Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas Announce New Alliance  

Monsignor Joseph Reilly and Dr. Dianne Traflet portrait The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas and Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology (ICSST), Seton Hall University, announce a new partnership.

The two organizations have begun a formal institutional arrangement, in which The Lay Centre will become an institute under the umbrella of ICSST over a two-year process while retaining its legal status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The arrangement will provide The Lay Centre with administrative support, financial oversight, programmatic synergies, and a more established presence in the United States. It will allow ICSST to establish a presence in Rome to help deacons, seminarians, and laity understand more deeply the universal Catholic Church, especially through summer programs, and to encourage professors from ICSST to conduct research in Rome during the academic year.

The first steps in creating this relationship were taken August 15, 2018, when The Lay Centre board of directors ratified the Memorandum of Understanding with the seminary and welcomed Monsignor Joseph Reilly, Rector/Dean of ICSST, and Dr. Dianne Traflet, associate dean of ICSST, to The Lay Centre board.

At the meeting, Monsignor Reilly announced that Dr. Traflet would be the senior liaison representative, who will work closely with Lay Centre director Dr. Donna Orsuto on personnel development and the creation of programs for seminary students and faculty at The Lay Centre, as well as opportunities at ICSST for Lay Centre students, beginning in July 2019.

Dr. Orsuto is enthusiastic about the new partnership. "The Lay Centre and ICSST, as well as other departments at Seton Hall University have worked together on a series of summer courses and faculty enrichment programs for more than 10 years. This partnership will strengthen that collaboration and will be a wonderful opportunity for The Lay Centre to expand its horizons and program offerings," she said.

Monsignor Reilly was also very optimistic. "Both The Lay Centre and ICSST have long and trusted traditions of providing formation for women and men as they prepare for service in the Church and the larger community. With this history, the strategic and program benefits of the new partnership are potentially extraordinary."

The Lay Centre, founded in 1986, is dedicated to the formation of the laity and the development of their vocation in the Church and in the world. The mission of The Lay Centre includes:

  • An international community for students attending pontifical universities and institutes in Rome and other visiting scholars and professors who are researching or teaching in Rome. The Lay Centre promotes a culture of encounter through opportunities for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

  • Intensive international study programs, including some that have a particular ecumenical and interreligious dimension.

  • Theological and spiritual programs directed to the local community.

Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology is a house of formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood and the School of Theology of Seton Hall University.

  • The seminary offers men preparing for the priesthood the personal, academic, ministerial and spiritual formation essential for their formation.

  • As a school of theology, it provides a theological and philosophical foundation for men and women pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies and for men and women preparing for a range of ministries among the people of God.