Missio England and Wales has a long-standing relationship with five seminaries in five countries. These five seminaries – in India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Sri Lanka – offer the opportunity to sponsor students studying for the priesthood.
Fr Anthony, Rector of St Peter’s Major Seminary in Zomba, Malawi, shared their latest news with us:
Greetings from St Peter’s Major Seminary! We extend our regards to all the benefactors who are helping us in many ways.
COVID-19 has been a challenge in Malawi. Many people who are working in private sectors lost their jobs since their employers could not pay them. Life was very tough in both towns and villages. Our people were unable to support the church very well and as a result, parishes and seminaries greatly suffered.
Keeping the faith during Covid
St Peter’s Major Seminary was not spared. We have 8 priests that are formators or teachers, but when the seminary suffered financially during the crisis, 6 priests were sent back to their dioceses. Our students or seminarians too were sent back to their homes. Only the Rector and the Bursar remained in the seminary. Under normal circumstances, priests serving in the seminaries are never sent back to their dioceses. The seminary could not manage to take care of its priests during the crisis.
When we resumed normal classes, we were not stable financially and the only relief came from Missio England and Wales. The money you sent has helped us to finish the academic year. Thank you so much for your usual support. Please keep it up!
The blessings of last year
Even priests serving in the seminaries have been helped greatly with the Mass Stipends that you gave us. The Mass Stipends you send help us because we do not have a reliable source of income. Please continue supporting us with the Mass Stipends as priests. It makes our life bearable.
We have equally been blessed with 12 new priests. In the photo above they are in white chasubles. This is indeed a great blessing! They are promising to offer their prayers for all the people from England and Wales who have been supporting them in many ways.
We have been blessed with 14 deacons last year. They are dressed in white albs and red stoles that are put in a slanted manner:
Enough room for all those called
2021 is a year which is giving us great hope. We are very optimistic that things will go well. The number of students interested in priesthood is continuing to be on the rise. At the same time, we are a little bit worried because in October, the seminary will have around 150 major seminarians and yet it has the capacity of accommodating 120 seminarians. We only have 12 hostels, and each hostel accommodates 10 students. We are busy brainstorming on how best to tackle this problem. If we can be supported in the construction of one hostel, then we might be on the safer side.
It is always very painful for Bishops and priests to see that some seminarians fail to be admitted in the seminary at their rightful stage, due to the challenge of accommodation. Being delayed for a year is always a challenge to the students, and at times we lose some good seminarians in the process. When they stay at home for one year, waiting for the space to be created, some lose hope and look for a job to earn a living. They abandon their priestly vocation. This is honestly giving us heartache. A contractor has already been identified and as soon as we get some money, we will begin the project of constructing one hostel.
We cherish our relationship with you and we greatly appreciate all the support you give us. Please, keep it up! Without your support, life would be very unbearable.
How you can help
In mission dioceses it costs at least £700 a year to train a student for the priesthood. The local bishops, parishes and families manage to collectively raise £200 annually for each student, but it simply is not enough.