Sulpicians in Colombia
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From October 5 to 20, 2013, Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, pss, Superior General of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice, conducted canonical and fraternal visits to three institutions in Colombia, South America, where Sulpicians are engaged in ministry.
The first visit was made to Casa Sulpiciana (Casa Sacerdotal de San Sulpicio), a house in the northern part of the city of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. Six Sulpicians reside in the house, which serves as a residence for retired Sulpicians from South America, a house of hospitality for Sulpicians passing through the area, and the site of the Latin American Delegation of the Society of Saint Sulpice.
In addition, Casa Sulpiciana serves as a residence for numerous priest students from all over Latin America who are attending classes at ITEPAL (Instituto Teológico Pastoral para América Latina), which is within walking distance of the house. ITEPAL is a program created by CELAM (Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano) for the education of Latin Americans in theology and pastoral studies.
The second visit was a short fraternal visit to Seminario Mayor San José de Zipaquirá, where a Sulpician, José María Cstro, pss, serves as Rector. The seminary, which runs according to Sulpician pedagogy, has 50 seminarians in both philosophy and theology, all of whom are studying for the Diocese of Zipaquirá. Several Sulpicians from the Canadian Province hail from this diocese, which is adjacent to the Archdiocese of Bogotá.
The final week of the visit was spent at the Seminario Mayor San José de Cúcuta in Cúcuta, a city in the northern part of Colombia, on the border with Venezuela. Two Sulpicians and an aspirant for the Society of Saint Sulpice serve on the faculty of the seminary, which this year has 51 seminarians. The Rector is Sulpician Father José Abel SIERRA, pss, and he is accompanied by Father Francisco Javier VERGARA, pss, and an aspirant, Father Luis Alfonso PARDO HERRERA.
The overall impression from these visits was very positive. The local bishops expressed gratitude for the presence of Sulpicians in priestly formation in their dioceses. These visits also provide vibrant testimony to the ongoing active ministry of Saint Sulpice in Latin America.