A Brief History

 St. Charles Borromeo Seminary


In 1849 the first American Post at Fort Bliss was established on the United States side of the Rio Grande River to protect the routes to the gold fields further west. In 1881the railroad arrived, businesses expanded rapidly, and the modern city was born. [6]


In 1913 the College of Mines now the University of Texas El Paso was chartered by the State of Texas. [8]


In June of 1961 in El Paso, Texas a City originally known as Franklin [7] and on the Feast of Corpus Christi, Bishop Sidney Matthew Metzger {July 11, 1902- April 12, 1986} [2] blessed the land for the new minor seminary and placed in under the patronage of St. Charles Borromeo {1538-1584} a Cardinal Archbishop of the Arch Diocese of Milan, Italy and who was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church including seminaries for the education of priests. [10]


The Very Reverend R. A. Vonder Haar was named as the first rector of the newly formed seminary and classes were conducted in Jesuit Hall. Students lived at home while construction proceeded on the main campus.


 At least one other seminary in the United States in Overbrook/Wynnewood, Pennsylvania is dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo. Their website provides the following vocational prayer:


Prayer for Priests

Lord Jesus, it is you who call men by name and ask them to follow you into your priesthood. Help them to grow perfect in Love by following in your footsteps. Give them strength and courage to shape the future of your church. In their sacrifice, may they embody a convincing sign of your Love in the Heart of the Church



On October 2, 1962 upon completion of the construction of the first and second dormitory, the commencement of the building of the dining hall and permission by the Bishop to set aside a room reserved for the Blessed Sacrament; the first mass was celebrated by Father Gotwals.  Upon return from Christmas vacation the first meals were served in the new completed dining hall.


On July 1963 His Excellency appointed the Very Reverend James B. Hay as the second rector and over the next three years classes were gradually transferred from Jesuit Hall to the Seminary which was considered part of the local diocese school system and accredited by the Texas Education Agency.


 The name of Immaculate Conception School known as: “the little school with the big heart” located in Alamogordo, New Mexico was changed to Father James B. Hay after the death of its well loved pastor. [3]


In the fall of 1974 Father John Peters was named the third rector.  Two army barracks purchased a year prior were strengthened with cinder blocks and re-roofed.


Father John Peters is currently serving as Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hallettsville, Texas. [4]


In 1978 Patrick Flores was named Bishop of El Paso and Father Stephen Peters was named the fourth rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.  However within months Bishop Flores was elevated to serve as Arch Bishop of the largest diocese in the United States in San Antonio, Texas.



Father Stephen Peters currently serves as Adjutant Vicar of the Tribunal Office for the Diocese of El Paso and Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in El Paso, Texas.


In 1980 Bishop Raymond Pena was named Bishop of El Paso, Texas.


In 1980 The Reverend David Fierro was named rector of St. Charles Seminary. The High School Seminary was closed and all resources dedicated to college level seminary formation.


Reverend Msgr. David Fierro serves as Pastor of St. Matthew Parish in El Paso, Texas and as Defender of the Bond for the Tribunal Office of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas.


From 1985 to 1999 Father Jose Sanz, D.L.P. was named Rector. The Diocese of Casa Grande Mexico and the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas sent their seminarians to St. Charles.


Father Jose Sanz, D.L.P currently serves as Director of Serra House of formation. [5]


In April of 1995 Armando X. Ochoa was named Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas and in October of 1999 Father John Telles was named the Rector of St. Charles.   The seminary received students newly arrived from Morelia Mexico via the Diocese of Atlanta.


In 2011 Father Telles was named spiritual director of St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston. 


In the fall of 2011 His Excellency Armando X. Ochoa was directed by the Papal Nuncio to lead the Diocese of Fresno, California. Also in the fall of 2011 Father Miguel Angel Sanchez was named Rector of St. Charles Seminary.


Father Sanchez is not Padre Miguel Angel Sanchez the band from Tijuana, Mexico with multiple You Tube concert videos. 


Since its founding in 1961 over thirty priests {30} have received either or both their High School and College Formation at St. Charles Seminary.  





[1]  http://biography.jrank.org/pages/3096/Flores-Patrick-1929-Roman-Catholic-Archbishop.html

[2] www.wikipedia.org Bishop Metzger

[3] www.fatherhay.org Fr. James B. Hay Catholic School

[4] www.shcatholicchurch.org

[5] www.icbyte.org Inland Catholic Byte Jose Sanz, D.L.P.

[6][7][8][9]  www.elpasohistory.com El Paso County Historical Society.

[10] www.wikipedia.org Charles Borromeo



Text Box: Who are the Priest’s that have graduated from St Charles Borromeo you may want to know.  Check back we will have more information on where they are today!
Fr. Miguel Angel Sanchez is doing a outstanding job in his recruitment of priests, 
Thank you Fr. Sanchez.

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