St. John Vianney Theological Seminary (SJVTS) is a regional theological seminary owned by the ecclesiastical province of Cagayan de Oro comprised of the archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and the dioceses of Butuan, Surigao, Tandag, and Malaybalay (CaBuSTaM).
The bishops of CaBuSTaM appealed to the Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose missionaries served as pioneering evangelizers of these parts of Mindanao, to administer the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. In spite of the shortage of personnel, the Jesuits accepted the task to operate and maintain the seminary. Undoubtedly, this crucial ministry is the Jesuits’ very important particular contribution to the southern Philippine church.
SJVTS started to operate on June 10, 1985 with its thirty-seven (37) pioneering seminarians. The first deaconate ordination took place in 1989, and the first batch of priest-graduates was ordained in 1990. Bishop Jose Araneta Cabantan, who was appointed Bishop of Malaybalay on February 18, 2010, belongs to the first batch of SJVTS alumni. Subsequently, the seminary continues to produce priests who serve in various dioceses in Mindanao and Bohol.
SJVTS also operates as a graduate school open to religious and lay extern students who have finished their bachelor’s degree and wish to acquire a deeper theological training in Catholic faith and tradition. Since 1993, its Graduate Theology Program educates theology teachers for colleges and universities, and trains church workers as professional catechists. It also prepares religious men and women towards a competent theological research in special areas of apostolate. As a graduate school, SJVTS offers four kinds of civil degrees for both divinity and non-divinity tracks: Master in Pastoral Ministry (non-thesis program), Master in Theology (nonthesis program), Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry (thesis program), and Master of Arts in Theology (thesis program).
Over the years, SJVTS has been accommodating Mindanao seminarians outside the CaBuSTaM region, as well as seminarians from other Asian countries (Myanmar or Burma). It also welcomes the seminarians from Dei Verbum Fraternity, the Poor Servants of the Divine Providence (Calabrians), the Sacred Heart Fathers and the Third Order Regulars of St. Francis for their theological formation.
Since 1999, SJVTS has been blessed by the addition of competent diocesan formators – most of whom are themselves alumni of the seminary – and in 2005 welcomed its first full-time lay formator. In the coming years, SJVTS hopes to swell the number of resident diocesan formators. To date, Vianney has also been blessed with five alumni-bishops including Bishop Cabantan, most of whom also served in different periods as SJVTS seminary formators: Bishop Severo Caermare of Dipolog; Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran; Bishop Raul Dael of Tandag; and Bishop Jose Rapadas III of Iligan.
Last 2018, the Holy See, through the Congregation for Catholic Education, has approved the experimental 3-year period affiliation of SJVTS with Loyola School of Theology (LST) in Manila. This gave the seminary, through LST, the faculty to grant an ecclesiastical degree, Bachelor in Sacred Theology (STB). With this, the seminary envisions to broaden its formation by providing its graduates more opportunities to pursue their studies and other relevant formation works.
After more than thirty years since its establishment, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary renews its commitment to the integral formation of seminarians and to the holistic training of lay and religious church workers. It instills in its alumni unswerving loyalty to the Roman Catholic tradition and active engagement in the promotion of inculturation and interreligious dialogue in the context of tri-people (Christian-Muslim-Lumad) communities. Aware of its humble beginnings in 1985, SJVTS is deeply grateful for becoming a full-blown seedbed of vocations to the priesthood. It continues to move on as it embraces the enormous task of evangelizing not only the islands of Mindanao but also the Philippines as a whole and the rest of Asia.