Rector’s Speech

Inaugural Speech 2013 – 2014

(Rev. Aleixo Menezes)

Your Grace, Archbishop-Patriarch Filipe Neri Ferrao, Reverend Fathers, Respected Sisters, my beloved collaborators here in the Seminary, my dear parents of our seminarians, my beloved seminarians and my dear benefactors and friends.

 As I stand to deliver my first speech as the Rector of the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, and as I begin this inaugural address, my sentiments of welcome and gratitude go to His Grace, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao. When I was a professor in this Seminary and while I was engaged in other ministries in our Archdiocese, I have always experienced the fatherly concern and brotherly guidance of our Archbishop; and I remain assured of the same support for him as I take over as the Rector of this Seminary. Archbishop, a warm welcome to You!

 I am pleased to welcome 3 new collaborators or staff members of this Seminary:

Rev. Dr. Nelson Sequeira, was a staff member of this seminary some years back. After serving as the Chancellor of our Archdiocese and after successfully and brilliantly completing his doctorate in Canon Law in Rome, we are pleased to welcome him amidst us and we congratulate him for the success in his doctoral studies.

Rev. Fr. Noel D’Costa, was a seminarian of this seminary. After having successfully acquiring the Degree in Masters in Philosophy, we are pleased to welcome him as a staff member of our Seminary.

Rev. Fr. Simon D’Costa, was also a seminarian of this seminary. After serving as an Assistant to the Parish Priest in the Parish of Cuncolim, we welcome him into our Seminary Community.

 I am also pleased to welcome new members of the Staff as Visiting Professors: Rev. Fr. Bernardo Cota for Music; Rev. Fr. Justin Sequeira sss for Liturgy; Rev. Fr. Mariano D’Costa for Scripture; Fr. Dolreich Pereira for Philosophy; Rev. Dr. John Peter for Philosophy.

I am indeed happy to welcome Seven New Members to our Seminary Community. Having completed their Orientation Year at the Saligao Seminary, the Archbishop has accepted their willingness to continue their formation to priesthood. For the first time, they have worn the cassock today. We congratulate them and while welcoming them to our Seminary community, we hope that the Seminary way of life will make them feel at home.

I also welcome the parents of our seminarians and especially the parents of the newly joined seminarians. Your continuous support and prayers in nurturing the vocation of your sons is appreciated with sincere gratitude.

And you my beloved seminarians. You do not require a welcome because this is your home, from where you had gone away for a short period of holidays. Nevertheless, I welcome you back to your “alma mater”, especially the seminarians who were doing their Regency.

I also welcome …………………….

Dear Friends, the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol is the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. Hence, the pastoral plans and orientations of the Church in Goa form an integral part of the Seminary formation and life, which comprises of four dimensions: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. As the pastoral year 2013-2014 is dedicated to Small Christian Communities in our Archdiocese with the theme “Lhan Kristi Somudai: Priti-Sevechea Ekcharan Bhavartak Govai”, we too have chosen a theme for our Seminary formative year, “Priti-Sevecho Somudai, Bhavartacho Govai” (Faith Witnessing Community in Service and Charity”; and accordingly a logo has been designed.

The Seminary theme and the logo tries to highlight that the Seminary is a communion of communities, which is nourished by the Word of God in order to grow and give witness to faith, by means of serving love. Undoubtedly, the Seminary is a communion of communities made up of 10 small communities: seven communities of seminarians year-wise; one community of regents; one community of the formators; and one community of the working staff. Each community tries to build within itself the spirit of communion so that the Seminary community grows and strengthens in love and fellowship. The individual communities as well the Seminary community as a whole is constantly nourished by the Word of God and is strengthened in faith by means of the various spiritual, liturgical, religious practices; besides the theological and the philosophical studies also have the same objective and goal: growth in Christian faith and life. The witness to this faith is manifested through the various acts of charity and service within and outside the Seminary community. We hope and pray that the First All India Convention on Small Christian Communities will give an impetus to all of us priests, religious, seminarians, and the lay faithful in order to become a Church of Communion.

