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I.H.M.S. Historical Background

Taken from Fr. Khing Vaño’s Thesis

Everything in this world has a beginning, somewhere, sometime. It may be glorious or miserable, it may bring joy or sadness when remembered and recalled. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, too, has its beginning.

How it happened that we have such a seminary is a query that shall be answered in the coming sections.

The idea of building a seminary came with Msgr. Julio Rosales upon assuming his post as the Bishop of Tagbilaran in 1948. The building of a place for boys who would like to pursue the priestly vocation was first and foremost in his mind.

This was due to the fact that the Diocese of Tagbilaran lacked priests for the ministry, so Julio Cardinal Rosales thought of building a local seminary to attract more boys to serve God in the priesthood. A seminary would be invaluable for the Diocese of Tagbilaran considering the help it could give to the diocese. With these in mind, Julio Cardinal Rosales proceeded with his plans and initiated the project. The plan was disseminated to the Bohol Clergy and faithful. With enthusiasm, they accepted the proposal, and the project started. At first, the project was of a difficult character. It was like leveling a mountain with a single shovel. As Rev. Fr. Victor Drewes described it, the odds were more numerous than the evens. The state of the project at the beginning was understandable since it is always the characteristic of opening a project that hardships couldn't be avoided.

The Most Rev. Julio Cardinal Rosales blessed and laid down the cornerstone of the IHMS coinciding with the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on August 22, 1948, amidst impressive ceremonies. The first sponsors of the seminary were present to grace the affair. After the laying of the cornerstone, the next step was the seminary fund drive.

Lack of financial support came as the major problem to Cardinal Rosales' project. The Diocese of Tagbilaran did not have the needed amount to build the seminary edifice. Cardinal Rosales resorted to a fund drive which involved the whole province of Bohol. This intensive campaign for funds at the first stage gained momentum because of the help of the civil authorities of the province and the cooperation of the people. Meanwhile, as the fund drive went on, the construction of the first building began. The meager amounts collected were used to finance the work. At least the pillars of the building stood for the first time on July 16, 1949.

Cardinal Rosales' popularity rose to immeasurable heights in the campaign. People from all walks of life helped in the cause, and the success of the fund drive was imminent until a misfortune happened. The then Governor of Bohol, Hon. Jacinto Borja, made a daring move to cripple the entire drive. Envying the popularity of the Bishop, Gov. Borja issued a circular barring all government employees from helping directly or indirectly in the fund drive. Imprisonment awaited those who would not comply. This resulted in the dwindling and slowing of funds. Of the project's P150,000 quota, the campaign was able to procure only P70,000.00, falling far behind to complete the building. The Bishop and his Board of Consultors looked for every means not to stop the work. They came to an agreement to change the original structure of the planned building from an "E" shape to an "I." Moreover, to meet the demands of the construction, the diocese had to take a loan of P40,000.00 from the Philippine Bank and Trust Company, a bank in Manila. With these two separate moves of the Church authorities, the seminary building finally stood on the outskirts of the City of Tagbilaran. Although the building was there, it still lacked furniture, but it was already being used by the seminarians and priests as soon as the roof was finished.