San Carlos Seminary

San Carlos Seminary

The Royal and Conciliar San Carlos Seminary is the archdiocesan seminary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. It was established in the year 1702, by decree of King Philip V of Spain. At present, the institution houses seminarians belonging to various dioceses in Luzon, particularly from the Metro Manila region.

Formation team of San Carlos Seminary

There are 14 priests from the Archdiocese of Manila that cater the formation program of seminarians for the School Year 2008-2009.

* Msgr. Hernando Coronel: Rector

* Fr. Ramon Merino: Procurator

* Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo: Director, Theology Department: Music Director

* Fr. Rey Anthony Yatco: Director, Philosophy Department: Liturgy Director: Priest-Adviser, "Seminario-Tahanan ng San Carlos" (SETA)

* Fr. Jose Francisco Syquia: Director, Formation Year

* Fr. Joselito Martin : Director, Pastoral-Spiritual Integration Year

* Fr. Joel Jason: Academic Dean, San Carlos Graduate School of Theology: Director, Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Library: Admissions Director

* Fr. Lorenz Moises Festin: Academic Dean, Philosophy Department: Publications Director

* Fr. Rolando Garcia, Jr.: Associate Director, Formation Year

* Fr. Nolan Que: Spiritual Director, Theology Department

* Fr. Joselito Buenafe: Spiritual Director, Theology Department

* Fr. Jason Laguerta: Manila Archdiocesan Vocations Director: Spiritual Director, Philosophy Department

* Fr. Yulito Ignacio: Spiritual Director, Philosophy Department

* Fr. Alberto Cecilio Flores: Spiritual Director, Philosophy Department


San Carlos Seminary, the Archdiocesan Seminary of Manila, was the first diocesan seminary established in the Philippines. Its foundation was decreed by King Philip V of Spain who, on April 28, 1702, ordered the establishment in Manila of a seminary for the formation of the diocesan clergy as envisioned by the Council of Trent.

On December 8, 1707, the seminary was blessed and inaugurated by Archbishop Francisco Cuesta, and was named "Royal Seminary of San Clemente", in honor of the reigning Pope Clement XI.

In 1715, the name of the seminary was changed to "Real Seminario de San Felipe", in honor of the king's patron saint. The next decade, civil authorities turned San Felipe into a university, so the seminarians have to take most of their philosophy and theology courses at the Jesuit-run "Colegio de San Jose" and at the Dominican-run "Colegio de Santo Tomas". But the University of San Felipe was short lived and by 1730, the seminary was back to the exclusive use of the seminarians. Years later, as part of the reforms being instituted, the Jesuits' "Colegio de San Ignacio", located on Calle Real de Palacio (now General Luna Street) and Calle Escuela (now Victoria Street) was converted into a diocesan seminary. In 1786, it was bestowed another name - "REAL SEMINARIO CONCILIAR DE SAN CARLOS".

The seminary building was heavily damaged during the earthquake of 1889, so again the seminarians had to be moved. The Vincentian Fathers who had been in charge of the seminary since 1862, in accordance with the wishes of Queen Isabella II, transferred the students to their "Casa del Campo" in San Marcelino. Three years later, Archbishop Pedro Payo constructed a building for seminarians in Arzobispo Street beside the new San Ignacio Church. In 1905, Archbishop Jeremiah Harty placed San Carlos under the care of the Jesuits. It was later transferred to Cavite with the missionaries of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) when they took over Trinity College there in 1909. Three years later, San Carlos was back in Intramuros, joining the Jesuit-run "Colegio de San Francisco Javier" on Padre Faura until it was closed in 1913. Archbishop Harty later found another place for the San Carlos Seminary in a renovated building (now Don Bosco) in Mandaluyong City and the Vincentians were again put in charge of the seminary.

For two centuries, thus, the archdiocesan seminary was shuttled, being lodged whenever it was convenient for the archdiocese or the congregation in charge of it.

