Guadalajara (Fides Service) - With a solemn Mass on 11 January to mark the 50th anniversary of their Minor Seminary for Missions in Guadalajara, the Missionaries of Guadalupe started a year rich in important anniversaries for their missionary activity. Fr. Antonio Camacho Muñoz, communications officer for the Missionaries of Guadalupe said the Seminary was opened on 11 January 1956 with the help of a local family in Guadalajara who gave the land on which the seminary was to be built to promote missionary vocations and provide boys with the integral formation necessary for the specific charisma of the Society. “Many of our missionaries working in different countries today were educated at this seminary " said Fr. Antonio.
In his homily during the solemn Mass on January 11 to commemorate the event Fr. Juan José A. Luna, Superior General of the Missionaries of Guadalupe recalled the goals of the minor seminary, the challenges it faces and the necessity of integral formation, underlining the importance of spiritual formation as the basis of the formation of future missionaries. At the end of the Mass there was the unveiling of a bust of Mgr Alonso Manuel Escalante (1906-1967), first rector of the seminary and Superior general of the new Institute who was also national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies Propagation of the Faith and St Peter Apostle. On the same occasion there was the opening of a Mission Museum on the work of evangelisation with exhibits of local crafts.
The next day 12 January the Institute started its regular three yearly Chapter meeting 12 -25 January to take stock of the last three years of activity and identify challenges to face in order to respond better to the missionary vocation and draft a ‘Activity Plan for the Missionaries of Guadalupe’ at the beginning of a year filled with events, hopes and plans. This year the missionaries also celebrate the centenary of the birth of Mgr Alonso Manuel Escalante, to whom in 1949 the Mexican Bishops entrusted the project “Mexican Seminary for Foreign Missions”, which was the origin of Missionaries of Guadalupe. This year will also mark 50 years of mission in Japan where Mgr Escalante sent the first three Missionaries of Guadalupe, and the 30th anniversary of the Inter-Continental University which helped the missionaries prepare adequately for mission ad gentes. Lastly January 2006 marks 25 years since the first Missionaries of Guadalupe arrived in Angola, to take care of the major seminary in Luanda.
The Institute of Santa Maria de Guadalupe for Foreign Missions was founded by the Bishops of Mexico in 1949 and is supported by them. It is an autonomous Society Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Pope Pius XII approved its constitutions. Today it has just over 200 members. Its charisma is evangelisation of non-Christians and particularly promoting the formation of agents of evangelisation: clergy, religious and laity. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 16/1/2006 - righe 38, parole 521)