Mother of Good Counsel Seminary

Unisite Subdivision, Del Pilar, San Fernando, 2000
Mother of Good Counsel Seminary Mother of Good Counsel Seminary is one of the popular Private School located in Unisite Subdivision, Del Pilar ,San Fernando listed under Catholic Church in San Fernando , School in San Fernando ,

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When three aspiring priests Basilio David, Eulalio Yabut, and Antonio Ibay heard of the appointment of Bishop Ma. Guerrero as the Bishop of San Fernando, the three who were near priesthood went to visit the bishop.

Bishop Ma. Guerrero was then a kind of a political prisoner who was accused of collaborating with the Japanese and when liberation came, he underwent a house arrest in the home of the Cappucins. His appointment as the bishop of San Fernando was acted as a function of an official exemption from the church from any wrongdoing during the occupation.

During the visit, Basilio David came to inquire from Bishop Cesar Ma. Guerrero about his major project that he wanted to accomplish. With this question, the Bishop replied that he wanted to put up a seminary. The start of the seminary was also ushered by the ordination of these three aspiring priests as discussed during the visit. Thus, the visit resulted to their appointment as the first formators.

This event did not easily come to the establishment of the seminary. Everything could have fallen apart because of some conflicts and misunderstandings. For instance, when the Bishop said that he wanted to establish a seminary, he did not really think of a regular seminary with a curriculum and a step by step movement from Philosophy to Theology. Rather, he simply thought of it merely as a group of boys who would be taught some English and Arithmetic.

The Seminary was established on July 4, 1950 in Guagua, Pampanga. It is presently the Rufino Cardinal Santos Building in Guagua. It was practically small for the seminarians. It was named as “Mater Boni Consilii” (the Latin translation of “The Mother of Good Counsel”). Such was its name because the one who named it, Bishop Cesar Ma. Guerrero was highly devoted to the Blessed Virgin and Mater Boni Consilii was taken from her litany.

Years in Guagua (1950-1951). The Seminary was opened up in Guagua with the intention of attaching it to St. Michael’s Colleges because the bishop did not even think of the seminary as really a seminary. When the Seminary was recognized and accredited by the government, the first cards of the seminarians were issued by St. Michael’s Colleges. Later on, this was discarded because the training in the seminary is far different from that of St. Michael’s. They had a different curricula. The seminary for one copied the classical secondary curriculum of San Jose Seminary which was not compatible with that of St. Michael’s. The classical secondary curriculum of San Jose Seminary was applied because its first formators underwent a rigid Jesuit educational training of the classics and languages in San Jose Seminary.

The First Formators and Seminarians. The First formators were the same people who visited Bishop Ma. Guerrero. To them, the bishop proposed the setting up of a seminary. They were Fr. Basilio David, who acted as the Rector, Fr. Eulolio Yabut (now deceased) as the Spiritual Director and Fr. Antonio Ibay, as the Economous or the present day Procurator. These three priests also served as the first teachers of the seminarians even when it started in Guagua.

The initial number of the seminarians was thirty-eight. It exceeded to the expected number of applicants only of about five to six seminarians. This is what they thought of them as initiated by Bishop Ma. Guerrero. That is why, these fell short of preparations. The rector had to run over the diocese begging for funds to complete the work. The situation was not rally favorable to the seminarians. They only had two toilets for the thirty eight of them and just a single faucet to wash their faces every morning.

The curriculum that was followed was the classical secondary course of San Jose Seminary. It consisted of the following: Latin, (morning and afternoon) Math, English and History.

Years in Apalit (1952-1962). In 1951, the seminary had to be transferred to Apalit. Such was the transfer because of the obvious inadequacies of the seminary in Guagua.

In Apalit, much like in Guagua there were still no lay teachers because of lack of funds. The formators had to contend themselves with a P50.00 a month salary. This is also the reason why the priests also acted as the teachers of the seminarians. No one could really make both ends meet with the kind of salary.

The choice of teachers or professors was also the main problem of the seminary then, because Bishop Ma. Guerrero assigned every newly ordained priests to teach the seminarians. This was a problem because none of the newly ordained priests was prepared to teach and they did not want to teach in the seminary. Some who had schedules to teach even preferred to go out for picnic rather than teach.

The formerly three formators now became five. The three were joined by Fr. Domingo Guilas and Fr. Greg Torres.

The first to fourth year classes was not completed right away. It was only completed when some applicants entered the seminary after finishing their first year, or second year, or third year outside. In 1956, the first year to fourth year class was completed. The seminary was not recognized by the government during this time. The enrollees never exceeded 70 in Apalit for they had to contend with the space.

The academic training of the seminarians in Apalit was much similar with that in Guagua. However, other subjects had to be added and integrated because there was an increase in the number of classes. During those times, the seminarians wore a formal uniform consisting of a black cassock and a blue sash which they wore upon the Bishop’s request.

The Mother of Good Counsel Seminary in San Fernando, Pampanga (1962-present). Not too long after the Mater Boni Consilii Seminary was born in Guagua, it had to have a change of location for it have a better environment, a bigger and more convenient location. Apalit was chosen to be the next location for the seedbed of vocations for the priesthood. But the seminary grew better and bigger. More vocations are cared for and more and more young boys peep into the world of seminary life. And again, a new location has to be found. For the second time, the seminary has to be transferred and this time it has to be for good and it has to be in San Fernando. The site in San Fernando is still the present site of what is now the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary.

In 1964, after 14 years and two locations, the MGCS in San Fernando was built. It is located within a vast property owned still then by the Diocese of San Fernando. It is now located in what is now the Unisite Subdivision in Del Pilar, San Fernando, Pampanga. It formerly occupies a 10 hectare lot. When the Most Rev. Emilio Cinense decide to put up the Assumption College of Pampanga, the two institutions divided the land equally. At present, the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary stands bounded by the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady Remedies on the West and University of the Assumption on the South.

The Mother of Good Counsel Seminary in its San Fernando site was primarily comprised of one 3 story administrative building which houses the priests and the offices; one 4 story building with a roof garden. It houses the classrooms, dormitories and sturdy halls. It was blessed by the Most Rev. Carlo Martini on July 4, 1961 and was named St. Aloysius Gonzaga Hall in honor of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron saint of the youth. A one story refectory added to the structures. A main Chapel was built in between the administration building and the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Hall. Thus making it a link between the two edifices. Under the chapel is an auditorium.

At this point in time the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary is comprised not only of the Minor Seminary but also the Major Seminary. Aside from the edifices stated before, the seminary now has the Theology and Philosophy building in between of which is the Theology-Philosophy Library. It is now comprised of four departments. The Minor Seminary, the Pre-College Formation Year Department, the Philosophy Department and the Theology Department.

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