It was not until the years of calm after the World War II that the archdiocese could begin the process towards the fulfillment of a vision - to have a permanent building for the formation of the archdiocese's future priests, and to make it the biggest and the most modern seminary in the country. Through the unstinting and untiring efforts of Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes, the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila, the cherished dream became a reality in the early 1950s. San Carlos was finally granted its own five-hectare site in San Pedro (now Guadalupe), Makati City, along Highway 54 (now EDSA). Constructions began, and on January 24, 1953, Norman Thomas Cardinal Gilroy, then "legate a latere" to the on-going First Plenary Council of the Philippines, inaugurated the new San Carlos Seminary building.Twenty years later, in 1973, Rufino Cardinal Santos, the first Filipino Cardinal, installed the first Filipino diocesan rector of San Carlos, Fr. Oscar Cruz, who is now the Archbishop of Lingayen.

On June 29, 1987, the San Carlos Graduate School of Theology and the Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Library were completed and blessed by Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu.

Some of the historic events that took place in San Carlos Seminary were the following: the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (January 20 to February 17, 1991); the 6th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (January 10- 19, 1995); the grace-filled visit of Pope John Paul II (January 15, 1995); and the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal (January 20- 27, 2001).

Through the years, the seminary has produced many dedicated and zealous men who have served for the mission of the Church. Some of San Carlos Seminary's distinguished alumni are GOMBURZA priests Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora, priest-martyrs who became inspiration for Philippine independence during Spanish times, Rufino Cardinal Santos, the first Filipino Cardinal, and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the present Archbishop of Cebu, and many bishops and priests who dedicatedly served the local Church.

Priestly formation program of San Carlos Seminary

San Carlos Seminary gives the formation to prospective priests primarily for the Archdiocese of Manila. Nevertheless, the seminary also accepts seminarians from other dioceses in the country and abroad in special arrangements.

A young man is accepted after rigorous screening. A high school diploma and baptismal certificate are the minimum requirements, yet standards of intelligence and psychological maturity must also be met. The priestly formation is holistic. The seminary organizes its programs of formation under five main aspects:

Human formation

"The whole work of priestly formation would be deprived of the necessary foundation if it lacked a suitable human formation. Human formation is the basis of all priestly formation. So we see that the human formation of the priest shows its special importance when related to the receivers of the mission: in order that the ministry may be humanly as credible and acceptable as possible, it is important that the priest should mould his human personality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for them in their meeting Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of man" (Pope John Paul II, "Pastores Dabo Vobis", 43)

Spiritual formation

"Spiritual formation should be conducted in such a way that the students may learn to live in intimate and unceasing union with God the Father through his Son Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Those who are to take on the likeness of Christ the priest by sacred ordination should form the habit of drawing close to him as friends in every detail of their lives. They should live his paschal mystery in such a way that they will know how to initiate into it the people committed to their charge. They should be taught to seek Christ in faithful meditation on the word of God and in active participation in the sacred mysteries of the Church, especially in the Eucharist and the Divine Office, to seek him in the bishop by whom they are sent and in the people to whom they are sent, especially the poor, little children, the weak, sinners and unbelievers. With the confidence of sons they should love and reverence the most blessed Virgin Mary, who was given as a mother to the disciple by Jesus Christ as he was dying on the cross" ("Pastores Dabo Vobis", 45, quoted from Vatican II, "Optatam Totius", 8)

Community life formation

"Of special importance is the capacity to relate to others. This is truly fundamental for a person who is called to be responsible for a community and to be a 'man of communion'. This demands that the priest not be arrogant, or quarrelsome, but affable, hospitable, sincere in his words and heart, prudent and discreet, generous and ready to serve, capable of opening himself to clear and brotherly relationships and of encouraging the same in others, and quick to understand, forgive and console." ("Pastores Dabo Vobis", 43)

Intellectual formation

"To be pastorally effective, intellectual formation is to be integrated with a spirituality marked by a personal experience of God. In this way a purely abstract approach to knowledge is overcome in favor of that intelligence of heart which knows how to 'look beyond,' and then is in a position to communicate the mystery of God to the people." ("Pastores Dabo Vobis", 51)

