The Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome has 13 new priest-students this school year.
Composed of 11 Filipinos and two foreigners from Japan and Sri Lanka, the new students now join the 43 “old-timers” at the Collegio, according to CBCP News.
Thirty-one of these “old timers” are Filipinos, while the rest are from India, Taiwan, Korea, Cameroon, Congo and Kenya.
Inaugurated by Saint John XXIII in 1961, the Collegio is the “home in Rome” of Filipino diocesan priests pursuing further studies.
PCF Rector Fr. Gregory Ramon Gaston said before classes started last week, various pontifical universities have to figure out how to deal with the new normal caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Like other academic institutions around the world, some measures that are already in place are observed such as physical distancing and the wearing of face masks.
“There are classes in universities but they also provide online (classes) for students who cannot come to Rome,” Fr. Gaston said.
As a pontifical institution, the PCF is directly under Pope Francis, through the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.
The Collegio also reports directly to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which created a body to oversee it.
The CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Pontificio Collegio Filippino is currently chaired by Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga.
The PCF has also been serving as the de facto Filipino Chaplaincy, with Fr. Gaston currently also serving as coordinator of the Italian bishops for the pastoral care of Filipinos in Italy.