BY PRINCE HENDERSON-ECM
Catholic Bishops in Malawi under the umbrella body Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has set aside every Pentecost Sunday, the day Catholic Faithful commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit as Seminary Day.
The launch for the day is on Sunday, June 4, in all the Parishes in the country’s Eight Dioceses hence the offertory for the day will go towards supporting the operations of two major seminaries in Malawi. The Seminaries are St Peters in Zomba and St Anthony, Kachebere Seminary in Mchinji.
Meanwhile, a National Seminary Fund has been put in place so that it helps in the formation of Catholic Priests and it calls upon all Catholic faithful and people of goodwill to render their financial support by contributing hence ensure that the Church is able to continue forming future priests.
According to the National Pastoral Secretary, Fr. Regis Kamela; the Church in Malawi has limited number of Priests against the increasing number of Christians.
“The number of Catholic Christians is growing day by day but Priests are very few. For instance, you find a Parish with at least ten out-stations being served by one or two priests. It is obvious that Christians will not be able to access Sacraments as required. We therefore need more priests,” said Fr. Kamela.
Fr. Enock Kanjira, Acting Rector for Kachebere Major Seminary said the two major seminaries are faced with numerous challenges because partners who used to provide financial assistance are no longer doing so.
He said for one Seminarian to pursue his studies at Kachebere Seminary, requires at least MK 850,000.00 per year whereas at St Peters, a Seminarian requires at least MK1,100,000.00.
“Despite our own initiatives like running a farm, we still face challenges in our operations. Actually, we need an annual budget of about MK120,000,000.00 and MK80,000,000.00 to run Kachebere and St Peters Major Seminaries respectively,” said Fr. Kanjira.
National Laity Council Chairman, Dr. Ernest Misomali said time has come for the lay faithful to take part in supporting their own Seminaries so that more Priests are formed and serve in various Parishes and institutions across the country.
He commended ECM for resolving to come up with a Seminary Day and National Seminary Fund which will be owned by Christian themselves.
“You may wish to ask; who to subscribe to the fund? simply it’s all able and willing Catholics, individuals or families; Small Christian Communities; Catholic based ministries and Organisations,” said Dr. Misomali.
Asked why should one subscribe to the fund, Dr. Misomali said the Fund will enable the seminaries create a conducive learning and teaching environment and at the same time contribute to instilling the spirit of self-reliance among laity in Malawi.
He said apart from contributions made through offertory on Seminary Day, subscribers to the fund are encouraged to deposit their contributions through the following bank accounts: Account name for all accounts: ECM National Seminary Fund.
“At National Bank of Malawi, the account number is 1003436388, Capital City Branch. As of New Building Society, the account number is 17558625, Capital City Branch whereas at FDH Bank, the account number is 1380000116395, Kang’ombe House,” he said.