The Diocese of Nebbi in northwest Uganda has been plagued by armed conflict and terrorism for 30 years, like much of the north of the country. Although the situation has been more stable over the past decade, deep wounds are still evident today from that time of armed attacks, burnings, abductions, rape, and murder. Entire villages were destroyed, schools and health centers burnt down. There is also widespread poverty here today. Most families can only afford one meal a day; for the rest of the day they must go hungry. The average family income is not even $11 a month!
The Catholic Church is doing everything possible to help, but the challenge is great. The Diocese of Nebbi has 17 parishes, with 570 outstations – vast parishes spread over wide areas. There are just 57 priests to minister to the Catholic faithful, so many more are needed. As a result, the training of seminarians is a top priority for the bishop.
Currently there are 46 young men from the Diocese of Nebbi studying for the priesthood, but since the diocese has no seminary of its own, they are scattered across the other seminaries in the country, with the diocese paying for the cost of their formation. In most cases, the parents cannot afford to contribute anything towards the cost, and many of the seminarians have lost one or even both parents. Most are from large families, and many also have to work on the holidays in order to support their younger siblings. In other cases, these young men have faced fierce opposition and rejection in their desire to train for the priesthood.
ACN has been regularly helping the diocese, and this year, we plan to help again and are proposing to give $25,700 to support the training of these 46 young men.
Will you help support these poor seminarians in Uganda?
As Bishop Wanok Sanctus Lino writes, “Without your help, it would be difficult for us to have priestly ordinations each year.”
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