After more than a year of building works, the Pieter van Diepen Minor Seminary in
Papua, is now fully operating. It is located at Aimas, a rural area thirty kilometres from the
Sorong. This minor seminary is named in honour of the Augustinian who was the first bishop of Manokwari-Sorong between 1966 and 1988, Pieter van Diepen O.S.A., who died in retirement in
Holland in April 2005.
This diocesan-owned minor seminary is administered by the Order of
Saint Augustine. Its resident director is an Augustinian, who is the regional superior of the Augustinian Delegation of Papua. At the minor seminary he is assisted by a diocesan priest, a religious of the Augustinian Sisters of God’s Mercy, and teaching staff.
In September 2006 the enrolment comprises thirty boys in the second year of junior high school, and eighty boys in first year. All of them reside in an asrama (“hostel”) on the property. Many come from remote villages, and would not otherwise receive a secondary education.
As well, twenty-two external students from Aimas have also enrolled at the minor seminary, which is the only secondary school in the area. All of these local students live at home. Most of them are female. The minor seminary will expand to 250 pupils by the year 2010.
Also on the large property at Aimas is Biara Tolentino, an adult catechetical and ministry preparation program for lay pastoral workers. It is sponsored by the Augustinian Order and the five dioceses within Papua. The Augustinian regional superior is also director of this program.
Among the twenty-five men and women in this year-long full-time residential program, there are eleven postulants who hope to begin their Augustinian novitiate in Sorong in August 2007.
The Delegation of Papua now locally has seven novices at Biara Tagaste in Sorong and nineteen students in simple profession at Biara Kasiciacum in Jayapura.
Images (at right):
Picture 1: The minor seminary nearing completion in 2005.
Picture 2: The Augustinian director and some students.
Picture 3: The Augustinian director.
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