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Canisius College opens library doors to diaconate

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Deacon candidates in formation now have access to volumes upon volumes of theology, philosophy and church history thanks to Canisius College. The Jesuit institution has opened the doors to its Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library to the men in formation, giving them full privileges to check out books and use the online resources.

“They really stepped up,” said Deacon Gary Andelora, an adjunct professor who brokered the deal with Canisius.

The diaconate found itself at a loss when Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora closed in 2020. The seminary was known for having one of the most extensive collection of texts in the East. Deacon Andelora teaches first year students Research and Writing, but found “I have no library to send them to.”

He spoke to some people at Canisius this past fall and in a few weeks, Sara Morris, vice president of Student Affairs, had the library open to those on formation and set with ID cards.

“We believe this is part of our Catholic Jesuit mission,” explained Morris. “Given the closure of the seminary, we felt this was a way that we could support our diocese in a tangible way that would support the development of people serving Catholic parishes and Catholic people in Western New York.”

Access to the Canisius library includes access to research guides related to theology, a number of resources in our library that relate to the Catholic faith, that relate to the Jesuit traditions, and online resources that can be accessed from home. They also receive the assistance of staff librarians.

“I think the library staff is a key one. It means we are able to provide them with resources as they’re doing research projects for individual courses or for their theses,” Morris said.

Formation candidates are required to get a master’s degree or to audit master’s courses. Courses include Scripture, Church History, Christology and Pauline literature.

“I think it was pretty nice for Canisus to step up and do that for us,” Deacon Andelora said.

Deacon candidates register through St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester, but take all their classes in Buffalo via Zoom either at home or in the downtown Formation Center at 795 Main St.

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