ST. JOHN VIANNEY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (SJVTS) ENVISIONS TO FORM COMPASSIONATE, DISCERNING, INTEGRATED AND COMPETENT SERVANT-LEADERS OF THE CHURCH, AFTER THE HEART OF JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS PROPHET, PRIEST AND SHEPHERD.
As a regional theological seminary faithful to the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, SJVTS commits itself to the following:
1. Deepening of the seminarians’ personal relationship with Jesus Christ and of the desire to appropriate their values through personal and communal prayer, seeking God in all things, discerning God’s will at all times and willing to walk the extra mile;
2. Fostering authentic human virtues, attitudes and affectivities through the use of appropriate psycho-spiritual tools and thus forming balanced and mature persons for others;
3. Doing theology that is creatively faithful to the Roman Catholic tradition, critically responsive to the local church and global context and directed towards transformative praxis;
4. Cultivating a preferential option for the poor, pastoral zeal for inculturation of faith, promotion of justice and peace, interreligious dialogue and respect for the integrity of creation through the skillful use of socio-cultural analysis, biblico-theological reflection and spiritual discernment.
HISTORY AND PROFILE OF THE SEMINARY
St. John Vianney Theological Seminary (SJVTS) is a regional theological seminary owned by the Ecclesiastical Province of Cagayan de Oro. It can be recalled that it was the church’s response to the increasing vocation to the priesthood which prompted the Northern Mindanao bishops to open a theological seminary in Cagayan de Oro City. This seminary would cover the archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and the Dioceses of Butuan, Surigao, Tandag, and Malaybalay (CaBuSTaM). It was named after the Curé d’ Ars, St. John Marie Baptist Vianney – the Patron Saint of All Priests.
The bishops of CaBuSTaM appealed to the Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose missionaries served as pioneering evangelizers of these parts of Mindanao, to administer the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. In spite of the shortage of personnel, the Jesuits accepted the task to operate and maintain the seminary according to the need of the Mindanao church. Undoubtedly, this crucial ministry is the Jesuits’ very important particular contribution to the southern Philippine church.
SJVTS started to operate on June 10, 1985 with its thirty-seven (37) pioneering seminarians. The first deaconate ordination took place in 1989, and the first batch of priest-graduates was ordained in 1990. Bishop Jose Araneta Cabantan, who was appointed Bishop of Malaybalay on February 18, 2010, belongs to the first batch of SJVTS alumni. Subsequently, the seminary continues to produce priests who serve in various dioceses in Mindanao and Bohol.
SJVTS also operates as a graduate school open to religious and lay extern students who have finished their bachelor’s degree and wish to acquire a deeper theological training in Catholic faith and tradition. Since 1993, its Graduate Theology Program educates the theology teachers for colleges and universities, and trains church workers as professional catechists. It also prepares religious men and women towards a competent theological research in special areas of apostolate. As a graduate school, SJVTS offers four kinds of civil degrees for both divinity and non-divinity tracks: Master in Pastoral Ministry (non-thesis program), Master in Theology (non-thesis program), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry (thesis program), and Master of Arts in Theology (thesis program).
Over the years, SJVTS has been accommodating Mindanao seminarians outside the CaBuSTaM region, as well as seminarians from other Asian countries (Myanmar or Burma). It also welcomes the seminarians from Dei Verbum Fraternity, the Poor Servants of the Divine Providence (Calabrians), the Sacred Heart Fathers and the Third Order Regulars of St. Francis for their theological formation.
Since 1999, SJVTS has been blessed by the addition of competent diocesan formators – most of whom are themselves alumni of our seminary – and in 2005 welcomed its first lay formator. In the coming years, we hope to swell the number of our diocesan formators.
After more than twenty five years since its establishment, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary renews its commitment to the integral formation of seminarians and to the holistic training of lay and religious church workers. We instill in our alumni unswerving loyalty to the Roman Catholic tradition and an active engagement in the promotion of inculturation and interreligious dialogue in the context of tri-people (Christian-Muslim-Lumad) communities. Aware of its humble beginnings in 1985, we are deeply grateful for becoming a full-blown seedbed of vocations to the priesthood. We continue to move on as we embrace the enormous task of evangelizing not only the islands of Mindanao but also the Philippines as a whole and the rest of Asia.