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Pakistan: Diocese of Hyderabad opens its first minor seminary

Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis (center), Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, inaugurates St. Bonaventura Minor Seminary in the Diocese of Hyderabad, Sind Province, southeastern Pakistan, on August 15, 2022. (Photo supplied)

On August 15, a Catholic diocese in southeastern Pakistan opened a new minor seminary to train candidates for future priests.   

Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, inaugurated the new Minor Seminary of St. Bonaventura in the Diocese of Hyderabad, Sind province, southeastern Pakistan.

"We are called by God to serve His people with love and mercy. Seminary formation is sacred, and we must never forget what we have learned in the seminary. God blesses young people called to the priesthood," Nuncio said.

Over 300 Catholics, priests, nuns, and seminarians from the Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad attended the event.

"Always remember that God has called us and we must pray for our call to the priesthood. Take Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be your mother: she will take care of you and watch over your lives. Mary's faith and humility shaped her mission; it was through her faith and humility that she was raised to heaven," Archbishop El-Kassis said.

Speaking specifically to seminarians and priests, the nuncio said: "Our vocation to the priesthood comes from God... we are called to this particular mission of God in obedience to the bishops and with great humility. Whether you are a seminarian or a priest, always take time to pray for your vocation to the priesthood."

The prelate continued, "The formation of seminarians is very close to my heart. Be humble like our Mother Mary. God loves humble people because they are willing to accept His will. Trust in God and His teachings to be witnesses of God, like Mary."

At the Mass, Bishop Samson Shukardin, O.F.M. of Hyderabad, Father Tariq Talib, Rector of the seminary, and 16 other priests concelebrated with the Nuncio.

The Nuncio then blessed the chapel, the tabernacle, the altar, and then the facilities such as the dining room, the kitchen, the classrooms, the staff room, the library, the computer room, and the Rector's Office. 

The new building of Bonaventura Minor Seminary

"This is a joyful occasion, full of special grace: we have fought a long time and come a long way to reach this goal. Today, we are happy that this dream has come true," Bishop Shukardin told Fides news agency.

In the past, there were few vocations to the priesthood. In 2016, it started a minor seminary preparatory institute with 25 students. They then had to move to other dioceses to attend minor seminaries. Now, their study and formation paths will continue in the new minor seminary.

"This new seminary," he added, "is a symbol of hope that the number of priestly vocations will increase in our diocese. We have made our contribution and we will continue it with great commitment. I invite Catholic families to prepare their young sons to enter the seminary so that they can become our future priests and serve Jesus and the Church."

In May 2021, the diocese started building the minor seminary with the support of "Missio Austria" and "Aid to the Church in Need."

Father Talib, the Rector, said, "This new seminary will be a home for young men who are on the path of discernment for their priestly vocation. We have 16 seminarians in their first, second, and third years of studies."

The St. Bonaventure Minor Seminary is located in Mirpur Khas (a town 75 kilometers from Hyderabad) and offers accommodation for 30 students. The minor seminary accommodates students attending secondary school, while the major seminary is for university studies (philosophy and theology).

The Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad in southern Pakistan was established in August 1958 on a section of the Archdiocese of Karachi and has 16 parishes with a total of over 52,000 Catholics who are served by 118 diocesan priests and 103 religious priests.

It is characterized by the vast amount of apostolic work among the tribal peoples present in Pakistan. The Catholics of the diocese belong to different cultures, tribes, and ethnic groups and speak different languages such as Urdu, Sindhi, Kaachi, Kohli, Parkari, Vehari, and others.

Pakistan has seven ecclesiastical units: two archdioceses, four dioceses, and one Apostolic Vicariate. -   With input from Agenzia Fides 


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