August 19th, 2016 by admn
St Joseph’s Interdiocesan Seminary, Mangalore, was first established in 1763 at Monte Mariano, some 13 kilometres east of Mangalore town. However, during the captivity of Kanara Catholics under Tippu Sultan in 1784, the seminarians were dispersed or sent to Verapoly and for the next few decades, there is no record to show that a Seminary existed in Mangalore. However, in 1843, a certain Fr Pius Noronha was said to have been the Rector of the Seminary at Monte Mariano. In 1845, when the Carmelites took over the care of the Church in Mangalore, they gathered the candidates to the priesthood in a house which was then situated in the locality which is now St Anne’s Convent, near the Cathedral. This Seminary was then transferred to Sunkeri, some 5 kilometers east of Karwar. It was again brought back to Monte Mariano. Bishop Bernadine OCD moved the Seminary near to his residence, St Anne’s Convent, in 1846. But his successor, Bishop Michael Anthony OCD acquired a plot of land at Jeppu, where now is Infant Mary’s Convent in 1854, where a large house with a chapel was built as a residence of the Bishop and also for the seminarians. In 1870, there were 34 priests and 12 seminarians in this House of formation.
The Jesuits took over from the Carmelites in 1878, and the very first act of the new Vicar Apostolic, Mgr Nicholas Pagani, was to reorganize the Seminary. Hence the present St Joseph’s Seminary came into being on 11th January 1879. During the hundred years and more of its existence, the Seminary has trained a large number of seminarians belonging to several dioceses of India. Initially started as the Diocesan Seminary of Mangalore, the Seminary became an Interdiocesan Institution when the Mangalore diocese was bifurcated into Mangalore and Calicut dioceses in 1923.
When the Seminary celebrated its centenary, not of its establishment, but of its reorganisation under the Jesuits, the then Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr Pedro Arrupe of holy memory, visited the Seminary on 11th January 1980, and, on that occasion uttered these prophetic words: “We are aware that the goal or future of our work for the seminaries is to be achieved under the direction of the Bishops and of the secular clergy, because, as the Council says, if it is possible, it is good to have Bishops and secular clergy forming the secular priests who obviously know what they require.”
Moved with this desire to facilitate the assumption by the diocesan clergy of their rightful role in the formation of the diocesan seminarians, the Karnataka Jesuit Province through their Superior General, requested the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to be relieved of the administrative responsibility of the Seminary.
By its Decree dated 15th July 1992, the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples authorized the transfer of administration of the Seminary from the Society of Jesus to the Interdiocesan (Mangalore & Calicut) Board of Administration with effect from 1st June 1995.
First of June 1995 has gone down as a great event in the history of St Joseph’s Interdiocesan Seminary. On that day the Society of Jesus who had carefully looked after the formation of the Students to priesthood for 116 years, handed over the administration to the diocesan clergy of Mangalore and Calicut. With the creation of Kannur Diocese in the year 1999, and Udupi Diocese in 2012, the Bishop of Kannur and the Bishop of Udupi also are made the Member of the Board of Administration.
Another milestone in the history of our Seminary was the completion of 125 years of its existence on the 11th January 2004. Now we march forward with the greater commitment and determination towards the formation of future priests.
As we embark on 135th year of this premier house of priestly formation, our thrust will be Pastoral Formation focusing ourselves on it under the motto
“Follow Jesus, the perfect man and be human like Him”.