Unrest in Seminary Leads to Temporary Closure

Jan. 18, 2010

By Media Mindanao News Service

News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988
Posted by Davao Today

DAVAO CITY (MMNS/September 30, 1987) – An unsettled “family problem” inside Mindanao’s biggest seminary based here has led to its temporary closure pending further talks.

Faculty and administration personnel have voluntarily resigned en masse and all 116 seminarians of the St. Francis Xavier Major Regional Seminary (ReMase) have abandoned their classes subsequently, MMNS sources said.

Church officials have remained tight-lipped on the reasons behind the temporary closure but MMNS sources disclosed the decision was a result of the deadlock in negotiation between seminarians who had staged a mass hunger strike and the ReMase faculty and administration despite intercession of Mindanao bishops.

The “family problem” started with ReMaSe’s faculty and administration decision Sept. 16, to expel Rolando Acido, a fourth year Theology student because of the latter’s “offensive” and “inappropriate” homily the Sunday before in the occasion of the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Acido’s homily, in particular, “offended” two Maryknoll priests-educators one of whom threatened to quit teaching his guidance and counseling class if Acido would be allowed to attend it.

The ReMaSe student body then went on a “solidarity” hunger strike starting Sept. 17. In a position paper obtained by MMNS, the seminarians demanded the dismissal of the two Maryknollers and the re-admission of Acido who, it was learned, is nearing ordination.

Other demands were: no expulsion of seminarians based on the hunger strike: no dropping or failing from subjects handled by the two Maryknoll priests but mass promotion; clarify distinction of roles and functions of the faculty and the administration and; unity of the formators and the seminarians in the formation based on consultation, participation and reciprocation.

Mindanao bishops held urgent meetings to resolve the in-house conflict but to no avail. Last Sept. 24, the Bishop’s Commission or Board of Trustees settled for the temporary closure in what was seen a “compromise solution.”

MMNS sources revealed that, ReMaSe may re-open on January next year. At the same time, there will be mass promotion.

At the moment, the seminarians are back to their respective dioceses. Acido, meanwhile, will be ordained as scheduled sources said. (Media Mindanao News Service News Digest Volume 1, August 1987-July 1988 Posted by Davao Today)

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