Throughout this year 2015 the Sulpician Major Seminary in Montreal (Quebec), Canada has been celebrating its 175th anniversary.
Although the seminary began in 1825 as a modest school of theology in the bishop’s residence, the second Bishop of Montreal, Mgr Ignace BOURGET, finally entrusted the seminary to the Sulpicians in 1840 and thereby established the Major Seminary of Montreal. It started out with just nineteen seminarians but eventually grew to fifty seminarians in the late nineteenth century, and then a much larger seminary throughout the twentieth century. In recent years, though, with the decline in priestly vocations in throughout Quebec, the seminary has decreased in numbers.
In 1988, the Sulpicians established the Institute for Theological Formation of Montreal (IFTM) at the seminary in order to welcome qualified outside students, especially lay people, to study philosophy and theology with the seminarians.
One of the principal events of the anniversary was a colloquium held at the GSM on May 3 to 5, 2015 with the topic, “The Challenges of Presbyteral Formation in the Context of the Contemporary Family.” The main presenter for the colloquium was Rev. Dr. Amedeo CENCINI, a specialist in formation and the psychosexual health of clergy. He holds a doctorate in Psychology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and teaches at the Pontifical Salesian University. He also serves as a consultant for the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The Superior General of the Sulpicians, Rev. Dr. Ronald D. WITHERUP, PSS also gave a conference, addressing the theme of “The Notion of Priestly Formation in the New Testament and in the Thought of J.-J. Olier.” Another presenter, who addressed questions of the situation of the family in Quebec, was Prof. Christian BERGERON, a sociologist from the University of Ottawa.
The Rector, Father Jaroslav KAUFMANN, PSS and the formation team coordinated the colloquium, which involved the seminary community and the general public. Another confrere, Archbishop Emilius GOULET, PSS, Archbishop emeritus of Saint Boniface, gave a personal testimony of his ministry and also presided and preached at the final Eucharist.
Happy Anniversary to the Major Seminary of Montreal! And congratulations to the Canadian Province of Sulpicians who have so loyally directed the seminary for a century and a half. Ad multos annos!