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.
At Venice, as Cardinal, he paid great attention to the Seminary and established the faculty of Canon law. He also organized and encouraged the seminarians to participate in a spiritual-exercises course with him and presented lectures on biblical exegesis, history, and Christian archaeology.
As Pope, in the interest of the Italian seminaries, he ordered them to be visited by the bishops and promulgated a new order of studies, which was in use for several years in the Roman Seminary. Since the diocese of Central and Southern Italy were too small for their respective seminaries, Pope Pius X established the regional seminary system with good libraries and facilitators. On the occasion of his priestly jubilee, on August 4, 1905, Pope Pius X wrote the famous exhortation to the clergy titled ‘Haerent animo’. Similarly, in July 1906, he wrote the encyclical, ‘Pieni l’animo’ – ‘Fill your soul’ dwelling on the education of the young clergy. His contributions to foster vocations has left an indelible mark on the Church’s history.
Another important sector was that of the doctrinal formation of the People of God. Beginning in his years as a parish priest, he himself had compiled a catechism and during his Episcopate, in Mantua, he worked to produce a single, if not universal catechism, at least in Italian. As an authentic Pastor, he had understood that the situation in that period, due partly to the phenomenon of emigration, made necessary a catechism to which every member of the faithful might refer, independently of the place in which he lived and of his position. As Pontiff, he compiled a text of Christian doctrine for the Diocese of Rome that was later disseminated throughout Italy and the world. Because of its simple, clear, precise language and effective explanations, this “Pius X Catechism”, as it was called, was a reliable guide to many in learning the truths of the faith. – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
As a priest and a Pope, his first love was always the Eucharist. Accordingly, he advised all to frequent the reception of the Holy Eucharist and by the decree ‘Quam Singulari’ (Aug 15, 1910) he lowered the age of First Communion to ‘about seven’, the age ‘when a child begins to reason.’
For all these reasons and more this early-twentieth-century champion of the Catholic faith and faith-formation was chosen to be the patron of the Bombay Seminary at Goregaon, inaugurated in the late twentieth century. May St. Pius X continue to bless, guide, and inspire us through his life and intercession.
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Please Note: Pictures on Posters 155 and 156 have been sourced from the Internet