Pastoral formation

"The whole formation imparted to candidates for the priesthood aims at preparing them to enter into communion with the charity of Christ the good shepherd. Hence, their formation in its different aspects mush have a fundamentally pastoral character. Hence, they should be trained for the ministry of the word, the ministry of worship and sanctification, and the ministry of the shepherd, that they may know how to represent Christ to humanity, Christ who 'did not come to have service done to him but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for the lives of many' (Mk. 10:45; Jn. 13:12-17). The Council text insists upon the coordination of the different aspects of human, spiritual and intellectual formation. At the same time it stresses that they are all directed to a specific pastoral end. This pastoral aim ensures that the human, spiritual and intellectual formation has certain precise content and characteristics; it also unifies and gives specificity to the whole formation of future priests. Apostolate works, catechetics and seminars outside are some of the programs in line with the Pastoral Formation." ("Pastores Dabo Vobis", 57)

The sum total of a seminarian's training is for him to grow in his identification with Jesus Christ. In response to grace, he builds up his commitment - to personal sanctification, to discernment of his vocation, to constancy in prayer, to diligence and competence in studies, to pastoral involvement. In the final years prior to ordination, he sees himself and his mission as "animated by the love of God, entrusted to the maternal care of Mary, committed to a life of prayer and discernment grounded in the Mass, to self-discovery and self-acceptance, to simplicity, chastity, humility and docility, to study and work, to the appreciation of faith."

Filipino rectors of San Carlos Seminary

# Oscar V. Cruz, D.D. (1973 to 1978), the current Archbishop of Lingayen
# Protacio Gungon, D.D. (1978 to 1980), Bishop-Emeritus of Antipolo
# Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, D.D. (1980 to 1982), the current Archbishop of Manila
# Ramon Arguelles, D.D. (1982 to 1986), the current Archbishop of Lipa
# Francisco De Leon, D.D. (1986 to 1991, 1998 to 2001), the current Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo
# Crisostomo Yalung, D.D (1991 to 1994), Bishop-Emeritus of Antipolo
# Msgr. Allen Aganon (1994 to 1998), serving the Diocese of Parañaque at present
# Msgr. Jesus-Romulo Rañada (2001 to 2002), serving the Diocese of Novaliches at present
# Fr. Edwin Mercado (2002 to 2008)
# Msgr. Hernando Coronel (2008 - present)

Stages of priestly formation

The seminary formation comprises three stages: Pre-College or Juniorate (although at present, it is called Formation Year Department), Philosophy, and Theology.

Formation Year Department (Pre-College)

* Fresh high school graduates, college undergraduates and graduates, who are no more than 22 years of age, undergo this one-year period of rigid seminary orientation. They learn the rubrics of prayer life, community living, study habits, and personal growth. This stage was used to be called the Juniorate Department because from 1990 to 2005, it housed both the Formation Year seminarians and the First Year Philosophy seminarians.

Directors of the Pre-college Department

::: Most. Rev. Jesse Mercado, D.D. (1979 to 1982)::: Msgr. Jesus-Norriel Bandojo (1982 to 1985, 1988 to 1993)::: Fr. Lazaro Abaco (1985 to 1987)::: Fr. Francisco Siguan (1987 to 1988)::: Fr. Raymund Arre (1993 to 1995)::: Fr. Leandro Magnait (1995 to 1999)::: Fr. Jose Peregrino Tomas (1999 to 2002)::: Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo (2002 to 2007)::: Fr. Jose Francisco Syquia (2007 - present)

Philosophy Department

* Seminarians admitted to the First Year are only those coming from the Formation Year Department (or pre-college from other seminaries) and graduates of the minor seminary. During the four years of this stage, the seminarian is equipped with academic knowledge for critical thinking and understanding of matters of faith and morality, a profound sense of spirituality and community living, and grounding in pastoral activities.

* The Philosophy curriculum is compliant with the provisions of the Commission on Higher Education of the Department of Education. Seminarians who completed the academic requirements of the course are licensed with a degree of Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) Major in Classical Philosophy.

