Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
In the Western World, many seminaries are forced to close their doors due to a lack of vocations, and many dioceses only have a handful of new priestly ordinations. In contrast, seminaries are simply bursting at the seams in many parts of Africa. The rectors have sleepless nights wondering how they will ever manage to accommodate the many new candidates who wish to join them. The truth is – every potential new vocation that has to be turned away, simply for lack of space, is one too many.
One such institution currently facing this problem is the seminary of Saint Augustine in Jos, central Nigeria. There are 327 young men studying here at the moment for the priesthood. The seminary has already been the target of an extremist attack back in 2008, the neighbouring monastery was also burnt down and it was only thanks to the courageous intervention of the students themselves that the attackers were prevented from doing further damage.
Since then, a group of seminarians have taken turns, each night, guarding the seminary grounds. Keeping the semenary safe is however not the only challenge. There is not enough space for the many students who dwell in it, and the housing building most of the seminarians stay in needs to be extended. The seminary also needs renovation; the walls are cracked and the roof is damaged allowing rainwater to penetrate inside during the rainy season. When this happens, the seminarians living on the top floor use their books to protect them from the rain. In fact, with the passing of time there is an ever greater danger that some parts of the building might even collapse.
There is no way the seminary can afford the kind of extensive building program needed, it already has to pay for the training and living expenses of its many seminarians, and all these costs are constantly on the rise. In the long run, if the building is not renovated it will have even greater problems, and the smooth running of the seminary will be endangered if the building becomes uninhabitable as a result. Where then, would these many seminarians go?
ACN has therefore promised to help the seminary with a contribution of $25,000.