MANILA, Oct. 1, 2014— Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle ushered in a welcome change in the Archdiocese of Lipa as the local church dedicated the new seminary building to elderly and sick priests, who also received a new home in the compound.
Tagle blessed on Sept. 8 the Annex of the St. Joseph Seniorate for elderly and sick priests, which is located in the St. Francis de Sales Theological Seminary compound in Brgy. Marawoy, Lipa City.
‘Heart of the seminary’
The occasion coincided with the centenary (1914-2014) of priestly formation in the archdiocese, currently headed by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles.
During the holy mass, Cardinal Tagle discussed why the chapel is so critical to the life of a seminary.
“If the seminary is the heart of the diocese, in a very true way, the chapel of the seminary is the heart of the seminary. Here in this chapel, the drama of being a seminarian and a priest is written everyday, is being carved in the heart of every seminarian — which only God knows about,” he said in the vernacular.
In his message, Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said that in 1931, a theological seminary was opened in Lipa named Seminario de San Alfonso de Ligorio.
Thus, he said, the St. Francis de Sales Theological Seminary is a sort of “re-claiming” what the archdiocese had been previously bestowed.
He also said the construction of the seminary is still far from over. The academic building is yet to be constructed.
Towards the end of the Eucharistic celebration, a plaque of appreciation was given to the Congregation of Missions (Vincentian Fathers) for pioneering the priestly formation in the archdiocese with Lipa’s first bishop, Giuseppe Petrelli.
After the mass, Tagle rode in a golf cart, driven by Rosales, who called it “Chito’s Mobile” in jest, to the nearby St. Joseph Seniorate for the blessing of the annex.
This happened simultaneously with Bishops Evangelista, Vergara, and Bacani blessing the seminary residence which consists of 50 rooms allotted for seminarians, eight rooms for priest-formators, conference and recreation halls, refectory, common priests’ room, lavatory, and guest rooms.
Concelebrants include Cardinal Rosales, Bishops Emilio Marquez of Lucena, Reynaldo Evangelista of Imus, Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, Novaliches Bishop-Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, Lipa Auxiliary Bishop-Emeritus Salvador Quizon, and about fifty diocesan and religious priests.
Among those in attendance were Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas and Mr. Danny Dolor who led the ribbon cutting ceremony and the unveiling of the marker.
The seminary was also duly recognized and was granted accreditation for the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry Program (MAPM) and Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MA-TS) by the Commission on Higher Education last Sept. 4.
The programs also aim to address the needs of Catholic schools for teachers with Master’s degrees in religious and value education, as well as on-going formation and updating of religious in the region. (Sem. John Aldrin A. Ilao /Rev. Fr. Angel Marcelo M. Pastor)