Directors of the Philosophy Department

::: Most Rev. Oscar V. Cruz, D.D. (1974 to 1976)::: Msgr. Severino Anatalio (1976 to 1978)::: Most Rev. Francisco De Leon, D.D. (1978 to 1979)::: Fr. Miguel Ilagan (1979)::: Most Rev. Jesse Mercado, D.D. (1979 to 1980)::: Msgr. Emmanuel Sunga (1980 to 1984)::: Msgr. Jesus-Norriel Bandojo (1984 to 1985)::: Msgr. Rolando Tirania (1985 to 1986)::: Fr. Lazaro Abaco (1986 to 1987)::: Fr. Roberto Reyes (1987 to 1989)::: Fr. Medardo Ong (1989 to 1990)::: Msgr. Ruperto Santos (1990 to 1992)::: Fr. Benito Tuazon (1992 to 1993)::: Fr. Alex Amandy (1993 to 1997)::: Fr. Raymund Arre (1997 to 1998)::: Fr. Lorenz Moises Festin (1998 to 2001)::: Fr. Ferdinand Santos (2001 to 2003)::: Fr. Jason Laguerta (2003 to 2005)::: Fr. Rey Anthony Yatco (2005 - present)

Academic Deans of the Philosophy Department

::: Most Rev. Francisco De Leon, D.D. (1977 to 1979)::: Fr. Feliciano Manalili, O.C.S.O. (1979 to 1980)::: Msgr. Emmanuel Sunga (1980 to 1985)::: Fr. Gerardo Giovanni Tapiador (1985 to 1987)::: Fr. Melchor Montalbo (1987 to 1994, 1995 to 1996)::: Fr. Leandro Magnait (1994 to 1995)::: Fr. Henry Ferreras (1996 to 1997)::: Msgr. Dennis S. Odiver (1997 to 1998)::: Fr. Lorenz Moises Festin (1998 - present)

Theology Department

* At this stage, the seminarian is formed to be a pastoral theologian in fulfillment of the demands of the Church for his future ministry. He should exemplify traits of a responsible shepherd and conscious leader.

* There are five years allotted for the theological formation of a seminarian: 4 for the course proper and 1 for the PSIY. Between his Second Year and Third Year, he undergoes the Pastoral-Spiritual Integration Year (or PSIY) wherein he begins to discern seriously his vocation to the priesthood through lengthy activities of pastoral outreach, community building, and prayerful discernment.

* In the absence of the Seminary Rector, the Director of the Theology Department assumes the responsibilities of this post. In the past, there was a Vice-Rector who assists in the key administration of the seminary. The last vice-rector, Rev. Fr. Estelito Mendoza, was installed parish priest of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Poblacion, Makati City in January 2007, upon the request of the seminary fathers to cater the need for a seminary parish for the ongoing formation of seminarians.

* Seminarians who would complete the course requirements will be granted the Master's Degree in Sacred Theology.

Directors of the Theology Department

::: Msgr. Sabino Vengco (1974 to 1978, 1981 to 1985)::: Fr. Feliciano Manalili, O.C.S.O. (1978 to 1979)::: Most Rev. Francisco De Leon, D.D. (1979 to 1981)::: Fr. Edwin Agapay (1985 to 1987)::: Fr. Edwin Mercado (1987 to 1993)::: Fr. Mario Sanchez (1993 to 1998)::: Msgr. Nestor Cerbo (1998 to 2000)::: Fr. Gregory Gaston (2000 to 2001)::: Fr. Ramil Marcos (2001 to 2002)::: Fr. Joselito Martin (2002 to 2007)::: Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo (2007 - present)

Academic Deans of the San Carlos Graduate School of Theology

::: Msgr. Sabino Vengco (1978 to 1982, 1983 to 1985)::: Most Rev. Teodoro Bacani, D.D. (1982 to 1983)::: Fr. Edwin Agapay (1985 to 1987)::: Fr. Gerardo Giovanni Tapiador (1987 to 1989)::: Msgr. Gerardo Santos (1989 to 1992)::: Msgr. Ruperto Santos (1992 to 1997)::: Fr. Henry Ferreras (1997 to 1998)::: Fr. Gregory Gaston (1998 to 2003)::: Fr. Nolan Que (2003 to 2006)::: Fr. Joel Jason (2006 - present)

Directors of the Pastoral-Spiritual Integration Year

::: Fr. Celestino Pascual (1992 to 1993)::: Msgr. Allen Aganon (1993 to 1994)::: Fr. Ronald Macale (1994 to 2000)::: Fr. Estelito Villegas (2000 to 2007)::: Fr. Joselito Martin (2007 - present)

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