Bomana celebrates 50 years of priestly formation in PNG

On Friday 28th June 2013 the Catholic Theological Institute (CTI) in Bomana, Port Moresby celebrated its Golden Jubilee.

CTI has been the academic wing of Holy Spirit Seminary since 1999 when the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea set up a distinct institute for the academic formation of seminarians and laity. Thus both Holy Spirit Seminary and its offshoot, Catholic Theological Institute, share this jubilee celebration.

Among the many highlights of the Jubilee celebrations two can be mentioned: first, the Singkai Lecture given by Fr. Ommerborn SVD which explored the beginning of seminary education in Melanesia culminating in the creation of Holy Spirit seminary and second, the presence of five bishops and many priests, all graduates of Holy Spirit Seminary-Catholic Theological Institute who shared their reflections of life over the years at CTI-Holy Spirit Seminary with the present student community.

Holy Spirit Seminary began in 1963 at Kap, Madang. At its commencement there were about thirty students from various regions of the country: Manus Island, Bougainville, Yule Island, Wewak, Goroka and four students were from the Solomon Islands. The staff in the early years were all members of the Society of the Divine Word. A few months earlier, on December 8th 1962, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC) erected its seminary at Bomana and classes commenced early in 1963. The buildings were located on the grounds of what is now the campus of De La Salle Secondary School. Soon both communities were to be united.

In 1965 when the bishops were in Rome participating in the Second Vatican Council they made the decision to move Holy Spirit Seminary to Bomana, thus establishing one major seminary in the country for clerical religious and seminarians which was staffed by MSC and SVD priests. Over time other religious orders built houses on the seminary campus: Marist Fathers, Capuchin Friars, Franciscan Friars, Society of the Divine Word, Dominican Friars and Mariannhill Missionaries. The Passionist and the Salesian seminarians, while residing off campus, also attended Catholic Theological Institute.

Today the number of seminarians and clerical religious enrolled at Catholic Theological Institute is 120. Another 130 are enrolled in seminaries in other provinces of the country and in the Solomon Islands: Vanimo, Ropollo, Banz and Honiara, Solomon Islands. CTI’s curriculum is primarily oriented to the formation of priests, but it warmly welcomes members of religious congregations and lay people. There are a small number at present enrolled. Also for much of CTI’s existence the Anglican Church has sent some of its seminarians and priests to study at CTI. Their presence on campus has strengthened the already strong bonds between the two communions.

 

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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