THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: Why St. Pius X?

 The Bombay Seminary at Goregaon is dedicated to St. Pope Pius X. The modern reader may wonder at this affiliation. Why was St. Pope Pius X chosen as the patron of the Goregaon Seminary? How did he inspire the builders of this great institution and how does he continue to inspire young hearts and willing spirits?

Giuseppe Sarto (his birth name) was born in a humble peasant family in Riese, Treviso in 1835. Post studying at the Seminary in Padua, he was ordained a priest when he was 23 years old. Later, as Cardinal and patriarch, he described his seminary years as ‘the best years in all my life’. He was the curate in Tombolo, then parish priest at Salzano and then canon of the Cathedral of Treviso with the offices of episcopal chancellor and spiritual director of the Diocesan Seminary.

He held a deep love for the ministry of preparing young men to serve the Priesthood. It is recorded that when elevated to Bishop, Msgr Sarto protested for he did not want to leave the Seminary. He is said to have written to the Vatican to request reconsideration. The Vatican sent a one-word reply – ‘Obey!’ Bishop Sarto was elevated on November 10, 1884.

As Bishop of Mantua, his chief care was the formation of the clergy at the seminary where for several years he taught dogmatic and moral theology. He adopted the teaching methodologies of St. Thomas Aquinas and is said to have given copies of the ‘Summa Theologica’ to the students. Bishop Sarto also instituted the Gregorian chants for Mass and on October 15, 1997, he founded the school of the seminarist singers.

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