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The News Release
Papal Seminary, Pune Celebrates 125 Years on November 7-8, 2018
Papal Seminary, Pune, India, has entered the 125th year of its service in forming and moulding priests for the Universal Church, especially the Church in India. All that the Papal Seminary has accomplished and contributed to the Church today is “surely by God’s wondrous grace and accompaniment.”
Therefore, to celebrate this landmark occasion meaningfully, the Papal Seminary, together with its sister-institute Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune is organizing . a seminar “Ministering to Contemporary Indian Church: Challenges, Opportunities” Other related events like informal sharing of the alumnai, cultural program, and Jubilee Thanksgiving Eucharist are being planned on 7 and 8 November, 2018.
The history of Papal Seminary goes way back in 1878, when Leo XIII became Pope, he conceived the idea of starting a National Seminary for the whole of India. In his Encyclical Letter, Ad extremas orientis oras: de collegio clericarum (1893), he wrote the bishops of the whole world, the Pope announced his intention of founding a new National 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 Msgr Ladislaus Miachael Zaleski, who executed the plan of Pope Leo XIII. In 1893 he started the Papal Seminary in Kandy. 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. Of the many cities that could have been home to the Seminary, Pune was chosen. So in 1955 the Papal Seminary was shifted to this city. The Jesuit Provincial of Pune, Rev. Fr Pius Geisal, was the one entrusted with the task of buying the land and constructing the buildings for the Papal seminary and the Pontifical Athenaeum, which was shifted to Pune together with the Seminary.
A large number of outstanding churchmen has received their priestly formation in the Seminary: four Cardinals and 75 Bishops and Archbishops. The motto of the jubilee celebrations is aptly: “Looking Back with Gratitude, Looking Forward with Trust. Currently the Papal Seminary consists of 193 seminarians and staff stemming from 62 dioceses and four religious congregations.
Rev Fr Babhusaheb Sansare SJ, Rector, Papal Seminary, said that about 20 Bishops, including the present nuncio and 200 alumni are expected for the two-day seminar and gathering. He called on all the Papalites all over India to attend this celebration with joy and gratitude.
Rev Fr Vincent Crasta SJ, Minister, Papal Seminary referred to the “tremendous contribution that Papal Seminary has made to the Indian Church.” He referred to 36 seminarians visiting Kerala to help out in the flood relief and seven trucks of materials sent, with the collaboration of De Nobili College, its partner-institute.
Fr Joe Francis, from the diocese of Aizawl, Mizoram, North East India, is the coordinator of the Jubilee Programme. He recalled the incredible contribution many of the Papalite church leaders and making to the church and the nation.