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Walking With Destiny:  The Making Of St. Clement College

The Dream

      The dream of  Archbishop Emeritus Thomas Menamparambil to begin a philosophate in Assam  got unfolded with the purchase of a plot of land at Bebejia in the year 2005.  He also wrote to His Eminence, Cardinal Ivan Dias, the then Prefect of the Society for the Propaganda Faith, Rome, on 17.09.2006 seeking permission to establish the new Philosophate in the Archdiocese of Guwahati.  It was his wish that the college be named as St. Clement College after St. Clement of Alexandria a Christian Theologian and Philosopher who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. He was known for initiating and developing indigenous and contextual study of philosophy and theology.

   It was the desire of Archbishop Emeritus Most. Rev. Thomas Menamparambil that the philosophate be situated at Nagaon. The reason why Nagaon  is chosen  as the place for the Philosophate is that it is the Oldest town of Assam and is located at the centre of Assam geographically.

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The Seed Sown

    In the year 2012, His Grace, Archbishop John Moolachira, re-initiated the idea of starting a philosophate  and  met the Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, Rome and the Secretary General of the Society of St. Peter the Apostle who gave a green signal for the new Philosophate. The Foundation stone was laid in the land at Bebejia on 13 November 2013 by His Grace, Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal in the presence of Most. Rev. John Moolachira, Archbishop of Guwahati, Most Rev. Michael Akasius Toppo , Bishop of Tezpur, Most Rev. Paul Mattekkatt, Bishop of Diphu, Provincials of different congregations of men and women and a number of clergy of the Archdiocese of Guwahati.

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Tryst With Destiny

   The land issues at Bebejia forced the administration to look for other suitable places for the Philosophate. It was at this critical situation that Rev. Fr. G.K.Prakash SDS, agreed to give us a plot of land at Tokobari. The Archdiocese of Guwahati approached the Superior General of the Salvatorian Congregation to obtain the legal permission for the land at Tokobari which he gave very willingly. The construction work at Tokobari was not without troubles as the people of the area did not receive us well. Rev. Fr. Johny Mavelil, an young and dynamic priest who was In Charge of the construction work had to face adverse behavior from the local people. Inspite of all these, Fr. Johny with full support from the Archbishop Most. Rev. John Moolachira, Rev. Fr.  Varghese Kizhakkevely, the Vicar General and Rev. Fr. Mathew Achukandam the Administrator of the Diocese did a commendable job of completing the first building in the campus.

St. Clement College, an Assam Inter-diocesan Philosophate

   Originally, St. Clement College was visualized as the philosophate of the Archdiocese of Guwahati. On further thought, it was decided that it could be opened to other dioceses of Assam as they share the same specific identity and culture. Hence, today St. Clement College is known as ASSAM INTER-DOCESAN PHILOSOPHATE. Since the college geographically located in the Archdiocese of Guwahati and the entire infrastructure is developed by the Archdiocese of Guwahati, the Archbishop of Guwahati would be the Chairman of the Governing Board of St. Clement College. St. Clement College opens its door to all the dioceses of the North East Region and in some special cases other dioceses of India as well as religious who are working in the region.

St. Clement College Trust

   The Trust Deed of St. Clement College, Nagaon was executed at Guwahati on 23 December 2014. The name of the Trust is ST.CLEMENT COLLEGE, NAGAON. The purpose of the trust that is mentioned in the Trust Deed is Education, health, charity, spiritual development and community development in Nagaon, Assam. The Registered office of the Trust shall be at ST. Clement College, Nagaon, Bhakatgaon Village, Dhing Road, Nagaon-782002, Assam. The Trust shall function at any other places also as the Board may decide upon. Trustees:  The Archbishop of Guwahati shall be the Principal Trustee or the President of the Board of Trustees. Along with him the original members are Fr. Anil Joseph, the first Trustee  and Fr,. Joby Abraham (member).  New members of the Trust were added on 3 February 2015. The new members are: Bishop Michael Akasius Toppo, Bishop Joseph Aind, Bishop Thomas Pullopillil and Bishop Paul Mattekkat.

Collaborative Venture with Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales, NE India Province

   The Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales, North East India province were entrusted with the administration and formation of St. Clement College. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Most. Rev. John Moolachira, the Archbishop of Guwahati and Very Rev. Fr. George Panthanmackel, the provincial of MSFS, NE India province on 9 July 2014.

    Main Terms and conditions of the MOU:

  • The Archbishop entrusts the MSFS, NE India Province the administration of the philosophate in the name of the dioceses of Assam.

  • The Archbishop guides the Missionaries in such way to encourage and safeguard their work of administration and formation

  • The Missionaries collaborate with the Ordinary in the administration and formation of students.

  • The Archdiocese shall take up the responsibility of acquiring property and financing the starting of the Philosophate.

  • The MSFS shall provide the personnel to run the Philosophate

  • The MSFS shall plan and execute the Academic Programme of the seminary

  • The MSFS will develop the land and property of the Institute, library, computers and other facilities, with the financial help from the Governing Body/ Archdiocese.

  • The MOU stands good for 20 years from 9 July 2014.