Since this is an inaugural speech, I have the obligation to share with you all some information about the Seminary Community and Life:

Firstly, the Seminary community consists of 12 Staff members; 20 Visiting Professors; and 88 Seminarians i.e. 56 resident seminarians (25 for Theology Course; 31 for Philosophy Course of which 25 for IGNOU); 19 Regents; and 6 seminarians doing studies either at JDV, Pune or Pius College, Mumbai; or Goa University, Bambolim. In June this year, 32 seminarians have appeared for the BA exams conducted by IGNOU.

I feel proud to announce that from amongst the seminarians doing their graduation at the St. Xavier’s College Mapusa, 2013, Sem. Joephil Dias and Jeffrey Viegas have attained the highest rank in the Goa University in B.Sc faculty of Microbiology and Chemistry respectively. While Snyter Pereira has stood first in Sociology in the St. Xavier’s College, four other seminarians have passed with distinctions for BA.

Secondly, I wish to place it on record the services rendered by five of our staff members, who have been transferred from the seminary. We are indeed grateful to them for all that they have been and for all that they have done for our Seminary community:

Fr. Dennis Fernandes for being a Professor and Rector. He has been transferred to the Diocesan Catechetical Centre as its Director.

Fr. Candido Fernandes for being a Professor and In-Charge of Liturgy. He is appointed Parish Priest at Varca.

Fr. Mario Costa for being Prefect of the Philosophy Course, Professor of Music, and especially for the great help that he gave to develop agriculture in the seminary and imbibe farming interest in our seminarians. He is appointed Assistant to the Parish Priest of Se, Old Goa.

Fr. Agnelo Pinheiro for being a Professor and In-charge of Inter-Religious Dialogue. He is gone to Rome to do his doctoral studies in Philosophy.

Fr. Romeo Monteiro for being Professor and especially for elevating the standard of music and orchestra in the Seminary. He too will be proceeding to Rome for his doctoral studies in Canon Law.

Thirdly, the Seminary tries to inculcate an overall formation to the seminarians. Besides the conventional human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation that was being in the seminary, the seminarians are encouraged to do manual and agricultural-garden work; to make artistic wax-candles; look after the cleanliness of the house; etc.

Fourthly, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all the benefactors and well-wishers of the Seminary, whose love and concern can never be forgotten or repaid.

The inaugural function is traditionally graced by the Lectio Brevis, which will be presented today by Rev. Dr. Victor Ferrão. It would be an aberration to introduce him because he is a personality well known on Goan, Indian and International intellectual fora. The topic of his Lectio Brevis is The Other Orientalism and the Challenge and Opportunities for the Church  in Goa.

Oreintalism is understood as an exposure of how the West constructed its supremacy and justified its domination and colonization of the East. It gave birth to what has been called as post-colonial studies, which demonstrate how we Indians have cultivated and exoticized a Europe of our Imaginations. Most of work on Oreintalism has been concentrated on the Anglo-Germanic Orientalism, which saw and constructed the picture of India. Besides this main stream Orientalists, there are other Orientalists like the French, Dutch or the Italians. Significantly, Portuguese Orientalism of Goa and India has remained forgotten among the scholars. Hence, this paper attempts to study the Portuguese construction of the East. It strives to manifest how in the garb of Hindu nationalism, a British Orientalism is being exchanged with the Portuguese Orientalism by the Hindus and the Christians in Goa today. The study reveals how Hinduism as it is known to us today is not ahistorical and timeless but is a product of history. The study attempts to show how Hinduism is a young phenomena in Goa, which has evolved from various fragments  like Vaishnavism,  Shaivism, Shaktism, Sateri-Betal Cult etc.  Hence, the research in this presentation aims to reveal that Christians of Goa have not come from Hinduism of today but the pre-Hindu cults and religions that today have unified into a single monolithic religion. This also means that the narrative of the destruction of the Hindu temples is not fully correct. Fr. Victor concludes with the plea to free our minds from the captivity of ‘hindu-ology’ as well as explore the challenges and opportunities posed by the Other Orientalism to our faith.

In the name of all present here, I congratulate Fr. Victor Ferrao and wish him a pleasant presentation of his Lectio Brevis. I wish you all a pleasant listening.

Dear friends, I excuse myself for this lengthy inaugural address. However, before I conclude, I thank my colleagues and seminarians for putting our hearts and hands together to make this inaugural function a joyful celebration.  Once again, a warm welcome and sincere thanks to one and all. May God bless Rachol Seminary and us all.