|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”.
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
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
Legion of Christ for their work in the college, as
well as its students.
|Card. Pio Laghi signing the golden book.|
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.
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