Young people attracted by the Gospel and eager to discover their vocation to the priesthood have a place that will accompany their human and spiritual growth. In the southern Kalimantan Province of Indonesian Borneo, the diocese of Banjarmasin has just opened the new “St. Peter” minor seminary. The idea of equipping the diocese with such an institute came already after the ad limina visit by the Indonesian Bishops in July 2011. As Agenzia Fides reported, after having overcome various organizational and financial difficulties, the Bishop of Banjarmasin Mgr. Petrus Boddeng Timang officially inaugurated the new minor Seminary, temporarily housed in a diocesan pastoral building, which already hosts 7 seminarians.
As reported to Agenzia Fides, the inauguration ceremony, which took place during the feast of St. John Maria Vianney, on 4 August, was broadcast through the web channels in live streaming, given the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Bishop Petrus Boddeng Timang “the hope is to increase vocations to the priestly life and make up for the shortage of priests”. “We have only 7 diocesan priests”, reports to Fides Father Simon Edy Kabul Teguh Santosa, Dean of the new minor Seminary, in a diocese, that of Banjarmasin, which covers the entire territory of the province of southern Kalimantan and where, out of a population of over 4 million inhabitants, Catholics are 15,400.
Father Santosa reports: “We finally have a minor Seminary after 24 years of absence”. St. Peter was chosen as the “Patron” of the institute “because Peter is a good model for the path of following Christ”, he remarked.
Speaking with Fides, Father Joseph Kristanto Suratman of the Commission for Seminaries within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia explains that in the current 37 Indonesian dioceses, there are 40 minor Seminaries, 13 Seminaries for spiritual formation, 14 major Seminaries.
According to the priestly educational system adopted, in the minor seminary, the boys spend 3-4 years of education, in correspondence with middle schools. Subsequently, a year is spent in the diocesan spiritual Seminary, for discernment or a year of novitiate, for those who belong to religious congregations. The next step is the Major Seminary, where seminarians continue their philosophical-theological studies for 7 years. Continuing the journey, there is a year of “diaconate” and finally the priestly consecration.