Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the archbishop of Newark in New Jersey, has appointed Father Hong-Ray Cho to serve as the new rector of the College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at St. Andrew's Hall. Father Cho will succeed Father John J. Chadwick, who has served as rector since 2014 and will assume a new responsibility as vicar general for the Archdiocese of Newark on Aug. 1. Father Cho’s appointment is also effective Aug. 1. Cardinal Tobin said: “The choice of formation directors is a crucial investment in the future of the Archdiocese of Newark. I am confident in Father Cho’s spiritual maturity and insight. May the Mother of Jesus and our Mother of Perpetual Help grant Father Cho the wisdom he needs to guide our seminarians as missionary disciples of our great high priest and Lord Jesus Christ.” In his new role, Father Cho will be responsible for directing the undergraduate seminary of the Archdiocese of Newark and a house of formation for candidates from other dioceses in New Jersey and other states. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Father Cho graduated from Rutgers College (B.A. in computer science, 1997), Columbia University (M.S. in computer science, 1999) and Stevens Institute of Technology (Ph.D. in mathematics, 2006).
After entering Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in 2006 and completing a year of pre-theology, he continued priestly formation at the North American College in Rome. He completed his bachelor of sacred theology (2010) and licentiate in sacred theology with a concentration in dogmatic (systematic) theology (2012) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark on May 28, 2011. Father Cho has held several positions in the archdiocese. He was assigned to St. Theresa Parish in Kenilworth for the summer of 2011. He served as parochial vicar of St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish in Scotch Plains from 2012 to 2013. Father Cho was appointed in spring 2013 to the formation faculty of Immaculate Conception Seminary, where he taught courses in systematic theology and became associate dean for undergraduate studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology in January 2015. Father Cho also began his archdiocesan service in 2016 with the censor librorum
— an ecclesiastical authority charged with reviewing texts and granting nihil obstat
, that is, a declaration that the text is free of doctrinal or moral error. In July 2017, he was assigned to Rome to pursue a doctorate in sacred theology in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In June 2019, he returned to Immaculate Conception Seminary as formation faculty and adjunct professor of systematic theology. “I am grateful for Cardinal Tobin’s trust in me. I am humbled yet excited for the opportunity to take on a new ministry that is so important for the life of the Church. I pray that the wisdom and courage of the Lord may help me be a good spiritual father for the young men entrusted to my care,” Father Cho said.
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