29/08/2013 19:52

Holy Spirit Seminary in Bomana alive and kicking at 50

By Fr David Willis - President, Catholic Theological Institute, Port Moresby

29 AUG 2013. Holy Spirit Seminary, the largest formation institution for diocesan seminarians in PNG, celebrated its Golden Jubilee at its Bomana Campus from Friday 23rd till Sunday 25th August. The weekend was well attended and was filled with music, dancing, speeches and Masses. By Sunday evening there were a lot of tired but happy faces on the seminary grounds. Celebrations got under way on Friday afternoon when the Kivori Poe village people presented traditional dancing at the spot where classes were held after the seminary transferred from Madang in the late nineteen sixties.

The highlight of Saturday morning’s celebrations was the Golden Jubilee Mass celebrated by Archbishop John Ribat MSC of Port Moresby. Concelebrants included the newly appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, His Excellency Michael Banach, Archbishop Douglas Young of Mt. hagen and Bishops Tony Burgess of Wewak and Chris Blouin of Lae. A good number of priests, religious and laity all took part in the Mass. Speeches followed and then the rest of the day was celebrated in traditional style with dancing and musical entertainment. Archbishop Young was the celebrant at Sunday morning Mass and afterwards traditional dancing continued from the Siassi, Nabupaka, Kivori Poe communities and others. At the conclusion of the Mass Bp Blouin presented to Holy Spirit Seminary a First Class Relic of St John Vianney, Cure’ of Ars and the patron saint of parish priests, accepted with appreciation by Abp Young on behalf of the Rector, Fr Peter Artiken.

Fr Peter Miria, the chairman of the Jubilee Organizing Committee, and himself a member of one of the early group of seminarians – he began his studies at Holy Spirit Seminary in 1968 - was delighted with the weekend. “It has given us an opportunity to thank God for his blessings over the past fifty years and to acknowledge and thank so many bishops, priests and laity who continue to support us. We look forward with confidence to the seminary’s future years.” Current Rector Fr Peter Artiken, from the diocese of Wewak, himself a student at the seminary in the mid 1980s, also expressed his satisfaction with the weekend and thanked the organizers and all who attended. He too, expressed his thanks to benefactors and all who helped organize the weekend. Fr David Willis, the president of Catholic Theological Institute, the institution responsible for the academic formation for seminarians, gave a brief outline of the seminary’s history.

“It began in 1963 at Kap, Madang. In that year 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. In 1965 the bishops decided to transfer Holy Spirit Seminary to Bomana, thus establishing one major seminary in the country for clerical religious and seminarians, staffed by MSC and SVD priests. Over time other religious orders built houses on the seminary campus.”

Many developments have taken place over the years, Fr Willis commented, especially since the early nineties with the emergence of other seminaries in PNG and the Solomon Islands, and the establishment of Catholic Theological Institute in 1999, but today’s celebration is an important milestone for the Catholic Church in this country.” (www.cbcpngsi.orggiorgiolicini@yahoo.com)