The Fourth Sunday of Easter (25th April) is dedicated to our Diocesan Seminaries by our Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. Seminary is an institution for the training of the candidates for priesthood. The Diocesan Seminaries directly come under the care of the Bishop of the Arch-diocese or Diocese. Through this article I wish to make you aware of the seminaries of our Arch-Diocese of Goa and Daman.
SEMINARY OF OUR LADY, SALIGAO-PILERNE
The Seminary of Our Lady, aims at the all-round development of young seminarians by living unto the motto “seeking the things that are of above”. The Seminary helps the seminarians to nurture their priestly vocation by imbibing different values so that they become good priests.
The present structure in the Minor Seminary is classified into the following phases: The First phase consists of high school from Std. VIII to Std. X, recognized by the Government of Goa. In Second phase the seminarians are enrolled in St. Xavier’s Higher Secondary, Mapusa, where they study upto Std. XI and XII residing at Seminary Niwas, Duler, Mapusa (part of the Minor Seminary). In Third phase the seminarians continue their studies in the various streams of their choice up to graduation. The Fourth phase begins after completing their graduation in St. Xavier’s, the seminarians enter into an importance phase in which they spend a year in prayer, study and discernment. This period is known as the Orientation Year/Propaedeutic year, which could be likened to a Novitiate. Finally after discerning their vocation and having deeper reflection on the life and ministry of priests they join the major Seminary at Rachol.
PATRIACHAL SEMINARY OF RACHOL
The Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol is the major seminary of the Arch-Diocese of Goa and Daman. After completing orientation Year (Year of discernment) the seminarians join the Major Seminary at Rachol. At present the Seminary academic curriculum includes a three-year Philosophy Course with graduation from the “Indira Gandhi National Open University” (IGNOU) and a four-year Theology Course. The graduation in Philosophy is followed by a year of pastoral praxis in parishes called regency, during which seminarians (individually and in groups), under the guidance of the Seminary and respective parish-priests are given a foretaste of the priestly pastoral ministry. After the regency, the seminarians join the Theology Course. At the end of the Fourth Year of Theology, they answer the De Universa exam theology and after clearing the De Universa exams the seminarians are ordained deacons at the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol.
Besides the intellectual formation, the seminarians are helped to grow on the human, spiritual, and pastoral levels by means of spiritual-psychological talks, retreats, seminars, courses; by doing manual work in the agricultural fields; as well as by training themselves in sports, music, etc. The formative journey of every seminarian is constantly and continuously monitored and guided by the formators so that they are helped to discern, nurture and grow in their vocation to priesthood. After the seminarian are ordained as Deacons, they spend their Diaconate Year at the St. Pius X, Pastoral Institute, Old Goa.
PASTORAL INSTITUTE, OLD GOA.
The Pastoral institute was inaugurated on 29th October 1962. Initially the institute serve the purpose of exposing the young newly ordained priests to the renewal proposed by Vatican II. The modality of the ongoing formation at the institute has undergone several changes as per the needs and circumstances. For the last four years, the deacons take part in the Pastoral Enrichment Program for 11 months before their Ordination to Ministerial Priesthood. They take part in various courses at the institute during the week. For weekend they are assigned to parishes. Finally, after completing the necessary canonical requirements, they are ordained priests in the month of April.
Along with the diocesan seminaries which we have seen above, we also have two Diocesan convents, namely, Holy Family of Nazareth (sfn), Sancoale and Handmaids of Christ (HC). Let’s have a quick glance over them.
HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH (SFN), SANCOALE.
The Congregation of The Holy Family of Nazareth was founded at Sancoale, Goa in 1935 by Fr. Faustino de Souza, a diocesan priest. His aim was to fill up the lacuna created due to the expulsion of religious orders in Goa at that time. He was inspired by God to perceive and act upon the pressing needs of his time – the social and moral decline. Its charism is “to share the providential love of God by serving the poor and needy”. Its members are engaged in diverse apostolic works especially in rural areas: formal and non-formal education, pastoral, catechetical and social work, running boarding houses and homes for the aged, rehabilitating children of the sex-workers, empowering women and the youth. Besides working in Goa, we have branched out to the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Andaman.
HANDMAIDS OF CHRIST
In the early thirties of the twentieth century, Msgr. Herculano Gonsalves, a Goan Diocesan Priest from Cana, Benaulim, was seized with a vision to be Christ-like to the poor, the illiterate and the orphans in order to make Christ’s redemptive love tangibly present to them. His compassionate love and zeal, led him to found the first indigenous Religious Congregation for women, namely, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Alex, presently known as Handmaids of Christ, having its headquarters at Calangute, Bardez, Goa.
OUR CHARISM: The Handmaid of Christ empowered by the saving love of God, lives in intimate union with Him by being broken and shared through the Eucharist. She earnestly seeks the will of God and communion with her Sisters by dying to self in order to promote the Kingdom of God in community and creation, thereby committing herself to reach out in compassion and justice to the poor and the marginalized especially children and women in distress, through Home for the Aged, Schools, Children’s Home, Hostels, Women empowerment, etc.
VISION: Inspired by Mary’s ‘YES’ the Handmaids of Christ die to self to reach out in compassionate love to give fuller life to those in need.
MISSION: As an expression of our God experience, we the Handmaids of Christ respond to the needs of our time by giving hope and meaning to the lives of the poor, the needy and the marginalized especially children and women through our Educational and Social Apostolate.
OUR MOTO: Live, Love and Labour in the service of Christ.
-Fr. Leslie Gomes