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15th anniversary of the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae
It is currently forming 221 seminarians from 90 dioceses and 27 countries.

PCIMME en el Governatorato del Vaticano.
Members of the Pontifical College in front of the "Vatican Governatorato" building with Msgr. Cipriano Calderón, Msgr. Eitor Sales, archbishop emeritus of Natal (Brazil) and Msgr. Danascene Bimenyimana, bishop of Cyangugu, Rwanda.

Rome, August 10, 2006. Last June 17, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the founding of the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae, his Eminence Cardinal Pío Laghi visited the college. Cardinal Laghi had been prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education in 1991, the year Mater Ecclesiae by the Legionaries of Christ as a new seminary in Rome forming diocesan seminarians from around the world. In 1999, Cardinal Laghi himself had signed the decree by which His Holiness John Paul II granted the college the title “Pontifical”.

While the seminary is operated by the Legionaries of Christ, all of its students are diocesan and all of its graduates have been ordained priests for dioceses around the world, not for the Legion. It currently serves some 220 students. In its 15 years, Mater Ecclesiae has seen 390 graduates representing thirty nationalities ordained to the priesthood for dioceses throughout the world. A similar seminary for diocesan priests run by the Legion was opened near Sao Paolo in response to requests from Brazilian bishops; it now has 120 students.

Cardinal Laghi presided over the solemn concelebration June 17 in thanksgiving for the past 15 years of the college’s existence. Some alumni of the college, now priests, also participated. During the homily, his Eminence commented on the importance of the four areas of formation (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral) on the path toward the priesthood, as set forth in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, since these four areas are closely united in bringing about a priest’s integral formation. He also emphasized the importance of building this integral formation around the Eucharist; at the same time, he encouraged the seminarians to continue in their vocation with enthusiasm, responding joyfully to Christ’s call to follow him in the ministerial priesthood.

Before leaving, he left this message in the College’s golden book: “I rejoice greatly in the abundant fruits that this seminary has given in its fifteen years of life. I desire to see it increase its fruits for the good of the church, with the Lord’s most special blessings”.

Thanksgiving Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica

To prepare for these celebrations, the seminarians and formators of the college made a pilgrimage on May 28 to the tomb of St. Peter to have a Eucharistic concelebration in thanksgiving. The concelebration, held at the Altar of the Chair, was presided over by Monsignor Cipriano Calderón, who he thanked the
Card. Pio Laghi
Card. Pio Laghi signing the golden book.
Legion of Christ for their work in the college, as well as its students.

Afterwards, a photograph was taken of the group in the atrium of the Vatican “Governatorato”. The group of formators and students was accompanied by some graduates and by the bishops who were present on that day: Msgr. Cipriano Calderón, vice president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Latin America, and Msgr. Eitor Sales, archbishop emeritus of Natal, Brasil and Msgr. Danascene Bimenyimana, bishop of Cyangugu, Rwanda.

In these 15 years, the International Pontifical College, Maria Mater Ecclesiae, founded as a response to the express desire of Pope John Paul II, has given the Catholic Church 390 priests. It is currently forming 221 seminarians from 90 dioceses and 27 countries.



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