THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: Archbishop Joaquim Lima (1928 – 1936)

On May 2, 1936, the Seminary was formally erected: ‘In conformity with the Canon 1354, We, by these Letters sealed with Our seal, on this day of May 1936, the eighth anniversary of our election, erect and establish the Seminary of Bombay at Parel; and with the best hopes of happy results We declare St. Anthony of Lisbon and St. Francis Xavier to be its Patrons.’                          

– Archbishop Joaquim Lima.

The Bombay Seminary at Parel was inaugurated on June 13, 1936. Aware of the legacy of the moment the Archbishop delivered a resounding and heartfelt speech. Here are a few excerpts:

…Please note, my dear seminarist, that your Archbishop will never be content with the formation of a mediocre clergy in the Seminary of Bombay. He wants the Archdiocese in this matter to hold its place among the most advanced dioceses in the world….

…Be like soldiers. Be always prepared to go wherever you may be sent by your superiors, and if you wish to be more distinguished labourers in the vineyard of the Lord, ask your superiors, when you are priests, to send you to the hardest missions…in this Archdiocese. The signs of the times are very bad! Zeal and more zeal, self-sacrifice, and more self-sacrifice are nowadays more required than they were in previous times. But how to acquire them?

Be it in your mind, my dear seminarist, that they are the delicious fruits of the tree which are always to remain fresh in the garden of your soul-i.e. the grace of God. Try to make your souls the habitual dwelling place of the Holy Ghost. He will teach you; He will guide you in your life; He will take you under his protection when the cross weighs heavily on you; He will finally make you eminent, zealous and self-sacrificing priests according to the ideal of the Church….

And thus Archbishop Joaquim Lima sowed the seed from which sprang the future tree. Unfortunately, he could not taste its fruit. The hustle of 1936 to inaugurate the Bombay Seminary seemed, in Fr. Comes’ words, ‘like a race with Heaven. The angel of death was in the air and the Archbishop had only a few months to live.’ Scarcely forty days after the Inauguration of the Bombay Seminary, Archbishop Joaquim Lima succumbed to pleurisy and on July 21, 1936, breathed his last at Belgaum.

The dream of the Archdiocese was fulfilled. The Bombay Seminary at Parel was inaugurated. The servant went back to his Maker.

laudemus viros gloriosos in generatione sua!

 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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