As the Pope’s official charity for World Mission, Missio is unique in its commitment to supporting each and every seminary in the missionary world; a challenge set by Pope Pius XI in 1922 and still embraced by Missio today. We also have a special relationship with seminaries in India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. This message comes from Fr Daniel, Rector of St Peter’s Major Seminary in Malawi:

We are an inter-diocesan and national theological seminary, offering a five-year formation programme. Founded by the Catholic Bishops of Malawi, the seminary first opened its doors in January 1977. So, in three years’ time, we will be celebrating its golden jubilee! The motto for the seminary is Duc in Altum, Latin for ‘put out into the deep’ (Luke 5:6), the words that Jesus said to Peter when he first encountered him, prompting him to go into deep water and lower his nets for a catch.

The challenges of our year…

2023 was a very challenging year. Firstly, Malawi was hit hard by Cyclone Freddy, that claimed more than 600 lives. Most of our seminarians and formators’ families were affected and it brought in a lot of tears. Roads and infrastructure were damaged and communication and electric supply were difficult; in fact the system was entirely incapacitated.

In November, the local currency was devalued by 44%. As a result, the cost of goods on the market almost tripled and sustainability became so difficult. This brought panic as we could not fully support our budget. The impact of devaluation is being felt now, being our lean season. It is now a hand-to-mouth situation.

We foresee 2024 to be more challenging. The problems of the economy are being felt more now than before. The cost of goods on the market keeps on skyrocketing.

… and the joys

Despite such drawbacks, in May we joyfully witnessed 20 seminarians ordained as Deacons, and 24 Deacons received priestly ordination.

We opened the 2023/2024 Academic Year with a total of 109 seminarians, among whom eight belong to the Order of Capuchins while one belongs to the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate. There are 10 resident Priests, teachers and formators and 22 support staff.

We are joyful for the continued growth of faith and vocations, as testified by the huge numbers of young men wanting to study for priesthood. The overall objective of the seminary is to provide a thorough human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation so that the seminarians may become zealous pastors in the service of Christ, his Church and its mission in the world today.

In particular, candidates are being invited to take seriously their mission as future priests in the Church and in her evangelising mission. Seminarians are also engaged in various kinds of services within the seminary community such as pig rearing, fish farming, chicken rearing, and vegetable growing, to mention a few. This is to encourage them to appreciate manual work and self-reliance.

Borrowing one famous dictum from the Benedictine Spirituality, ora et labora (to work is to pray or work and pray), the seminarians take part in caring for the common home through manual work. Through manual work, not only do they help to make their own home habitable, but also help in a concrete way to provide seminary necessities by their own hands.

Fr Daniel, Rector

Message from a student: 

‘A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things’ (Plato). It always feels good when you start a journey and you have people on your side supporting you. This adds value, gives courage and strengthens the zeal to go the extra mile.

It is equally the same with the financial and spiritual support that is rendered to me through  Missio’ sponsorship programme. I am strengthened and comforted on my journey towards priesthood, knowing that I have someone praying for me in my vocation and supporting the seminary financially.

The support is of great importance for it gives me courage and makes me focused towards my goal and wish of serving God as a Catholic Priest. The support that I receive generates in me enthusiasm to embrace the call of God to become a Priest. Despite moments of crisis and uncertainty, I am joyful and comforted because of the support.

The spiritual energy drawn from realising that there are people praying for me remains essential as it makes me feel invigorated. It is amazing, knowing that someone is there to support me spiritually and financially. With such support, I have a guiding light and lamp on my priestly formation path. As I enjoy the fruits of such support, I will always remember my benefactors, who have planted the tree.

Br Innocent