Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TheTraining of Filipino clergy in the Episcopal Church: A History of SATS

The main altar of St Andrews Seminary Chapel from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_Andrew%27s_Seminary_Chapel_%28altar%29.jpg
The Rt Rev Edward P Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Philippines has an interesting essay on the history of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines on the history of St Andrew's Theological Seminary (SATS). You can read it in the 3rd quarter of the ECP online newsletter the "Episcopalian" The question in a missionary endevour is when do we train an indigenous clergy?

This is the same question that faced the Roman Catholic friar missionaries at the onset of Spanish colonization in 1571. The King of Spain wanted native clergy but the friars were hesitant citing their experience in Mexico. So it took more than a hundred years before Filipino priests were ordained. The first priests were ordained in the early 1700s. The PECUSA mission considered training Filipino clergy as early as 1909 buts as Bp Malecdan writes "this was not one of the district missions and goals". ebven Bp Brent was not enthusiastic to the idea noting that Filipinos will have to learn much in governance. Brent also thought that resistance to American rule was latent and that the training of Filipino clergy held in abeyance.

As such the first deacons were ordained only in 1938. This proved a blessing for the church since with the Japanese occupation, all American clergy were interned. One of the deacons became the first Filipino bishop Rt Rev Edward Longid, who is the granddad of my dear friend Conyap Longid.
Rev Longid kept the faith alive by regularly conducting services at St Mary in Sagada. SATS seminary program of formation was monastic.

The rest of the postwar story is interesting to read especially when the ECP main seminary also trained seminarians of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). There are more IFI clergy trained in the ECP seminary than ECP clergy.

Today, SATS faces the same problems faced by the Catholic seminaries. Vocations are decreasing as the Philippines becomes more secular. Also for those who have the vocation, they don't have the money to pay for the fees. There is a need for contributions, especially for scholarships.

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