In January of 1959, the Catholic Hierarchy of the Philippines approved a resolution authored by the late Rufino Cardinal Santos, then Archbishop of Manila, calling for the
establishment of the Pontifical Filipino College.
Pope John XXIII instituted the Pontificio Collegio Filippino
through an Apostolic Letter, and on October 7, 1961 officiated at its inauguration in Rome. As of June 30, 1995, the Collegio has produced 367 alumni, twenty-eight of whom have already been ordained bishops in the years 1993-1994, eight "students" have earned their doctorates while sixteen have obtained their licentiates. In the years 1994-1995, three have attained doctorates and seven their licentiates.
The PCF is the home in Rome of Filipino diocesan priests who have been sent abroad by their bishops to pursue higher ecclesiastical studies. It is thus a community that provides a special type of ongoing
priestly formation that is significantly influenced by a proximity to the Holy Father and the cultural diversity that only Rome provides.
The typical composition of the PCF community is something like
forty or more priests, at any given time, enrolled in pontifical universities, institutes and academies in Rome; seven members of a religious congregation, Religiosas Misioneras de Santo Domingo
attending to food, laundry, bookkeeping, chapel, sacristy and library and five lay personnel assigned to more specific tasks. Heading the group is a Rector, a Vice-Rector/Oeconomus and a Spiritual Director.
The resident priests are often invited to celebrate the Eucharist in Filipino migrant centers in Rome and its environs during weekends. This offers them a perfect opportunity to minister to Filipino migrant
workers, of which there are many in Rome and to initiate the building of Christian communities among them.
The Pontificio Collegio Filippino
gets its subsidy from board and lodging fees of the residents, and from donations of guests (bishops, priests, or friends passing through Rome). The prinicipal benefactor however, is the Archdiocese of Manila through His Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin, who has consistently supported the Collegio.
Within the last two years the PCF, while doing repairs on the building, has managed to upgrade its electrical system and printing facilities. It has also started to computerize its library, this for easier
access to the pontifical libraries and other databanks in Rome. A Filipiana Section housed in the building has also seen much improvement.