The Seminary at Parel was the Village in the Valley, the new Seminary at Goregaon is surely the Castle on the Hill. The way up-hill is never easy. It involves unchartered territories, strenuous strides, fearless faith, and quiet perseverance. The journey to Goregaon was similar but what set the Bombay Seminary on the road again? Here are a few factors to consider:

The Space Crunch  

This is vividly vouched for by the statistics. Nine seminarians in 1936; thirty-four in 1940; seventy-one in 1945; eighty in 1950; ninety-eight in 1955 and over one hundred and ten in 1960. As the number kept increasing there is no denying that the Lima Seminary faced a huge space crunch. In 1940, a hastily constructed wing was added to the old one-storeyed building at its south side but to no relief. The question remained ‘What about the years to come?’ It was Parel and yet, not Parel!

The Seminary cum Parish set-up

On April 22, 1877, the Parel Convent Chapel was opened. As the Catholic population in the environs grew, several Portuguese Church parishioners preferred to attend services at the Parel St Joseph’s Chapel. Thus when the Seminary was inaugurated in 1936, the Chapel continued to serve the faithful especially with regards to Sunday worship. Soon the Seminary Fathers organized catechism classes and attended to the pressing needs of the people. This paved the way for the creation of a full-fledged parish at Upper Parel dedicated to St. Paul on March 12, 1941.

The Rectors of the Seminary Fr. Valls S.J. and Fr. Lamolla S.J. were also appointed Parish Priest from March 1941 to April 1944. A Parish school was soon opened in the shed alongside the main seminary building. The Parel Seminary found itself amidst several activities of the Parish. It is not surprising then that the ecclesiastical authorities, anticipating future developments of the two institutions, recognized the need to move the Bombay Seminary again.

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Breaking the glass ceiling -Luke 8:1-3

This summary passage is unique to Luke and accords the important role he assigns to women. We have been speaking of the reconstituted Israel in the Gospel of Luke which began with the choosing of the twelve apostles  in Luke 6:12. These apostles will be Jesus’ emissaries who continue his kingdom proclamation and are commissioned to preach the Christ event or as Luke will call it, ‘the word of God’; a phrase used 30 times in Luke and Acts. This is a rare phrase for the other evangelists as you barely find them using it.

In choosing the twelve, Jesus had presented a great symbol of unity from diversity; fisherman, a zealot. Galileans, a Judean (Judas of Iscariot) a toll collector, one with a Greek name (Philip). Women now comprise the second element of the band of reconstituted Israel and this would have been considered strange and very revolutionary at the time of Jesus for both the Gentile and Jewish audience. 

While it was not uncommon for women to support rabbis and their disciples out of their own money, property or food stuff it was certainly unheard of if not scandalous for a woman to leave her home and travel with a rabbi. What made eyebrows rise even further is that this band of women included some from whom demons had been cast out.

Among the three women mentioned are Mary of Magdala from who seven demons have been cast out. She is not to be confused as a sinner woman of the preceding text 7:36-50 and there is no evidence that she is a ‘prostitute’ as made out by many enthusiastic preachers. Then there is Joanna, wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod Antipas’ estate and a person of position and means. Finally, there is Suzanna of which we know little. However, scripture mentions that these three women were also joined by many more women.

The text of today indicates that these women were involved in the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God and providing for Jesus and the twelve out of their resources. This is a very powerful piece of information. The Gospel writer is highlighting a ‘reconciliation’ and collaboration between men and women in the inner circle of Jesus.

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East Indian bottle masala

Ingredients
1 1/2 kgs Red Chillies hot
1 1/2 kg Red Chilies sweet
3/4 kg Coriander seeds whole
125 grams Cumin seeds jeera
1/4 kg Sesame seed teel
1/4 kg Poppy seeds khus khus
1/4 kg Mustard seeds
1/4 kg Wheat
1/4 kg chick peas channa
Whole spices
1/4 Kg Turmeric whole
125 grams pepper corns
50 grams Cinnamon dalchini
10 grams Cloves
10 grams Naikaiser
10 grams All spice kababchuni
10 grams Cardamoms elichi
10 grams Tirphal
10 grams Maipatri mace
10 grams Star anise bardian
10 grams Caraway seeds Shahijeera
10 grams Zaipatri
1 Nutmeg

Instructions
Clean and remove the stalk from the chilies (best to wear gloves when working with chilies). Dry chilies and all spices in the sun for a few days until you are sure there is no moisture in left. Dry roast the spices and chilies in an earthenware or cast iron pan.

