Saturday October 1 was a day of festivities at the Toronto Oratory. The Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič blessed the new Seminary building, which took place at 12.30 pm before a large and enthusiastic crowd on Dunn Avenue.
The blessing was preceded by an outdoor reception for benefactors and other guests, and followed by a mass, celebrated by the Nuncio, at which Bishop Gerard Bergie of St Catharines preached and offered St Therese of Lisieux as a model for seminarians’ spirituality.
This important and memorable day concluded with a second reception for parishioners and friends in the Oratory and Seminary gardens.
The Need for the new Building
St Philip’s Seminary goal is to form seminarians for the Church who have developed ways of understanding and articulating the faith, drawing upon a wide range of the intellectual and cultural resources available to the Catholic tradition. Courses based in the classical Christian synthesis of Aquinas are complemented by explorations of the history of philosophy, literary studies, the philosophical background to twentieth century Catholic theology and by seminars examining specific texts and topics in greater depth. Besides intellectual formation the seminarians also receive spiritual and human formation—through retreats, regular conferences and spiritual direction, their involvement in parish work at Holy Family Church and, more widely, the personal relationships built up by daily familiar interaction both within the Oratorian Community and with parishoner.
The seminarians are not just from Toronto but from dioceses all over Ontario and from further afield in Canada, from Dioceses and religious congregations in the US and throughout the world, as well as students from other Oratorian communities in America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. Over the last thirty years, more than 530 students have passed though our classrooms, and 190 have been ordained to the priesthood. Fees for studying at St Philip’s are kept deliberately low, so that in effect every student attends on scholarship.
The new building providea enhanced space for living and working. In particular it will provide the following key facilities:
16 bedrooms, replacing the present 6
2 purpose-built classrooms
Most of the work took place slowly in the year 2020 and 2021 with the multiple delays due to the pandemic but by the grace of God and generous donations of parishoners of both Holy Family Parish and St Vincent de Paul Parish and many other donors, it was completed without too much delays or over budgets.
Saint Philip’s Seminary is an apostolate of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, a Catholic society of apostolic life. It has been authorized to grant degrees by the province of Ontario. It accepts students for the priesthood who are sponsored by their diocese or by their religious order.
The Philosophy Division of Saint Philip’s Seminary was founded in 1986. Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter requested to provide a place for the philosophical preparation of seminarians for the Archdiocese of Toronto, especially those in residence at Serra House, the archdiocesan house of discernment. In the fall of 1988, a residential program providing intellectual training, spiritual and personal formation was made available to seminarians from Dioceses and Religious Communities. In 2007, a three-year course of studies with an expanded set of degrees was provided at the request of the Archdiocese of Toronto and St. Augustine’s Seminary. The Congregation for Education in January 2011 instituted the three-year course of philosophical studies as the norm for seminarians.
The seminary has trained men for Roman Catholic priesthood and provided continuing education courses for adults in matters relating to the Roman Catholic faith since its inception. However, the Ontario legislature officially recognized the seminary as a degree-granting institution through the passage “An Act respecting The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, 1990”
– Raju Hasmukh