Seminary Of Our Lady, Saligao-Pilerne
Ecclesiastical Institutions of priestly formation are classified as Major and Minor Seminaries. The Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman is called Seminary of Our Lady, situated at Saligao–Pilerne, in
the Taluka of Bardez. The work in this minor seminary is geared toward helping the seminarians discern their vocation in life and nurturing values in them, so that they can be good priests or simply good lay and
family persons. Those who, at the end of these formative years, feel that God is calling them for priestly life, join the Major Seminary (Patriarchal Seminay of Rachol, situated at Rachol in the Taluka of Salcette)
which caters to the priestly formation of the seminarians in its stricter form.
Structure of Formation in the Minor Seminary
The structure of the formation in the minor seminary gets adapted and modified according to the times and needs. The present structure (from 2020 onwards) in the Minor Seminary may be classified into the following phases:
The First phase: This consists of high school from Std. VIII to Std. X, recognized by
the Government of Goa and affiliated to the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher
Secondary Education, Porvorim.
The Second phase: The seminarians are enrolled in St. Xavier's Higher Secondary Section,
Mapusa, where they study upto Std. XI and XII and reside at Seminary Niwas, Duler, Mapusa, which is part of the Minor Seminary
The Third phase: The seminarians continue their studies in the various streams of their
choice up to graduation, during which they reside at the Seminary of Our Lady,
The Fourth phase: After completing their graduation in St. Xavier's, the seminarians enter into an importance phase in which they spend a year in prayer, study and discernment. This period is known
as the Orientation Year/Propaedeutic 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.
Students can join the Minor Seminary from Std. VIII onwards. A youngster can also join at any
time after his higher studies or after doing some work, in which case he will be
enrolled for the fourth phase.
The Four dimensions of Priestly Formation
The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, describes
the four dimensions of Priestly Formation as human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. Each dimension, while distinct in itself, is naturally linked to the others. The four dimensions form the comprehensive structure of formation that guides the development of the seminarian toward Priesthood. With this in view the programme in the Minor Seminary of Our Lady,
Saligao-Pilerne may be summed as follows:
The purpose of Human Formation is to assist the seminarian in his task of becoming fully human- a
man of integrity, to grow in true freedom, to develop a strong moral character, to be truthful, to become a man of communion, to care of his physical well-being, and to be an effective leader. The well-structured discipline in the seminary and the filial accompaniment by the superiors help the seminarians to grow with integrity. They are also assigned some manual work so that
they learn the importance of the dignity of labour.
In the area of spiritual formation, the seminarians seek to grow in their relationship with
Christ through prayer. The daily Eucharistic celebration, meditation on the Word of God, frequent reception of the sacrament of the reconciliation, Eucharistic adorations, retreats and recollections, visit to the blessed sacrament, spiritual direction, rosary, personal prayer and other prayer
services in the seminary help the seminarians to encounter the love of Christ in their lives and grow in His love. The seminarians in the orientation year have meditation twice a day and Prayer of
the Church (Breviary) besides other regular spiritual exercises.
The seminarians pursue in their academics in their respective classes. Besides the regular subjects,
students are also encouraged to take part in various co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, western classical music and sports. The curriculum in the Orientation year 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.
The area of pastoral formation is given less importance in the Minor Seminary. However, the Seminarians, during their orientation year are initiated into this area through some programs. An exposure to parish life and pastoral work has been included in their schedule. The Minor Seminary has a well established Conference of St. Joseph (St. Vincent de Paul). Through this Organisation the Orientation Year Seminarians 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 Seminarians themselves through various programmes. Besides their regular visit to the poor, they also visit the Old age homes, clergy homes, orphanages and prison, which are very much linked to the pastoral arena. On the occasion of the vocation day celebration these seminarians have the privilege of staying in the parish and encounter the pastoral life in the parish.
The Seminary aims at the all-round development for its seminarians and lives by its motto of
seeking the things that are of above.