Rector's Diamond Jubilee Address
Your Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias,
Emeritus Bishops Percival and Bosco,
Auxiliary Bishops, Allwyn, Dominic Savio, Barthol, and John
Members of the St Pius X Convent Community,
Friends and well wishers
Let me begin by wishing all of us a Happy Diamond Jubilee Day of St. Pius X College, Goregaon.
The pandemic has definitely toned down the magnitude of the celebration, but not our interior satisfaction at being members of the St Pius X Family on this great occasion when this Institution completes 60 years of its existence. We have gathered here to continue to thank God for granting the Archdiocese of Bombay this august Institution and for blessing the Staff and students with the excellent formation that they receive at St Pius College.
Exactly a year ago, on the 5th of October 2019, we began with great enthusiasm when, your Eminence, you celebrated a solemn Eucharist in the presence of the many alumni Bishops that gathered in our chapel. On that occasion we had chalked out plans for the whole year. Half way through our Diamond Jubilee Year the corona virus created a turbulence not only for our normal way of life in the Seminary, but globally. As you reminded us at the inauguration of this academic year, it has become a “Covid 19 moment” for us. And so we all wish to listen attentively to what the Lord is teaching us and the whole world through the experience of this pandemic, and all that his own grace is doing in order to help us respond to this human crisis.
Very fortunately, this Diamond Jubilee has also coincided with Pope Francis issuing his most recent Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, just the day before yesterday, in which he has urged the human race to take this global experience seriously, analyse what it is teaching us about the sense of universal solidarity we need to acknowledge, and take the necessary steps to understand that we are all brothers and sisters. As he put it: “If everything is connected, it is hard to imagine that this global disaster is unrelated to our way of approaching reality, our claim to be absolute masters of our own lives and of all that exists”. (FT, 34)
In words full of emotion, Pope Francis urges to learn the lessons of history:
“If only this may prove not to be just another tragedy of history from which we learned nothing. ...
If only this immense sorrow may not prove useless, but enable us to take a step forward towards a new style of life.
If only we might rediscover once for all that we need one another, and that in this way our human family can experience a rebirth, with all its faces, all its hands and all its voices, beyond the walls that we have erected.” (FT 35)
Today, on this Diamond Jubilee Day we would like to give an assurance to God that we, in St. Pius College, wish to take his message of solidarity to heart, and make of this Institution truly a family experience for all those who enter its portals both, as formators as well as students. As the late Cardinal Valerian Gracias himself wrote in the Foreword of the Souvenir of the Official Inauguration of St. Pius X College, “Though the building is stately and imposing, yet functional, its grandeur however is but a dim reflection of the inimitable beauty of the Priestly Character to be conferred on generations of candidates who are to study within its walls.”
Over the years, St Pius College has been admitting, besides young men as candidates for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Bombay, also senior vocations, candidates for the Permanent Diaconate, candidates for other dioceses in India, women religious as well as lay persons. This seminary community is not to be just an ordinary family. As Pope St John Paul II explained in his exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, “In its deepest identity the seminary is called to be, in its own way, a continuation in the Church of the apostolic community gathered about Jesus, listening to his word, proceeding towards the Easter experience, awaiting the gift of the Spirit for the mission” (PDV 60).
On this Diamond Jubilee Day, we firmly resolve to provide all the members of the St Pius Family the experience of the close-knit community of Jesus and the apostles.
I cannot end these few words, without thanking you, Your Eminence, for all the care, support and guidance that you provide in helping us to accomplish the mission of this Seminary. And we wish you all the best as you, who are an eminent alumnus of this Institution, look forward towards your own Sacerdotal Golden Jubilee on the 20th of December 2020. We also wish Bishop Percival in advance for his Sacerdotal Diamond Jubilee on 21st December 2020.
God bless you, your Eminence, and do continue to pray for all of us at St. Pius College.
Fr. Aniceto PEREIRA