, 17 January, 2021 / 1:55 PM
The leadership of the Pontifical Charity organization, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International is supporting the formation of 63 Seminarians in Chad and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In a Wednesday, January 13 report obtained by ACI Africa, the leadership of ACN announced that it had set aside 31,500 Euros to meet some of the costs of forming the Seminarians drawn from Chad’s Mongo Vicariate and DRC’s Inongo Diocese.
In the landlocked North-Central African nation of Chad where Christians make up one percent of the 3.5 million population, ACN’s leadership is supporting the formation of six Seminarians drawn from the expansive Mongo Vicariate.
“They know the country and the life in the villages. They will take the Gospel message into people’s lives,” the Vicar General of the Vicariate that measures 540,000 square kilometers has been quoted as saying in the January 13 report.
With a population of 5,750 Catholics, the Vicariate “is the size of France, its six parishes enormous, the road networks utterly inadequate,” officials of the 73-year-old Catholic charity say and add, “The long years of drought have resulted in sparse harvests, while the coronavirus pandemic has meant extra expense.”
The challenges notwithstanding, ACN officials say, “The Seminarians’ training must go on, above all in this region where native-born Priests are so urgently needed.”
They add, “We are giving €3,000 to help plug the holes in the Seminary budget.”
In the Central African nation of DRC, ACN’s leadership is supporting the formation of 57 Seminarians in the Catholic Diocese of Inongo, whose “love for Christ is undiminished” despite the “widespread poverty, vast distances, and added expense from the pandemic.”
Among the beneficiaries of ACN support is Joel Nzenza whose vocation was inspired by a Priest’s soutane, at the age of 10.
“It was the first time I had seen a Priest. His soutane was a radiant white,” Joel has been quoted as saying in the January 13 report and referencing the Priest he had seen for the first time adds, “He came into our village and spoke so passionately about Jesus that I thought the Savior had come among us.”
For Joel, his formation is helping him “understand the mystery of the Priesthood and to live according to the Heart of Jesus.”
Just like Joel, Ferdinand Ikela, another beneficiary, was also inspired to Priesthood by a Priest’s way of life, when he was eight years old.
“I wanted to understand how one could live that way; I wanted to become like him,” Ferdinand says referencing the Priest and recalls asking his father what he had to do to become a Cleric.
His father responded, “You must be baptized, go to school, go to Mass every day and then talk to the Priest, who will tell you what else you have to do.”
Ferdinand heeded to his father’s counsel and attended catechism classes, was baptized and entered the Minor Seminary, which he later quit due to financial difficulties. He however, resumed his studies after his father “sold his last possessions in order to enable him to continue as far as the Major Seminary.”
“Now it is the turn of Bishop Donatien Bafuidinsoni of Inongo Diocese to come begging on behalf of Ferdinand and the other Seminarians, and he’s knocking on our door as well,” officials of the pastoral aid charity say.
Making reference to Bishop Bafuidinsoni, they add, “We are helping him and his 57 seminarians this year with €28,500 for as Pope Francis has said, ‘No vocation is born of itself or lives for itself. A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people, in the experience of fraternal love.”
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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa