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2. History & Legacy


History and Legacy of the Diocesan Seminary:

 As far back as 1770, a first attempt to train local clergy in Bombay was made by its Apostolic Vicar. From that time until 1930, teething troubles, interruptions, changes of location, administration and Staff marred subsequent attempts. Finally, Archbishop Joaquim Lima decreed the establishment of a Seminary for Bombay in Parel under the patronage of St Anthony of Lisbon and St Francis Xavier and entrusted it to the Jesuits. He inaugurated it on 13th June, 1936 with Fr. J. Valls sj as its first Rector. This milestone marks the inception of a stable and flourishing Diocesan Seminary. Within two decades, the number of seminarians swelled so rapidly that the existing facilities became woefully inadequate. In 1953, the ‘Pilgrim House’ at Mount Mary’s Bandra was converted into a ‘Theological College’ for the Seminary, an interim measure.

In July 1960, renamed as ‘St Pius the Tenth College’, the Seminary’s large new campus in verdant Goregaon East became operational. The official inauguration was held on 5th October 1960, in the presence of high ecclesiastical and civil dignitaries and a large multitude of clergy, religious and laity. The Seminary and the Archdiocese owe a debt of eternal gratitude to Valerian Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay from 1950-1978 for bringing to well planned and executed fruition what he termed ‘the first major project of my episcopate’. The Seminary’s impressive and aesthetic façade, lobby in Italian marble, large Chapel with stained glass windows, ample lecture halls and living rooms, well equipped kitchen and many other facilities continue to be admired and appreciated by residents and visitors fifty years on.

The legacy of St Pius College has been shaped by other path-breaking initiatives. In 1969, the ‘Juniorate’ was replaced by ‘College’ studies and a new graded and varied Pastoral Programme was introduced. In June 1970, the Moderator Group System for the students of Theology and a partial integration of studies for students of Philosophy began. In 1971, Cardinal Valerian Gracias appointed Msgr. Simon Pimenta as the first Diocesan Rector, a milestone marking a change from Jesuit to Diocesan administration in the Seminary. The Moderator Group System was extended to include students of Philosophy and a Seminary Council with Staff and student representatives was formed. Later, this council was replaced by ‘General House Meetings’ to discuss policies and suggestions affecting community life. In June 1973, a new five year Integrated Academic Programme was launched. There have been major overhauls of the Pastoral Training Programme in 1984 and 1995 and of the Academic Program in 1996 and in 2006-2007 following the affiliation with St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore for the B.Th. Degree. A multi-phase building repairs and renovation project was planned and executed between 2008 and 2010.