We have much to be thankful for. In 1943, thanks to the vision and tenacity of many, and under the guidance of Count Finbar Ryan, the Seminary of St John Vianney & Uganda Martyrs was started.
Three different popes asked for a seminary to be established in Trinidad, commencing with Pope Benedict XV (1914–1922) pontificate. The odds were against the seminary from the very beginning.
Today however, the Seminary celebrates its 80th anniversary. Despite all the odds and by God’s grace, 80 years later, the Seminary is still forming priests for the people of God.
Most of our local bishops have been educated in this Seminary. Its legacy has touched many dioceses throughout the Caribbean.
Count Finbar Ryan believed that there was a community ready to form priests in Trinidad and stated that in whatever small way it must be started. His words ring true today: “God wills it so”.
We are witnesses to this Will of God in the formation of the many priests and religious who come from throughout the Caribbean and Africa to be educated at the Seminary of John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs.
The priesthood must be seen as initiating the whole people of God into a mystical love and holy covenant of God.
The first call of a seminarian is to accompany Jesus. Seminarians offer themselves first to God and then to the people of God. Their call is one of companionship and mission.
They are called to be the epicentre of grace in Jesus Christ. They are meant to edify His Church. Everyone who comes to the Seminary comes to a place of nurturing, discerning, clarifying their vocation. They give themselves to God in accompanying Jesus which has a major rippling effect throughout the Church for the next generation.
Seminarians are called to a different priesthood, a different formation, a different way of seeing the whole Christian tradition. The ministers of the Church are not to be lords and masters of anybody but to understand their role to be facilitators, to be able to empower the people of God so that gifts are unleashed in everything that Christ asks of His Church.
The Church must be a place of companionship and mission, a place of caring for each other, where we pray, preach, and live the gospel of Jesus together. Our priests and religious guide us in understanding the mission of Christ.
As Count Finbar Ryan stated the sacred priesthood is meant to sanctify homes of the people of God where the Christian family lives and thrives.
To be able to continue the work of educating young men to belong to the sacred priesthood, will you accompany us?
We are called to provide continued support so that Christ’s mission is accomplished not only here in Trinidad and Tobago but also throughout the wider Caribbean. Then the world would be a much better place.
Thank you for your continued support.
(Excerpts from 80th anniversary Mass of the Seminary)