Christ the King Mission Seminary

The Divine Word Mission Seminary (also known as Christ the King Mission Seminary) is a Roman Catholic seminary in Quezon City, Philippines run by the Divine Word Missionaries, more popularly known as the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). The seminary offers a seminary track of junior and senior high school, an undergraduate course of A.B. Philosophy and a graduate program on M.A. Philosophy.[1] It is located at 1101 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City.

Divine Word Mission Seminary
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Other name
Christ the King Mission Seminary
TypeSeminary
Established1933; 89 years ago (1933)
AffiliationDWEA, CEAP
Religious affiliation
RectorRev. Fr. Pablito Tagura, SVD
DeanPablito Tagura
Location,
Philippines
CampusUrban
Colors  Blue

HistoryEdit

At the turn of the century, the Catholic Church in the Philippines needed more priests. The Philippine Revolution from 1898 to 1900 created a transition from the Spanish – dominated church to the new American – dominated church. Many Spanish priests left the country, leaving a weakened Church. The inflow of American Protestant pastors and teachers became a concern for the church. Even the local Philippine Independent Church founded by Gregorio Aglipay in 1902, took advantage of the situation and grew into a nationalist church attracting adherents especially in areas vacated by the Spaniards.

Training priests became one of the priorities of the church and the SVD. In 1926, the Society took over the administration of the Archdiocesan Major Seminary in Vigan, Ilocos Sur for the local clergy. Those who opted to join the SVD received training at the Catholic Trade School. The first seminarians were from Abra and transferees from the diocesan seminaries. They were sent to America and Rome for their novitiate and further studies. The SVD General Council under the Superior General, Fr. William Gier, SVD, approved in 1929 the establishment of a new mission seminary for SVDs in the Philippines. Fr. Theodore Buttenbruch, SVD, as Regional Superior, was given the task to construct a seminary, in a twenty – hectare property in the newly opened area in Quezon city. He is considered the Father and Founder of Christ the King Mission Seminary. Bishop William Finnemann, SVD, who was then the auxiliary Bishop of Manila, who later became the first bishop in Mindoro, supported the purchase of the property for the establishment of the seminary.

On August 4, 1933, the ground-breaking for the foundation of the mission seminary to train Filipino missionary priests signaled a new beginning for the Philippine Church. The SVDs saw the need to accept and train Filipinos for the society. This was an unprecedented move. In the past, Filipinos were consigned to secular clergy status, and only selectively admitted to the religious orders. The American Archbishop of Manila, Michael James O Doherty, in granting the permission to open the Foundation, wrote: “Knowing the great need of priests and workers in the mission field in the Philippines, I add with all my heart the desired permission and approval, and pray that your efforts may be crowned with success and bring a blessing on our poor abandoned flock”. Bishop Guerrero had this to say about the new foundation: “It is the first institution of its kind for our Filipino youth and its need has been long felt”. As a missionary congregation, the SVD realized the value of recruiting Filipinos to do missionary work, not only in the country, but for the world missions. In 1934, the Christ the King Mission Seminary was inaugurated and formally opened to accept candidates for priesthood. It is a unique structure in the Philippine setting because it is patterned after a medieval castle. The name of this seminary is Christ the King, and the King lives in a castle, no matter how foreign the idea is to the Filipinos.

The High School department of the seminary was opened after the second World War in 1946. At that time, the seminary was the formation center that included the two-year college course before entry to the novitiate. The novitiate was a two-year program of spiritual formation. In the second year, studies in Philosophy were included, followed by another year to complete the philosophy studies. Seminarians had the option to study further for a masteral degree, or go to regency or continue to the four-year Theology course leading to ordination.

The first building, now called the Buttenbruch building, accommodated all the seminarians, faculty and staff. The seminary grew and expanded very fast. The inflow of vocations coming from the various mission fields especially in Abra and Mindoro necessitated construction of other structures. Prominent among these is the famous architecturally designed church. Facilities such as a swimming pool, stage, basketball and tennis courts, the Arnoldus Hall, the Faculty Building, the Novitiate and Scholasticate buildings followed in rapid order. With the growth of vocations, the need for economic support mechanisms were put in place. Thus, the carpentry, vocational and mechanic shops, piggery and poultry facilities, all run by the Brothers, were set up one after the other. The portion fronting the street and the church was used as an outlet for sale of religious materials, and as a venue for small group meetings.

In 1963, due to the sustained growth of vocations, the Novitiate and Scholasticate (Philosophy and Theology students) were successively transferred to Tagaytay City, a place more conducive to prayer and study. In 1988, Christ the King Seminary High School was closed. This left the seminary as a center for the philosophy studies for the four-year course preparatory to postulancy and novitiate. Feeder seminaries in the north were located in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Davao city in the south offered a two-year philosophy course. These seminarians added students for the last two years of the philosophy course at Christ the King Seminary. In 2016, the Divine Word Formation Center Urdaneta Pangasinan and Davao was temporary closed due to the development of the New Education System in the Philippines particularly the opening of Senior High Curriculum as an added requirement for students. Because of this development, all aspiring SVD Candidates are now moved to Christ the King Seminary as the central seminary of the SVD Philippines for Philosophy Formation. Today, Christ the King Seminary is called as Divine Word Mission Seminary.

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