THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: The First Diocesan Rector

THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: The First Diocesan Rector

In July 1970 when the Rector, Fr. Joe Rodericks S.J. was also appointed by his Superiors as Procurator of the Bombay Province, Fr. Laguia S.J., who wrote the Historia Domus noted that there were rumors in the air that the Cardinal would soon announce a new Auxiliary or a new Rector of the Seminary. But he added that the rumors were quickly belied.

One day out of the blue, the Clergy, Diocesan and Religious – and the Nuns as well received a letter from the Cardinal inviting them to a meeting on February 13, 1971, at the Seminary because he had “something of great importance” to communicate to them. Everybody wondered what could this matter be that called for such an urgent and cryptic invitation.

When the Clergy and the Nuns assembled in the Seminary that day at 5 p.m. they saw on the dais Fr. Ferrando S.J. the Vice-Rector (his duties as Procurator of the Province took the Rector, Fr. Rodericks S.J., away from the Seminary a good deal of the time) seated to the left of the Cardinal, and to the Cardinal’s right were Auxiliary Bishop Winnibald Menezes and Msgr. Simon Pimenta, the Rector of the Holy Name Cathedral.

After thanking the assembly for responding to his invitation at such short notice, the Cardinal announced the appointment of Msgr. Pimenta as the new Rector of the Seminary with effect from June 1971, the first Diocesan priest to be appointed to the post. He took the occasion to recall the Agreement of 1940, the excellent manner in which the Society of Jesus had cared for the Seminary since 1936, and the involvement of the diocesan clergy over the years on the teaching staff of the Seminary.

Msgr Pimenta served as Rector of the Diocesan Seminary from June 1971 to 1973. He was succeeded by other diocesan Rectors including Fr. Ferdinand Fonseca (later Bishop), Fr. Bosco Penha (now Bishop Emeritus of Bombay), Fr. Agnelo Gracias (now Bishop Emeritus of Bombay and Apostolic Administrator of Diocese of Jalandhar), Fr. Caesar D’Mello, Fr. Cleophas Fernandes, Fr Harold Vaz, Bishop John Rodrigues and Fr. Aniceto Pereira, the present Rector of the Bombay Seminary.

Please Note: The above article is derived in parts from the Golden Jubilee Souvenir, RATUS, ‘Miles to go…promises to keep’, 1986     

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