Seminarians of Pius XII Minor Seminary on Catholic-majority Flores island participate in an event at the seminary. (Photo supplied)
The alumni of Pius XII Minor Seminary on Indonesia's Flores island marked the school's 65th anniversary on Sept. 8 by holding a fundraising campaign to support the seminary where hundreds of clergymen, including five bishops, have studied.
The event, coordinated by the alumni’s Lando Sanpio Foundation, collected more than 50 million rupiah (US$3,376).
Yohanes Yosef Nembo, the foundation’s treasurer, said the initiative was part of an effort to help the school that was founded by a Dutch missionary, Divine Word Father Leo Perik, in 1955.
"Now is the time for us to take part in the effort to help develop the seminary. If in the past we depended and lived from donations from abroad, including Europe, this is the time for us to move on our own,” he said.
Nembo said he was proud because those involved were from various generations including younger people. "We don't look at numbers but about commitment to participate," he told UCA News.
He said the money collected was combined with funds collected since last year, taking the total to more than 780 million rupiah ($52,679).
The funds, he said, would be used to help the operational costs at the seminary, including renovation of old buildings, and to support teachers who had served in the seminary for a long time.
"In July, we sent 200 million rupiah, of which 100 million went to the seminary and 100 million was given to 10 active and retired teachers who have worked for more than 10 years in the seminary," Nembo said.
He said the foundation is planning other efforts to raise funds.
Father Dyonisius Osharjo, the seminary’s rector, said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic no big anniversary celebration was held this year, unlike in previous years.
However, he said, they were happy that the alumni had shown concern for the seminary.
"This movement is the fruit of one of the values that are emphasized in the seminary, namely solidarity," he told UCA News.
The seminary, which is under Ruteng Diocese, is listed as the best school in East Nusa Tenggara province. It educates 412 junior high school students and 171 high school students, of whom 60 percent are from farming families.
Since 1955, the school has produced 4,989 alumni, of whom 253 are priests working around the world and five are bishops.
The seminary’s alumni work in various fields including media and politics. They include members of parliament, and one of them is the minister of communication and information, Johnny G. Plate, the only Catholic minister in the cabinet.