of Heralds for the New Evangelization

Committed to forming candidates for the priesthood, the permanent diaconate, and lay ecclesial ministry, we aim to provide excellent human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. We form disciples as leaders who are prepared to bring the truth of the Gospel to a secularized world, who are faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and who are equipped to nurture their lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ.

Academic Excellence

We are committed to academic excellence through a curriculum reflecting the riches of the Catholic faith and critical assimilation of the cultural and intellectual traditions of our civilization, through a highly qualified faculty who embrace effective pedagogy and research, and through students who value knowledge and integrate it through pastoral ministry.

Service to Others

We promote servant leadership, following the model of Jesus Christ, who tells us, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35).

Collaboration and Diversity

We respect the dignity of every individual and rejoice in the gifts that diverse groups within the Catholic Church and the local community bring. We encourage genuine collaboration and mutual affirmation among all groups. We fashion an environment that effectively supports all members of the seminary community as they work to build up their gifts.

Integrity and Stewardship

We are steadfast in our commitment to honesty in our business dealings, prudence in our stewardship of assets, and transparency in representing ourselves to our constituents.

Christian Joyfulness

By seeking to share our faith with others as well as to deepen our own faith, we encourage a positive atmosphere in which the joy of Christ may manifest itself.

“Christ at the center of the classroom and alive throughout the corridors is our ideal.”

Guide Star of Our Mission

Our 2019–2024 Institutional Strategic Plan keeps the entire seminary focused on our mission. Staff, faculty, students, the administration, and the Board of Trustees all participate in the plan’s formulation.

The immediate goals of the strategic plan are multiple yet straightforward.

  • Infuse the institution with a sense of mission
  • Identify what factors lead to success
  • Craft a strategy of how to get there
  • Guide the seminary in allocating resources
  • Assist the seminary to evaluate data and measure performance

“Sacred Heart is more than a material place; it is a way of life.”

An Invitation to You

We invite you to peruse this plan and its six overarching “Priorities for Success.” Note that each priority lists explicit goals to fulfill these priorities. Specific tools, metrics, and timelines are aligned with these priorities and goals so that effective assessment and quality improvement can occur.

This ongoing process of planning and assessment will increase the overall efficiency of the seminary. Implementation of the plan will result in an even more prudent use of the precious funding our benefactors bestow upon us each year to accomplish our vital mission.

The 2019–2024 Institutional Strategic Plan is a guide star to help Sacred Heart Major Seminary navigate toward its one hundredth year, 2019, and for decades beyond. Will you join us and be a part of this blessed journey? Quite simply, you will be helping to ensure that the Gospel is proclaimed to all nations.

“Reason and faith meet joyfully at Sacred Heart.”

Six Priorities for Success

Priority 1

New Evangelization

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Priority 2

Increase Awareness

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Priority 3

Expand Outreach

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Priority 4

Mission Engagement

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Priority 5

Diverse Groups

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Priority 6

Strengthen Resources

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Priority 1

New Evangelization

Become a leading center for the New Evangelization, serving the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributing to the mission of the Universal Church.

  • Goal 1.1
      Host bi-annual academic conferences on topics relevant to the leaders in the New Evangelization.
  • Goal 1.2
      Increase attentiveness to diversity, the poor, and the marginalized by addressing these issues at bi-annual conferences.
  • Goal 1.3
      Collaborate with the Episcopal and Presbyteral Councils and Diaconate leadership in developing a curriculum for ongoing formation of the clergy that puts its first priority on evangelizing and forming evangelizers.
  • Goal 1.4
      Collaborate with AOD Central services in exploring the possibility of establishing an institute dedicated to the Lay Witness in the World, with particular focus on fostering the dialogue between the Gospel and culture.
  • Goal 1.5
      Collaborate with AOD Central services in developing practical and ongoing formation opportunities for lay ecclesial ministers and lay faithful around key areas of missionary activity.
  • Goal 1.6
      Collaborate with AOD Central services in establishing and strengthening associations of Christ's faithful to support the members in their common evangelizing mission and/or to advance important goals, especially knowledge and prayerful use of the Scriptures making the Holy Eucharist central to our identity as disciples, and helping to renew the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Priority 2

Increase Awareness

Increase awareness of the unique character of Sacred Heart, a treasure for the Church in the heart of Detroit.

