Inauguration of St. Pius X Seminary Academic year 2020-2021
In the midst of these trying times and after an unavoidable delay St Pius X Seminary began its 2020-2021 academic year 30th August. 2020, but with a big change. This year the seminary classes and other essential activities, required for formation of future priests, classes, meetings and sessions, all would be done online, while the seminarians remain in their Parishes, Minor Seminaries, homes, etc. This of course would be a temporary arrangement that will last until the situation mellows out.
Every year the beginning of the inauguration of academic year is marked by the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by our dear shepherd and Archbishop, Cardinal Oswald Gracias. This not being possible due to the pandemic and the lockdown, he celebrated the mass at Holy Name Cathedral and specially offered it for the seminarians and the seminary staff.
The Gospel and Readings of the day spoke about doing the Mission of God. The Cardinal emphasized that this was a challenge and also an invitation. The covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the plans of everyone everywhere. In the same way, Our Lord was calling us to our “covid-19 moment” where he was challenging us to take a look at our lives and change it according to the will and mission that God has for each one of us. God may choose to disrupt our plans but He separates good from evil. This pandemic is a time for us to pray and reflect; a time to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Christ. A simple formula for this, the Cardinal explained, is JOY – Jesus should be first in our lives; Others should be next, and Yourself should be last.
The Mass was followed by an online meeting of the Cardinal with all the seminary staff and seminarians spread across the length and breadth of the country, known as Lectio Brevis. Fr. Aniceto Pereira warmly welcomed all seminarians and lay students, and Fr. John Barretto welcomed the Cardinal to the online meeting. His Eminence, speaking in the same vein as his homily, talked about the covid-19 moment - a moment of change, a time to grow spiritually in our lives as seminarians and priests.
The Cardinal then went on to speak about the efforts done by the Catholic Church all over the country for the relief of those affected by the covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. He emphasized that this pandemic has shown all of us how fragile life is, a real humbling experience to realize how much we depend on God. On a human plane this has resulted in the rise of a sentiment of common solidarity among all. On a spiritual plane this has led to a reawakening of spiritual life and turning back to God. The pandemic has given us a time to examine our spirituality and also an opportunity to rethink about our lives as individuals and as seminarians, priests and religious.
The Mass and the Lectio Brevis was indeed a time of joy to be addressed by our shepherd and above all although we were spread far and wide it showed a fraternal bond that exists in the seminary. It indeed filled all with a sense of happiness to be able to come together virtually as one family.
Br. Dorson D. D’Mello
2nd Year Philosophy