KAMPALA — The Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Most Rev. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has urged the seminary staff of St. Mbaaga Major Seminary, Ggaba, to accompany seminarians in formation by witness of their own exemplary life.
He made the remarks during the inauguration of the 2019/2020 Academic and Formation.
“Your work of formation must be by witness of life because it is a powerful way of leading the students to make a proper discernment of their vocation,” he said. He continued by recalling the words of Pope St. Paul VI’ encyclical letter (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 41) that, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”.
It is therefore primarily by your conduct and by your life that the seminarians will properly respond to the voice of God and prepare themselves for the priestly ministry ahead. In other words, by your living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus, the witness of poverty and detachment, the witness of personal discipline, the witness of being faithful to the seminary programmes of praying together as a community, participating in Community service, sports, recreation, the discipline of personal study but above all, the witness of sanctity.”
The Archbishop told the seminary formators that, “Your work is not limited to giving lectures only in class. Not, really. The whole of your life must present the truth about the priestly life and ministry that your candidates are preparing for, so, formation by witness.”
The Archbishop highlighted the challenges prevailing in society and how these challenges must be addressed by the seminary formation programme.
In particular, the Archbishop talked about the multiplicity of ideologies in the social, cultural, political and religious milieu and how they promote their teachings, some of which are aggressive and contrary to the teaching of the Church.
He drew similarities between our contemporary situation to the post-reformation period when the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563) replied to the doctrinal challenges of the Protestant Reformation which stressed justification by faith alone. We need a reformation in our work of evangelisation as the Council of Trent did to define Catholic doctrine and made sweeping decrees on self-reform, helped to revitalize the Roman Catholic Church in the face of Protestant expansion.
The Archbishop continued to state the function of the seminary that it must assist students to respond to the challenges facing our time; and the different academic programmes must prepare students for the pastoral and life challenges ahead.
He stressed the importance of developing a spirit of prayer, preparing good homilies, developing good leadership qualities and be aware of the challenges from the social surroundings and challenges from within an individual.
Some of these problems are: politics and violence, poverty, the proper use of telephones, accountability, taking care of one’s bodily health, social discrimination and sexual abuse.
Earlier the Archbishop expressed his gratitude to the Rector Fr. Joseph Sserunjogi and the seminary staff for making St. Mbaaga’s Major Seminary an internationally recognised seminary because it has students from Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, India, Colombia and Italy. He urged seminarians to prepare themselves well for the ministry ahead and obediently listen to the staff which the Bishops have appointed to accompany them on their journey.
The academic/ formation 2019/2020 opened with 203 seminarians, of whom 30 are out in their respective dioceses for the pastoral-spiritual Year and 30 students started their propaedeutic and Philosophical studies. The seminary has 20 resident staff members and 12 part-time lectures. Three priests joined the staff: Fr. Joseph Isanga from the Diocese of Jinja; Fr. Herman Joseph Kalungi from the Diocese of Masaka and Fr. Robert Ssekate from the Diocese of Kiyinda-Mityana.