A Minibus for the One and Only Seminary in Sierra Leone
To this day, Sierra Leone is still suffering from the consequences of its bloody civil war. The economy and the infrastructure have been utterly ruined, and over 70% of the population live in poverty. The situation was made still worse by the Ebola epidemic in 2014. Yet, today, thanks to your help, priests may more easily fulfill their pastoral work.
The civil war, which lasted from 1991 until 2002, left close to half of the country's approximately four million inhabitants as refugees, while thousands of people were killed. The Catholic Church in the country also suffered extreme material damage. Parish houses, monasteries, convents and other Church properties were left in ruins, ransacked, looted and destroyed by the rebels from sheer destructive fury, according to the rector of the Saint Paul’s seminary in the capital Freetown. The seminary had to be moved several times because of the civil war to escape the fighting and the rebel attacks and was left with nothing in the end.
In 1995, still during the war and after being forced to move several times, the in 1995 was finally re-established on a rocky area outside the capital Freetown. It is still there to this day, and it is here that young men from every diocese in the country – and also from the Gambia, which has no seminary of its own – are training for the priesthood.
Transportation has been a difficulty, since the situation of the seminary being outside the city— an advantage during the time of the civil war— is now a disadvantage. All of the various needs and activities outside the seminary now involve travel, often over considerable distances.
On Sundays, for example, the seminarians help out in the various different parishes of the capital, in order to better learn the practicalities of parish life. Then there are the shopping trips, doctors' visits, journeys by members of staff to the seat of the diocese and to other dioceses as well, and many other reasons besides. Given this situation, Father Matthew Kanneh, the rector, turned to ACN to help.
Thanks to the generosity of you, our benefactors, we were able to give $25,800 for a new minibus. This vehicle has now arrived and is giving vital service for the seminary.
Both staff and seminarians are delighted, and the
rector has written to thank you all on behalf of the entire seminary. He
writes: "The vehicle has arrived safely. We are extremely grateful and
promise you that we will do our very best to use it well to fulfill our
pastoral work and to further the formation of the future priests of Sierra
Leone and Gambia."
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