After the creation of the CWO
(Catholic Welfare Organization), the forerunner of the CBCP, while there was no official committee as yet for the care of Philippine Seminaries, the first remembered apostolic visitation of the seminaries was in1949.
The visitation was done personally by Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, then Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. Subsequent seminary visitators were Msgr. Morelli, Bishop Leoncio Lat, Msgr. Amador Litong and Fr. Hermogenes
The first authoritative body ever to handle the affairs of the seminaries was the Commission on Seminaries which was established after Vatican II. After the CBCP's restructuring in 1972, the Commission's
first Chairman was Jaime L. Cardinal Sin. He called for the participation of Seminary Rectors in preparation for the Philippine Program for Priestly Formation. The second Commission Chairman was Archbishop Oscar Cruz
who held office until 1982.
Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales was elected the third Commission Chairman in 1983. That same year plans were made to launch the Colloquia Series for Spiritual Directors. The forum brought
together, annually, an average of 65 to 70 spiritual directors for regular updating in counselling, prayer, and spiritual accompanying.
Colloquium III in1986 was the best attended assembly with than 80 participants.
The entire proceedings, talks and reflections of the 1986 Colloquium were compiled in a 230 - page book entitled TO BE HIS COMPANIONS, a compendium for Spiritual Directors. This book was widely distributed to
participants and their colleagues in other seminaries.
An all-important overview of the three levels of priestly formation - high school, college and theological - with vision, goals, values and indicators, was also
articulated and warmly accepted during the Colloquium III Assembly in 1986. The same was approved by the CBCP General Assembly for implementation in the Philippine Seminaries.
After Colloquium VI in 1989, the series
was suspended due to the 1990 sessions of the Eight World Synod of Bishops on "priestly formation in today's circumtances." The anticipation of post-synodal exhortations, the acts and decrees of PCP II, and
the recently concluded Apostolic Visitation of Seminaries from 1992 to 1994 further held off the resumption of Colloquia Series.
In 1991 Archbishop G.B. Rosales, Commission Chairman, was appointed Official Apostolic
Visitator of all theological and college seminaries of the Philippines, with the special authority to organize teams of archbishops and bishops to help him in the actual visitation work.
From 1984 to 1987 a
publication service was sponsored by the Commission and offered free to all who wished to receive reprints of relevant spiritual-direction articles and related literature. This form of assistance to seminary formation
agents was unfortunately stopped due to lack of funds.
The First National Consultation on Seminaries held in April of 1995, attended by 122 rectors, professors and spiritual directors brought about the following: 1)
the revision of the PHILIPPINE PROGRAM FOR PRIESTLY FORMATION (now in progress); 2) the resumption of the Colloquia Series for Spiritual Directors; and 3) the institution of the Rectors' Forum.
Among those who helped
inthe Commission's work and program are the Notre Dame de Vie Staff, Father Benny Calpotura, S.J. and the Emmaus Team, and Father Luis "Chito" Tagle, consultant and writer.