Papal Seminary stands tall at 125
Papal Seminary in Pune is observing 125th year of its service in moulding priests for the Universal Church.
All that Papal Seminary accomplished and contributed to the Church today is “surely by God's wondrous grace and accompaniment,” a statement issued by the seminary said.
On the occasion, Papal Seminary along with its sister concern--Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth -- is holding a seminar, “Ministering to Contemporary Indian Church: Challenges, Opportunities”.
The two-day event will start on Nov 7. Other programs include alumni get together, cultural programs and thanksgiving Mass.
Papal Seminary was conceived in 1878 when Leo XIII became the Pope, who wanted a national seminary for the whole India.
In his Letter, Ad extremasorientisoras: de collegioclericarum (1893), the Pope announced his intention of founding a new seminary for India, and appealed to the generosity of Catholics.
On the occasion of his sacerdotal jubilee in 1894, he had these words inscribed on the jubilee medal: "Filii tui India, administri tibi salutis," which means, Your own sons, O India, will be the heralds of your salvation!
It was Archbishop Ladislaus Miachael Zaleski, who executed the plan of the Pope. In 1893, he started Papal Seminary in Kandy in Sri Lanka. At that time India and Sri Lanka were part of the British India.
When India became independent in 1947, it was found strange to have its national seminary in another country. So, the authorities decided to shift the seminary to India and Pune was chosen to house it.
In 1955, Papal Seminary was shifted to Pune. The Jesuit provincial of Pune, Father Pius Geisal, was entrusted with the task of buying the land and constructing the buildings for the seminary and the Pontifical Athenaeum was shifted to Pune along with the seminary.
A large number of outstanding churchmen received their priestly formation in the seminary. Four Cardinals and 75 Bishops and Archbishops trace their roots to this place.
The motto of the jubilee celebrations is: “Looking Back with Gratitude, Looking Forward with Trust.”
Currently, Papal Seminary consists of 193 seminarians and staff from 62 dioceses and four religious congregations.
Jesuit Father Babhusaheb Sansare, Papal Seminary rector, said that about 20 bishops, including the nuncio and 200 alumni, are expected to take part in the two-day gathering.