Blend all ingredients one at a time in a spice blender. Sift and combine all the spices – so they blend well together. Fill in sterilized mason jars – label and seal well

Storage
The bottle masala can last for up to 2 years if sealed well and kept in a cool dry place. If the spices are not dried properly the spice blend can mold quickly due to moisture.

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I never really liked coffee as a kid or a young adult. Living in Mumbai chai or tea was more my thing and dad made an excellent cup. At that point, I felt there was nothing better than a cup of tea to start my day.

In the year 2006, the day after I was married. I woke up to a lovely rainy morning in Kerala. As I walked downstairs towards my mother-in-laws kitchen my senses were overtaken by the warm, deep, and rich smell of coffee. It’s aroma filled the entire house. Mama would make the coffee the previous night, let the dregs settle, and reheat it the next day with a bit of jaggery. Reluctantly I asked for a cup, as tea wasn’t on offer. After all, this was coffee land.

As I took my first sip it hit home, it wasn’t that I didn’t like coffee. I was drinking the wrong coffee all along. Though instant coffee has its place in our world if you want to discover the real flavour of coffee it always lies with the bean. So off we went the newlyweds on a day trip to Ravis a small coffee vendor on Jew street in Cochin. Home to my first cup of great chicory flavored coffee. Since then I have never looked back. 

Now coffee is part of my everyday world. Did you know Beethoven loved his coffee so much that he would count 60 beans per cup before making his brew? Unlike him, I keep it simple.

I buy roasted beans from my current favourite supplier. I grind exactly what I need, and wait patiently as it percolates in my tiny brass coffee maker.

So where does the word “coffee” come from and how was it discovered?

Coffee is a fruit. It is the pit of a red berry also known as a cherry. They are known as “beans” because of their resemblance to legumes.

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Did you know that the Parel Seminary was the third attempt at starting the Bombay Seminary? Did you know that Parel was the fourteenth location in its long and arduous travels? Read on to discover ten other interesting features of the Bombay Seminary at Parel:

  • The Student Body of the Seminary composed of three communities – the Latinist, the Philosophers and the Theologians. Each community had its seminarian Beadle (Prefect) and Father Minister. The communities had to observe the rule of ‘No Fusion’ pertaining to living quarters, refectory and games. Only on few occasions in the year the communities could mix and gather together.

  • Silence was observed in the whole House and was broken only during classes, recreation and games.

  • Students wore the cassock with a blue sash at all times – in the chapel, around the house, for class and when going out. The cassock was doffed only when the seminarians did manual work, played games and retired to bed. The new-comers received the cassock and blue sash on the Feast of St. John Marie Vianney.

  • Tonsure was conferred at the beginning of the study of Theology; the Minor Orders in the second and third years; the Sub-diaconate, the Diaconate and the Priesthood in the course of the fourth year.

  • The Sodality was introduced in the Seminary on February 2, 1954 by Fr. Casasayas S.J. who was Rector at that time. It was a voluntary association of seminarians who consecrated their entire life to Mary’s service. The sodalists grouped themselves into a number of sections and devoted themselves to visiting the sick and needy, special catechetical and pastoral work in the slums, rag-picking, etc. The sodality was suppressed in 1966.

  • During the Parel era, the seminarians tried their hand at publishing a Seminary Magazine entitled Fraternitas. This editorial endeavour lasted for around a decade.

  • The Parel seminarian studied sciences like Philosophy, Theology, Botany, Atomic Physics

  • Alongside the sciences, the Parel seminarian also learnt trades like ‘Barbering’, ‘Cobbling’, Typing and Cyclostyling along with some Fine Arts.

  • The staff of the Parel seminary also included a) Br Infirmarian who would take care of the medical needs, b) The Minister of Supplies who would travel to town to fetch fresh supplies for the seminary and c) The Minister of Home Affairs who looked after the cleanliness and the beauty of the House of God, the Chapel.

  • The last batch of seminarians ordained from the Parel Seminary included – Frs Peter Drego, Lawrence Monteiro, Alvaro Nazareth, Denis Pereira and Joseph Vincent. These were ordained in Bombay while Fr Eustace D’Lima was ordained in Rome and Fr. Joseph D’Souza in Mangalore.

 

Please feel free to share this story with others and your story of the Seminary with us! You will get regular updates at this blog site on this exhibition.

© – Archdiocesan Heritage Museum

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