Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Called to the Priesthood - A Ugandan Seminarian's Story - Support our Seminarians

Madonna by Fra Filippo
On the Feast of the St. Charles Lwanga and Companions I wrote about the seminarians in Uganda who struggle financially towards their journey in answering God's call to the priesthood. My family and I have gotten to know one of them. His name is Bruno and he is a wonderful young man, so full of life and full of love for God. I asked him recently at what age he was called and he shared the following. I do have his permission to share it here.

May God's choicest blessings flow unto u...! Aloha... Here we are well... Haha...my call is rooted in my childhood. When I was still a little boy, we were a group of age-mates. Because we were brought up in staunch Catholic families, we attended Mass every Sunday and used to sit on a locally made mat which was meant for children placed close to the priest's seat. I always admired the way priests conducted themselves at Mass. My moving gesture was CONSECRATION: we would be told to keep silent as the Holy Spirit came down. So whenever I had my little age-mates playing in the dust (common for African children), we would bake bread in the soil and get the water in a cup, and I would be the main celebrant to "consecrate". My colleagues referred to me then as Fr Bruno. I then told my parents that I wanted to be a priest like Fr John Bosco-then our Parish priest. My parents enrolled for confirmation preparations, and sent me to a nearby boarding school in primary five in order to groom me for the preparatory seminary in the next year. I naively thought that I would be ordained after primary. Little did I know that I needed to go to high school and also go for philosophy and now theology.

Thank you God I am in the last stage. I have been moved by the discipline of celibacy in Catholic Church which if honoured gives ample time for selfless service to God's people, which is my dream. Where I did my PASTORAL SPIRITUAL YEAR, I was touched at heart by people dying of poor health, and problems of ignorance and illiteracy. I pray to God that He makes a way for me- I wish that I should influence the communities with God's Word, but also good health and knowledge thru setting up schools and health centers. I feel when I achieve these for God's people, my dream will be realised and won eternal life...
Bruno and the other young men appear to have a sincere calling and wish to become priests.  Since they were called by God they are sacrificing much to answering the call  to their priestly vocation.  However, they come from very poor albeit loving families who cannot help them much financially.

For as long as I have had this blog, I have never requested money for myself.  Nor would I ever do so! However, I am asking you on behalf of these men, to please adopt them.  Please remove the stress and worries caused by financial difficulties and help them concentrate on finishing up their studies.  Some of them are very close to being ordained.

I want to share with the hardship of another seminarian in Uganda. This is from the Adopt a Catholic Seminarian page:

"...another seminarian who needs help to finish his seminary training. His father passed away last year and his mother is left alone to provide for the family. He will be at Katigondo National Major Seminary. Please send a message to this page for more information on how to help him, or contact him directly on Facebook."

If you feel called to spiritually and financially adopt one of these seminarians, please visit Adopt a Catholic Seminarian's Facebook page or contact me by either leaving a comment or emailing me and I will help put you in contact with the lovely lady who runs that page. She is doing what she can to get their story out there.

Do you realize what a blessing it would be to help a man become a priest? Imagine that!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention. The cost for sponsoring a seminarian in Uganda is not at all expensive. I believe their semester's fees are approximately $250.00! Compare that with what it costs to support a seminarian in this country. ($45,000.00 a year per seminarian in the Diocese of Honolulu).  Of course, if you feel you should support a local seminarian, by all means please do so! It is just important that we support our seminarians near or far.

If you cannot support them financially at this time, please pray for them daily that they will succeed in being ordained priests for God.

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