The Pioneers-First Batch of Gladsom Home

‘Gladsom Home for Students’, the Minor Seminary of the Diocese of Mangalore was started on 15 July 1984. It was a long-standing dream of the diocesan administration to have a separate Minor Seminary formation house for the students who wished to join the diocese and continue their PUC studies as well as obtain necessary initial orientation for priestly formation. Until then, the students pursuing their secular studies were staying in their respective homes and were called once a month for Recollection at the bishop’s house. 

Fr Fred V Pereira 

The prayer of the diocese to have a Minor Seminary within the city limits was promptly answered by the Lord through the generous donation of a house by a devout catholic couple residing near Mangaladevi Temple. Thanks to the timely intervention and initiative 11 taken by late Fr Fred V. Pereira, the then Parish Priest of Cathedral.

We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Late Mr Jacob Rego and Late Mrs Gladys Rego in donating their house to the Diocese of Mangalore. 

 Our Late Bishop Basil, the then Bishop of Mangalore Diocese found this abode most suitable to house the Minor Seminarians and thus the dream of having a Minor Seminary became a reality. 

Most Rev. Aloysius Paul D Souza (Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Mangalore) the then Chancellor of the Diocese, became the founding Rector. The Seminary was dedicated to St Joseph Vaz and named as ‘Gladsom Home’ (A Joyful Home).

The initial months and years faced various challenging situations. The new home had to be furnished, repairs had to be undertaken and certain modifications had to be planned. The young neophytes well-adjusted to the meagre sources and facilities. Several generous donors and philanthropists came forward to assist with financial and material resources. One cannot forget the timely assistance extended by the Apostolic Carmel Sisters of St Ann’s Convent for their material support. The students were enrolled at St Aloysius College and Rosario College for their PUC studies and in the evenings and weekends supplementary academic assistance was provided. Besides, the candidates were taught English, discipline, etiquette, communicative skills, liturgical practices and methods of prayer. Moreover, a happy community living was preached and practiced

Changes are part of life and in like manner, priestly formation is not an exception. Completion of degree studies became a necessary requirement for admission to the Major Seminary. Thereby, the need to accommodate the degree students became another necessity. As there was no special house for this purpose, different ways were sought.

Some were requested to do their graduate studies from home and come once a month for Recollection, a few others were accommodated in the College Hostel in Puttur. As this practice did not give beneficial results, the students were lodged for some time at the Pastoral Centre Bajjodi from the year 2018 12 and pursue their regular degree studies at Padua College.

The dire need to house them together with a separate dwelling place so as to give apt and best formation was taken up by Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha and to this effect, a house at Bajpe constructed by Christian Brothers in a piece of land granted by the diocese was handed over back to the diocese. Thus, a second home for the Minor Seminary came into existence on 27 September 2021 and was named Kripa Sadhana (Graceful Endeavour) dedicated to St Joseph as the Patron Saint. Accordingly, the dream for a full-fledged Minor Seminary for the diocese of Mangalore has materialised thanks to the unstinted efforts and initiative of Bishop Peter Paul Saldanha. Currently, the diocese has a well-set five-year graded integral formation programme. The aspirants join the first phase of their formation at the age of 16 after finishing the X standard. Then they continue their PUC studies, residing at Kripa Sadhana, the Minor Seminary premises located at Bajpe, with a full-time Rector assisted by a Spiritual Father. This house is well furnished with all necessary academic, social, spiritual and cultural requirements. Besides the regular PUC classes at St Joseph’s PU College, they are initiated into the basics of spirituality, community life and personality development.

The second phase of the Minor Seminary formation begins at the age of 18 which constitutes a three-year degree course where the candidates are housed at Gladsom Home in the city of Mangalore. The house has a full-time Rector assisted by trained spiritual Fathers.

The students attend regular classes either at St Aloysius or Milagres College. The academic constellation also includes learning of languages and other necessary skills. The three year training pays keen attention to the overall growth and development of the candidates. The students are absorbed little by little to be like Jesus and be efficient and effective disciples.

The specific nature of the five-year programme consists in the fact that they are well trained to excel in secular studies by attending regular classes with other students where they have opportunities to mix with the world, know the secular ideologies and at the same time they are set apart and given special training to priestly life.
There is a happy blending of the secular and the sacred. They are given sufficient exposure to the realities of the world and at the same time initiated to a life of commitment and priestly life. The purpose is that as the Holy Father Pope Francis says: “that they may bear mature fruit. They are ‘uncut diamonds’, to be formed both patiently and carefully, respecting the conscience of the individual, so that they may shine among the People of God.” (Address to the Plenary of the Congregation for Clergy, 3 October 2014).

Both these houses of formation are personally accompanied by the Bishop through his regular visits, and constant dialogue with the candidates and the Rectors who constitute catalysts of formation. Moreover, the Minor Seminary formation involves the support of the parents of the candidates. 

They come once a month to meet their sons and the directors in person. Their involvement in the formation process by their presence, testimony, advice and inspiration is highly appreciated. Furthermore, the Parish Priests of the Seminarians also participate in the formation programme. The candidates are monitored and directed during the holidays by their respective Parish Priests. The Minor Seminary in Mangalore diocese adopts a happy and joyful climate of being together. This climate has two vital aspects: Directional and Relational. The directional aspect takes into consideration the goals, objectives, procedures, rules demands and expectations. The relational aspect takes into consideration the response, commitment, and community life from the part of the candidate. If the former concentrates on rigour, responsibility, and hard work, the latter emphasises on freedom, openness, candour, sharing and love. 

The Minor Seminary formation in Mangalore looks at the formation through an unifying lens. It goes along with the desire of the Ratio Fundamentalis, accordingly, “The formation of priests means following a singular ‘journey of discipleship’, which begins at Baptism, is perfected through the other sacraments of Christian Initiation, comes to be appreciated as the centre of one’s life at the beginning of Seminary formation, and continues throughout one’s priestly life. Formation – both initial and ongoing – must be seen through a unifying lens, which takes account of the four dimensions of formation proposed by Pastores Dabo Vobis.” (RFIS, refer, Introduction: “Characteristic Elements and Fundamental Content”). 

The formation programme chalked out in this booklet is comprehensive, graded, and follows the mind of the universal Church and translated into the local Church, the Diocese of Mangalore. The formation given here will continue with greater intensity in the later years namely, in the Major Seminary.