Thursday, March 01, 2007

Divine Word College of Urdaneta celebrates 40 years

Present at the 40th anniversary of DWCU
from left: Mr. Roque Acluba (former seminarian); Mrs. Fatima Ambrosio (former Chemistry teacher); Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD (former prefect); Fr. Rodel Abanto, SVD (former regent); Ambol (alumna); Cathy de Guzman (alumna); Mimi David (alumna);
Fr. Chito Lorenzo, SVD (former regent).
All roads led to Urdaneta last Feb 23-24 (Frid-Sat). The SVD College there was celebrating its one generation of existence. A number of former seminarians of the Divine Word Formation Center came for an alumni homecoming to honor and thank this institution. Former regents, rectors, and presidents were also there.

Out of around 300 graduates of the seminary (both in highschool and the two year college), 36 were ordained priests, something like a priest per year. That's a good "harvest".
On exhibit: SVD Ordinations' invitations.

Here's a brief history of the school and the seminary written by Fr. Bernard Teneza, SVD, the present rector and Fr. Joe Pareja, SVD, the school chaplain and spiritual director of the seminarians.

Brief History of Divine Word Formation Center of Urdaneta

Need of an SVD Seminary in the North
The idea of opening a Minor Seminary in Pangasinan was thoroughly discussed at the Provincial Chapter held in January 1963. A resolution was passed to open a Minor Seminary in or near Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Fr. Augustine Herbers was charged with the care for the project. One day Fr. Castillo, parish priest of San Manuel, Tarlac, heard the plans of opening an SVD Seminary in his hometown in Urdaneta. He suggested to his aunt, Dona Loling Sison and his Uncle Don Manuel Sison to offer a property in Bayaoas. The negotiations however, dragged on when other lots in San Manuel, Tarlac, and Barangay Pinmaludpod in Urdaneta were offered. Dona Loling, who had a sincere desire to have a seminary opened in Urdaneta, died in the course of the negotiations. It was only after Fr. Superior General himself had visited the final two lots in question that a definite decision was reached. He decided in favor of the Sison property in Barrio Bayaoas.

The lot held several advantages over the other lot; it is close to the highway crossing of the national highway leading to the North and West - East road Lingayen-Dagupan and Eastern Pangasinan. Nevertheless, is at the same time secluded and quiet enough for a Seminary. It was as this moment that Father Superior General decided to connect the Seminary with the High School and College. The area of the Campus is 6.5 hectares and has direct access to the Asingan road.

Some alumni share the joy of DWFU
at the back is the school chapel
from left: Fr. Elmer Flores, SVD, Fr. Robert Ibay, SVD, Mr. Jake Calatrava; Fr. Bernard Teneza, SVD (the present rector), Mrs. Calatrava (Jake's wife and alumna); standing at the back: Fr. Vhen Yator, SVD (former regent); Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD (former spiritual director)

After the decision was reached, negotiations moved fast. The Deed of Sale was signed July 28, 1964. Since no funds for the building were available, Fr. Herbers went to Germany to arouse interest for this project and raise the necessary funds. He returned in January 1966. After an over-all development plan and detailed building plans were drawn up and approved by the Generalate, the construction begun in March 1966. The construction was supervised by the architectural office headed by Bro. Joseph, Alfred Hueger and the two architechs Messrs. Esting Calma and Lito Reyes. Archbishop Mariano Madriaga, the archbishop of Lingayen – Dagupan, blessed the corerstone on March 20, 1966 in the presence of Fr. Provincial George Heinemann and secular priests of Urdaneta.
Bishop A. Rillera, SVD (of San Fernando, La Union), former rector of DWFU was the main celebrant of the 4oth anniversary.

The building is a functional structure for school purposes. It has a total length of 98 m. and three storeys, while the tower in front has been elevated for four storeys to accommodate two visitors’ rooms and the water tank. The axis of the building runs from East to West to minimize the exposure to direct sunshine. The classrooms have a standards size 7 x 9 m. and are furthermore protected from heat by three-meter wide corridors. A unique feature of the building is the ramp that leads to the upper floors. People like to joke and say that the students can ride in a tricycle right up to the door of their classrooms in the second and third floor. The floor of the corridors and the ramp have a black pebble wash-out to prevent slipping and noise. For the time being the seminary is housed in the third floor where two and a half classrooms serve as temporary chapel. The furniture in the classrooms was made by the Arnoldus Carpentry Shop under the able direction of Brother Richard Huette. An 8" deep well has been drilled to a depth of 400 feet. The well became artesian. It delivers 30 gallons per minute day and night. Since not all the water is used, it is envisioned to build a swimming pool and let the overflow of the artesian well feed and renew the water of the pool. Three basketball courts have been cemented in front of the building to give the students and the youth of Urdaneta good and easy sports facilities.
The friendship game between former seminarians and SVDs won by the former.

Formation as Priority
According to Fr. Herbers, much goes into the formation of good and educated Catholics and more even into the formation of a good priests and Religious. The new SVD building is a proof that we shall spare no efforts or means to give our Seminarians and students the best we can afford. We are deeply indebted to our many friends and benefactors in Germany and the Philippines. God bless the house for "in vain is the builder’s toil, if the house is not of the Lord’s building" (Psalm 127:1).
Some concelebrants include (from left): Fr. Abet Viernes (alumnus); Fr. Rodel Abanto, SVD (former regent); Fr. Teddy Abas, SVD (former regent); Fr. Raki Aquino, SVD (alumnus); at the back are students of DWC.

For the list of seminarians from 1968-2007, please click on this.

For the list of formators, click on this.

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