The “Santa María la Mayor” Missionary Seminary trains the future priests of the Apostolic Vicariates of Puyo, Aguarico, Sucumbíos, Esmeralda, Méndez and Napo, from the territories of the Ecuadorian Amazon, thus building a Church with a synodal Amazonian face. It was inaugurated and blessed on November 29, 1996 and is located in the city of Quito.
In the mission territories and in the founding work of the local Church, it is not always easy to dedicate time and personnel to vocation ministry, since generally all the energies of the missionaries are channeled towards areas of evangelization that are usually presented as more urgent. Discovering, accompanying and welcoming the vocations of young people has become one of the pastoral priorities in our Apostolic Vicariates; as well as sensitizing local communities about the need for priests and workers consecrated to evangelization.
The Second Vatican Council in its document Ad Gentes tells us: “The Church gives thanks, with great joy, for the inestimable mercy of the priestly vocation that God has granted to so many young people among the peoples recently converted to Christ. For the Church deepens its firmest roots in each human group, when the various communities of the faithful have among their members their own ministers of salvation in the Order of Bishops, of priests and deacons, who serve their brothers, of Good luck that the new Churches achieve, step by step with their clergy, the diocesan structure” (AG 16).
These words will make many bishops reflect, especially those who work in mission territories. They will come to the conclusion that a Church that wants to grow and become an adult in the faith must have its own priests and not be satisfied with waiting for priests or missionaries from other Churches to come.
It is necessary to train seminarians in a more personalized environment, where the community dimension is lived and in close relationship with the missionary Church to which they belong. Where the seminarians carry out their ecclesiastical studies, it is where it is important to promote the missionary dimension, which should define the seminarians of the "Santa María la Mayor" Missionary Seminary. Where the future priests of the Vicariates of Puyo, Aguarico and Sucumbíos will be able to remain at the service of the indigenous and peasant communities and be willing to serve the Church where it is most needed. For this reason, it is necessary to accompany young people who seek to serve the Missionary Church with generosity and as priests, assuming as particular Churches the challenge of the mission beyond our borders.
The objectives of the Missionary Seminary "Santa María La Mayor" are to form priests following the example of Jesus Good Shepherd and Teacher to serve, teach and sanctify the people of God in the diocesan and missionary Church.
- Accompany, guide and help seminarians in their vocational process towards the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
- Live a community and fraternal spirit in which you know how to share in faith and charity (PDV, 60).
- Promote a human and Christian experience that helps to mature the person and make life sincere, responsible and definitive for the Kingdom of God (PO 3).
- Live the ecclesial and missionary dimension through a participatory ministry at the parish level and in the diocesan Church.
- Offer the intellectual knowledge necessary for priestly life through comprehensive formation.
His academic training is taught in the Philosophy and Theology courses of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador (PUCE). In the pastoral area, the seminarians develop their activity in the parishes, allowing them to enter the missionary environment, in addition to being able to share with the bishop, priests and nuns in workshops, talks, retreats, sporting events and pastoral accompaniment in urban realities. rural and indigenous of the Vicariates.
It is noteworthy the spiritual accompaniment that the priests provide to the seminarians and the fraternal experience that has been possible to live with the clergy of the Vicariate.
In the 2022 academic year, the formation of seminarians is aimed at 17 seminarians from four Apostolic Vicariates (Puyo, Aguarico, Sucumbíos and Esmeralda), 4 in propaedeutics, 5 in philosophy and 8 in theology, encouraged and followed by 3 formators.
Our seminary has celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021 with the hope of continuing to form priests according to the heart of Jesus, in a total spirit of fraternity and synodality.