  • Goal 2.1
      Leverage the centennial year through events that engage constituents and build awareness.
  • Goal 2.2
      Building upon our prior work, host seven (7) gatherings to establish relationships within the community, region, and state.
  • Goal 2.3
      In a spirit of transparency, present constituent-tailored financial/institutional data dashboards to the board of trustees, faculty, and general public.
  • Goal 2.4
      Implement a student recruitment marketing plan to increase awareness of education and formation opportunities supporting the lay vocation and mission.
  • Goal 2.5
      Better communicate with our constituents any updates in the seminarian formation process.

Priority 3

Expand Outreach

Expand our national and international educational outreach though creative distance learning programs and strategic collaborative partnerships.

  • Goal 3.1
      Obtain necessary accreditation approvals to expand graduate-level online and hybrid delivery.
  • Goal 3.2
      Explore scheduling and delivery models used in online education and lay formation programs.
  • Goal 3.3
      Effectively deliver a menu of open online courses around key areas of missionary discipleship and activity, in partnership with internal and external stakeholders.

Priority 4

Mission Engagement

Develop faculty and staff to actively engage in the formation of students for ministry and mission.

  • Goal 4.1
      Increase the engagement of our faculty and staff in institutional planning and assessment.
  • Goal 4.2
      Study the faculty and staff perceptions that the seminary has provided adequate job-related technology training.
  • Goal 4.3
      Study the effectiveness of the interactions between faculty and students.
  • Goal 4.4
      Study the effectiveness of our communications between seminary offices and students.
  • Goal 4.5
      Develop plan based on information gathered to improve adoption and proficient use of technology.
  • Goal 4.6
      Update our faculty handbook and lay administrative personnel handbook.
  • Goal 4.7
      Develop a comprehensive internal communications plan that includes theoretically-sound strategies for increasing collaborative behaviors and the engagement of our faculty, staff, and board members.
  • Goal 4.8
      Enhance faculty integration into additional dimensions of seminarian formation.

Priority 5

Diverse Groups

Recruit and form a diverse group of students to share and witness to Jesus Christ.

  • Goal 5.1
      Increase scholarship fund availability for scholarship programs which incentivize new student recruitment.
  • Goal 5.2
      Leverage STL program connections to engage ordinaries and religious superiors in conversations about utilizing Sacred Heart for priestly formation.
  • Goal 5.3
      Increase recruitment activities for populations underrepresented in the Sacred Heart commuter student population.
  • Goal 5.4
      Explore the feasibility of recruiting priests who have begun but not completed a licentiate degree.
  • Goal 5.5
      Conduct a study of lay alumni to determine the percentage who work in ministerial positions.
  • Goal 5.6
      Increase faculty engagement in the evaluation process of seminarians.

Priority 6

Strengthen Resources

Strengthen our financial, human, technological and physical resources, assuring the freedom to advance our mission and increase the reach of our programs.

  • Goal 6.1
      Establish a plan to increase our endowment by $50 million (from $14.5 to $64.5 million) over ten years, in order to increase institutional stability and future vitality.
  • Goal 6.2
      Ensure that key expenditures are in line with industry standards, by comparing them to data from peer ATS institutions and other higher education institutions.
  • Goal 6.3
      Evaluate the financial effectiveness of seminary online programs.
  • Goal 6.4
      Implement strategic infrastructure improvements.
  • Goal 6.5
      Implement a lay employee succession planning process that aligns with long-range strategic and financial plans.

“A leading center of the New Evangelization within the universal Church.”