THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: A Sermon in Stone – 10 Features of the Goregaon Seminary

THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: A Sermon in Stone – 10 Features of the Goregaon Seminary

 For decades the Bombay Seminary is suitably called ‘A Sermon in Stone’. But apart from the innumerable homilies researched, studied, written, and delivered within its walls, what are the structural legacies that distinguish this monumental institution? Read on to discover.

  • As discussed earlier, the Goregaon property covers an approximate area of 30 acres. It is not symmetrical though it is roughly rectangular. Situated on an elevation, the building façade faces the west. An entrance porch leads up from the campus to its imposing portals.

  • The building was designed with due regard to its function. This is witnessed in its massive character and restrained grandeur. Its architectural style was meant to be conducive to the physical, cultural, and spiritual wellbeing of the students with due provision for the future.

  • The Bird’s eye view of the Seminary building easily outlines its construction. It is shaped, more or less, in the form of the letter E. The Central Block forms the main stem of the E-shaped pattern. The three perpendicular strokes are the side wings and the middle part of the building.

  • The Auditorium or Hall rests on the ground floor of the Middle Wing and is accessible from the main entrance. The Hall has a seating capacity for 625 persons and a stage measuring 42 feet by 48 feet. It is equipped with green rooms, lavatory, and store-rooms.

Did you know that the building expense of the Seminary hall was donated by the Holy Father, Pope John XXIIIrd himself? In gratitude, the Hall is dedicated to the Saintly Pope’s loving memory.  

  • The beautiful Chapel of the Goregaon Seminary holds a capacity of accommodating around 400 people. There is one main altar. However, in an independent passage behind the Chapel Sanctuary, there are nine small Chapels provided with an altar each. The Main Chapel is embellished with some amazing works of art including the Last Supper mosaic and the stained-glass window series.

Did you know that these works of art were set-up only in November 1964, in time for the 38th International Eucharistic Congress? 

  • Flanking the Chapel is the belfry. It is interesting to note that the bell arrived by a bullock-cart from St. Catherine’s Home in September 1960.

  • The marble furnishing for the Seminary was procured from Montecatini, Italy while the laying of the Marble was executed by Bharat Tiles & Marble Ltd.

  • It was decided, in gratitude, that the Main Hall/Auditorium would be dedicated to Pope John XXIII; the Aula Magna (then on the first floor – now the library) to Archbishop Lima; the Library (then on the ground floor – now Archbishop Lima’s hall) was dedicated to Archbishop Thomas Roberts and the senior’s Recreation Room (on the ground floor – now Valerian Cardinal Gracias Room) was originally dedicated to Cardinal Cushing.

  • On the day of Inauguration i.e. October 5, 1960, scaffolding still girded major portions of the edifice. In the words of the Valerian Cardinal Gracias:

This Institution is in the nature of an unfinished symphony. There are still some major items to be attended to: the Chapel and its furnishings, lighting of the Hall and Stage Requirements; Kitchen equipment from Germany to be installed, the Convent Building, and the Servants’ Block. But even in its unfinished state, we desired to have the privilege of the Inauguration at the hands of Your Eminence. Moreover having been almost a professional beggar all my life, I know from experience that an unfinished product is a clear reminder to prospective benefactor’s that there is no limit to charity.

  • In the name of the staff and the students, His Eminence Cardinal Santos of Manila performed the religious ceremony in the Chapel and blessed the Seminary building on October 5, 1960.

In conclusion, ‘…though the building stately and imposing, yet functional, its grandeur however is but a dim reflection of the inimitable beauty of the Priestly Character (conferred and) to be conferred on generations of candidates who are to study within its walls…

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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