Renovation of the Saint Augustine Seminary in Zambia
The landlocked state of Zambia in southern Africa is one of the more stable countries on the continent. Christians make up the overwhelming majority (90%) of its population of some 17 million people. Approximately one fifth of the population is Catholic, with the majority belonging to a range of different Protestant communities.
The Catholic Church here is facing major challenges. In the past, the life of the Church was steered by foreign missionaries who were able to obtain support from their home countries, but today it is the native African bishops and priests who are increasingly shouldering the responsibility. In many places, infrastructure is poor, parishes cover vast areas and the Catholic faithful often live widely scattered, so that many more priests are needed in order to minister to them all.
At the same time, various sects are very active in proselytizing, drawing away many of the faithful with easy and simplistic messages of salvation. They promise people health, wealth and material success and so manage to entice many people, including Catholics. They are successful where, owing to the lack of financial means and the vast distances, the pastoral outreach of the Church is not sufficiently intensive to make people feel truly rooted and at home in the Church.
To meet these spiritual needs, what the Church in Zambia needs is more priests. But in order to train these priests, appropriate infrastructure and facilities have to be present. In Saint Augustine‘s Seminary in Kabwe there are almost 90 young men training for the priesthood. But the seminary building, which dates back to the 1950s, has for years been in urgent need of renovation. Cracks in the walls, falling ceiling tiles and roof panels, a hopelessly outdated plumbing system….all these things were making life here difficult, even dangerous. Above all the toilet and sanitary facilities needed urgent repair and renovation.
Thanks to the help of our generous benefactors, ACN was able to contribute $16,800, enabling the bathroom facilities to be properly refurbished and the rusting pipework replaced.
The seminarians are delighted with the results and send their heartfelt thanks to all who have helped.
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