As Christians, all are called to holiness wherever one might be. In our case, we happen to be ordained ministers sent to Rome for further studies (immediately or some years after our Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Master’s in Theology, and perhaps some other academic degrees). For this reason, Priests come to the Collegio not simply to earn another degree, but to be holy by trying to live their priestly vocation while carrying out the ministry of scientific reflection on our faith.
An intense spiritual life is indispensable for any Christian striving to be holy. Our common prayers consist of daily Masses with Lauds in the morning, and in the evenings, the Holy Rosary followed by Vespers, as well as the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wednesdays and the Holy Hour on Thursdays. When unable to join the community for prayers, each one prays on his own according to his schedule, as he does for the other parts of the Breviary and personal devotions. We also have a monthly recollection and an annual retreat. To further help him in his vocation, each priest wherever he is assigned is to have a regular spiritual director as well as a confessor. Membership in priestly associations focusing on personal growth is highly encouraged by the Church.
Everyday our priests commute to the Pontifical Universities to attend classes, though during the pandemic, online lessons have become more common. Most of these universities are at the Rome city center, or 20 to 40 minutes away by subway, including a 10-20 minute walk. They take down notes, do readings in different languages, write papers, have quizzes and semestral exams, and a final comprehensive exam, just like in most other universities worldwide, only that they do so in Italian and other major languages.
On weekends and loger breaks (Christmas, Holy Week and Easter week, and summers), they minister to our FIlipinos in diaspora or in local parishes all over Rome and Italy, other European countries, US and Canada.
Collegio is not an apartment facility for students for each to live life on his own. Rather, among the necessary expressions of the priestly vocation is sacramental brotherhood. Our activities for the whole community or in small groups include prayers, sports, meals, pilgrimages and excursions. But priestly fraternity is also expressed in interpersonal ways, one on one, for example in spiritual direction, confession, sorting out school or government requirements, reviewing, fixing the computer and so on. Since they are open to all, these personal interactions, rather than being exclusive, would bring each one closer to the larger community as well.
The building has 5 floors, the top three of which, in addition to the Oratory and priests’ laundry room, are all bedrooms: 60 for student priests, 8 for the Sisters’ convent, and 14 for guests, especially Cardinals, Bishops and priests. The ground floor has the lobby, offices, refectory, multi-purpose hall and the Main Chapel with a capacity for 100. Meanwhile, the basement has the Crypt chapel, main laundry room, kitchen, refectory for the Sisters and another for the Personnel, reading room, four personnel rooms and the Philippiniana Library. We are blessed to have some 2 hectares (4 acres) of land, with a basketball court, tennis court, small soccer field and gardens for fruits and vegetables.