Zambia: A vehicle for the major seminary in Lusaka

The landlocked country of Zambia, in southern Africa, is one of the more stable countries on the continent. Nonetheless, it still faces major problems. Many people live in poverty, the infrastructure is poor, and diseases such as AIDS and malaria are still widespread.

Roughly 90% of the country‘s 17 million inhabitants are Christians – the majority of them Protestants, however. Catholics make up about one fifth of the total. One of the major challenges for the Church is the spread of the sects, which frequently try to woo away the Catholic faithful – especially in areas where there are too few Catholic priests. As almost everywhere in Africa, the parishes cover vast areas and include numerous small villages. The priests often have to travel long distances on very bad roads in order to minister to the faithful. There is an urgent need for more priests – which is why priestly formation is one of ACN‘s priorities in this country, including helping to supply the necessary infrastructure.

The St. Dominic’s Major Seminary, in the capital Lusaka, is the place where the young seminarians from all 11 dioceses of the country pursue their theology studies. Their formation lasts five years altogether, four of which are devoted to their studies, while one year is devoted to helping these future priests to gain practical pastoral experience in the parishes of their own home dioceses.

Zambia: A vehicle for the major seminary in Lusaka.
Zambia: A vehicle for the major seminary in Lusaka.

Their formators have to visit them during this pastoral year in order to form an idea of their progress and their practical pastoral zeal. This includes conversations not only with the young men themselves, but also with the local parish priest, the other individuals responsible for the running of the parish, and of course the local bishop who has sent them for training in the seminary. The important question to be asked is whether the candidate concerned has acquitted himself well in practice and is therefore deemed fit to return to the seminary and be admitted for ordination. It goes without saying that such an important question must be addressed with very careful consideration and evaluation. Hence, the visits by the formators to the seminarians concerned play a crucial role in the decision-making process, which is so important not only for the candidate himself but also for the local Church.

Every year the formators have to visit more than 30 different parishes, and this in a country of nearly 300,000 square miles (752,000 km²) – over twice the size of Germany – and for the overwhelming majority in very poor road conditions. Needless to say, this places enormous demands on the vehicles involved. So not surprisingly, the old vehicle used by the seminary had become pretty much worn out over the years.

Thanks to the support of our generous benefactors, ACN was able to contribute 28,400 Euros towards the cost of a new vehicle, so that the seminary has now been able to purchase a new and sturdy all-terrain vehicle. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who gave so generously!

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