Ecclesiastical Institutions of priestly formation are classified as Major and Minor Seminaries. Minor Seminary is more concerned with the human, moral and intellectual formation of the students. It uses all its resources to help the young boys to discern their calling. Those who, at the end of these formative years, feel that God is calling them for priestly life, join the Major Seminary which caters to the priestly formation of the students in its strict form, Hence, our work in this Minor Seminary of Our Lady, Saligao-Pilerne, is geared toward helping the students discern their vocation in life and nurturing them on values so that they can be good priests or simply good lay and family persons.
With this in view our programme may be summed as follows:
1. Academic: Students can join this Seminary from Std. VIII onwards. The Seminary runs a High School, Std VIII to X only, recognized by the Government of Goa and affiliated to the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Porvorim. After passing Std. X, they are enrolled in St. Xavier's Higher Secondary School, Mapusa, where they study upto Std. XI and XII and reside in Seminary Niwas, a filial house of this Seminar situated at Duler, Mapusa. Besides the regular subjects, students are also encouraged to take part in various co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, western classical music and sports.
2. Orientation Year: After completing Std.XII in St. Xavier's, the students come back to this Seminary and spend a year in prayer, study and discernment. This period is known as the Orientation Year, which could be likened to a Novitiate. During this year, the students are led into a deeper reflection on the life and ministry of priests and helped to discern their vocation. In order to help them, their curriculum includes study of the documents of the Church, specially those concerning Ministry, Formation of Priests and Sacred Liturgy; Catechism, languages viz. Latin, English and Konkani. They are also assigned some manual work. To help their spiritual life, they have meditation twice a day and Prayer of the Church (Breviary) besides other regular spiritual exercises. Also an exposure to parish life and pastoral work has been included in their schedule.
3. Conference of St. Joseph (St. Vincent de Paul): Through this Organisation the Orientation Year students are encouraged to visit the sick and the poor in the surrounding villages. They also help them financially when required. Money for these activities are collected by the students themselves through various programmes.
4. Water Shed Programme: this year, with the subsidy given by the Government, we have undertaken the water harvesting programme. The Seminary owns quite a sizable land which is rather rocky. However, we are now trying to turn this rocky area, with a thin layer of soil, into an orchard with the help of the water collected through rain water harvesting. We have so far planted around two hundred mango and one hundred cashew samplings. The work is not over yet and we hope to increase the number of fruit-bearing trees in the near future. Our students, along with Fr. Avito Almeida, are involved in all these works. They are also encouraged to take up kitchen gardening and maintenance of the surrounding areas.
5. Solar Energy: When it comes to sunshine, for us the sky is the limit. The open skies afford unlimited sunshine and to tap it for good use, Solar Water heating system has been installed, thus making hot water available for 24 hours. Solar Electrification is at the planning stage.
6. Our Aim is to improve on the available facilities so that this Seminary becomes an institution of all round development for its students and a beacon of excellence.