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The Academic Programme- SCC and Assam Don Bosco University

    St. Clement College is the first Philosophy College for the purpose of training students for priesthood in the entire state of Assam.  This is the only ‘Classical Type” of Philosophate in the North East India where a three year full time philosophy classes are offered along with accompanied formation to the students of priesthood.  The bachelor of Arts  in Philosophy run at St. Clement College, is recognized by ADBU and the degree is awarded by the Don Bosco University, Guwahati, Assam.  Hence, Under the Chairmanship of Rev. Fr. Stephan Mavely, the Vice-Chancellor of Assam Donbosco University, a committee was set up to chalk out an academic programme for St. Clement College. The Committee entrusted Fr. Emmanuel Uppamthadathil to make a detailed course description and syllabus which would meet the requirements of the University as well as the demands of the Church. The Students of St. Clement has to complete 144 credits for a full three year course.

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The Day Has Arrived

   On the 15th of June 2016, when the residence of the St. Clement College is inaugurated by His Excellency the Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio of India and Nepal and blessed by His Grace Most. Rev. John Moolachira, the Archbishop of Guwahati Archdiocese in the presence of the fellow bishops of the dioceses of North East India, Superior General of the Missionaries of Mary Help of Christians, Provincials of various religious congregations of Fathers, sisters and brothers, numerous sisters fathers and laity it was a dream materialized. The long years of planning and hard work are borne fruit. On this day the idea of St. Clement College has become a Reality. The joy is doubled because it is on the same day, the New Academic year is declared opened with the Mass of the Holy Spirit. It is a dream come true for the church in Assam and particularly for the Archdiocese of Guwahati to have a philosophate in Assam for the first time.

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The Staff and the Students

   The provincial of the Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales North East India Province designated Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Uppamthadathil to be appointed by His Grace , Most Rev. John Moolachira as the first Rector of St. Clement College.  Fr. Emmanuel took the OATH OF FIDELITY ON ASSUMING AN OFFICE in front of Archbishop John Moolachira as well as recited the PROFESSION OF FAITH. Along with Fr. Emmanuel Uppamthadathil, other members of the staff too took charge of their respective responsibilities. The first members of the staff of St. Clement are Rev. Fr. Babu Kudakkachirakunnel (Dean), Rev. Fr. Stephan Avihlou (Registrar and controller of Examination) and Fr. Francis Peethuruthel ( Administrator). Fr. Johny Mavely continues to be a member of the staff of St. Clement College. The members of the staff are grateful to the provincial and his team for providing the seminary with quality men with personal integrity to guide and form the young men who desire to become good priests.

   The first batch of students consists of 16 brothers. These brothers are from different dioceses. They are : Angtong Durong (Diphu), Alexius R Marak, Benjamin Arengh (Tura), Albish Hajowary, Jacob Tirkey (Tezpur), Bhimsen Hasda, William Wangsu, Samjon Pansa Simon (Miao), Celestian Bage, Gabriel Lohora ( Dibrugarh), Christopher Tirkey, Francis Barjo, George Basumatary, Jikku Antony (Guwahati) Peter Minj (Bongaigaon) and Sundar P Selvan (Heralds of Good News)

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The Academic Block

   The residential block of the seminary does not have class rooms. In order to cater to the academic needs of the students, the Archdiocesan administration decided to begin the work of a separate academic block.  The academic block was inaugurated on 15th July 2017. The Academic block has three large class rooms, the offices for the President, Dean and the Registrar and Controller of examination. It also has a multi purpose hall (auditorium), reading room, library, and a facility for sisters who are studying at St. Clement College

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The Chapel

    22 October 2018 was another momentous day in the life of St. Clement College. On this day a new gorgeous, elegant and serene chapel was blessed and dedicated by His Grace John Moolachira in the presence of the other Bishops of Assam. The chapel is named after St. John Paul II. The students now have a spacious yet quiet place of worship and prayer.

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Welcome to Frs. George Vettukattil and Joseph Kizhakkeveedu

    Fr. George Vettukattil is appointed to St. Clement College as the Registrar and Controller of Examination. He took charge as a member of the staff in 2019 May. Fr. Joseph Kizhakkeveedu is appointed to the staff as the Spiritual Director.

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The grotto of Mother Mary, the statues of John Mary Vianney, St. Joseph

    To create an atmosphere of prayer and devotion a grotto of mother Mary was built in the St. Clement College campus in the year 2020. It was a thanksgiving gesture by Fr. Emmanuel Uppamthadathil on his 25th year of Ordination. Besides this, a Statue of St. John Mary Vianney was erected in front of the academic block. St. John Mary Vianney is the patron saint of the parish priests. To commemorate 2021 as  the year of St. Joseph, we have erected a statue of St. Joseph at the reception of the Residential block of St. Clement College.

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CONCLUSION

    St. Clement College has 111 students on its roster at present. They come from 9 dioceses and 6 religious congregations. St. Clement College is finding a place in the North East  India as a center of philosophy as well as  an Institute of formation. Let us hope that his institute will cater to many more dioceses and congregations of men and women in the days to come. St. Clement Pray for us

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