John Paul Seminary, Mondragon, Northern Samar


Sant Claire - Patron Saint of TV

I went for a walk along Alma and White Beach with a former seminarian, John Paul Sumook.

After going some way further than White Beach we headed back to the main Catarman - Laoang road. We found ourselves close to the entrance of the John Paul Seminary, so decided to visit it.

I could not find any information on the Seminary on the WWW so the following history is from "Burabod '09. The Official Publication of John Paul Seminary House of Formation".

John Paul emailed copies of two pages to me, and I hope that it is acceptable to reproduce the contents:-

"John Paul Seminary traces its humble beginnings to barely three months after the erection of the Diocese of Catarman; the Presbyterium of the fledgling diocese felt the need to create a minor seminary.

Constrained for lack of funds, its first residential bishop, Angel T. Hobayan, broached his idea of setting up, for the moment, even only a formation house which would accept third or fourth year high school students and prepare these young men for formal college seminary training.

The formation house opened a year later with Fr. Romeo Infante (now Msgr. Infante) as the first Rector. Without a building of their own, the first batch of aspirants had to share space with the Bishop in his residence at Brgy. Cawayan, Catarman. Meanwhile, the new formation house and chapel were under construction.

The next rector, Fr. Balerite, (now Msgr. Balerite) suggested to the Bishop that the new building be named John Paul in honor of the then pope, John Paul II and his predecessor, John Paul I. The then Apostolic Nuncio, Bruno Torpigliani, blessed the modest structure on March 11, 1980, the fifth anniversary of the Diocese.

Entrance to John Paul Seminary


  Since 1991, the seminary has begun accepting young men from the other two Samar dioceses (Borongan and Calbayog), as was agreed upon by Samar bishops. The highest recorded enrollment was in school year 1994-1995 with fifty-four seminarians. The Diocese of Catarman alone averages 7-10 aspirants annually; the number steadily increasing as years go by.    

During breaks in their year-long formation, the seminarians are sent to help out in the pastoral work. This too is designed to provide a holistic formation of the seminarians. In turn, their presence in the communities has helped develop awareness and involvement among our people who are traditionally passive about the formation of future priests.

On September 27, 1992, a new imposing edifice atop the hill of Sitio Alisyao in Mondragon, Northern Samar, was blessed and inaugurated by no less than the Metropolitan of the Achdiocese of Palo, Archbishop Pedro R. Dean, and the Bishops of the suffragan dioceses. Maximiano Cruz of Calbayog, Leonardo Medroso of Borongan, Felomino Bactol of Naval, and Angel Hobayan of Catarman. Due to the erection of house of formation in the diocese of Borongan approximately at the start of the year 2000, JPS now only caters aspirants coming from its own diocese, Catarman and its neighboring diocese, Calbayog.

Several years have passed since its erection as an ecclesiastically recognized institution, it has already produced a number of priests who at present are actively executing their ministries in the three dioceses of Samar and are filed with vigor to perpetuate the vocation they have initially responded to and honed at the house of Formation.

(Excerpts from North of Samar Island 400 Years of Christianization Commemorative Book)"


Utility building at start of road to the John Paul Seminary.

Old age home? By start of access road to J.P. Seminary
Gazebo at J.P. Seminary from access road
Side view of J.P. House of Formation from access road
Buidlings at the J.P. Seminary viewed from the access road
Drying rice at the J.P.Seminary
Gagebo in front of Main building at J.P.Seminary
Statue of Pope John Paul at the John Paul Seminary, Mondragon, Northern Samar