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Minor Seminary in South Sudan to Admit “ordinary students” to Study Alongside Seminarians

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of South Sudan's Tombura-Yambio Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Diocesan Minor Seminary of South Sudan’s Tombura-Yambio Diocese is set to admit students who do not intend to pursue Priestly formation to study alongside Seminarians.

The Local Ordinary of the Diocese, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, announced the decision to admit both boys and girls at the St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary in an interview with Ruru Gene newsletter, a publication of South Sudanese Diocese.

“I am opening the doors of our (Minor) Seminary for ordinary students to study alongside our seminarians. They will follow the rules, the regulations, and the requirements that are already in place and while the seminarians will be boarding, the ordinary students will be day scholars,” Bishop Hiiboro is quoted as aying in the May 17 publication.

The South Sudanese Bishop explains, “Although a seminary is meant for seminarians and for preparing young people who desire to become Priests, our St. Joseph (Minor) Seminary is at the level of secondary school and endeavors to prepare students and make them suitable for higher learning institutions within the country, meaning that the students sit for the national examinations of this country.”

“St. Joseph Senior Seminary is situated in a very remote place where basic infrastructure is still lacking. There are no secondary schools in the area and parents usually have to take their children to town in Yambio and other places so that they can access secondary education,” Bishop Hiiboro goes on to explain.

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Those admitted at the Catholic institution, the Bishop says, “will have the privilege of benefiting the good educational system, the teaching methods, and the dedication of all the teaching staff as well as the high level of discipline that is characteristic of seminary education.”

He describes the move as “historical” and recalls his own experience saying, “When I was a young Priest in the Central African Republic between the years 1995 and 2001, my then Bishop permitted me to allow children who were not necessarily seminarians, both boys and girls, to study in our seminary.”

“These students who studied with our seminarians are doing wonderful work in their communities and that is the same thing I have permitted to happen in our Diocese,” Bishop Hiiboro who has been at the helm of Tombura-Yambio since his episcopal ordination in June 2008 says.

He expresses optimism about the decision saying the move should “not result in any unpleasant incidents as the institution is currently working on measures that will ensure that all goes on well.”

The Bishop who turned 57 in March urges parents, the committee to oversee the admissions, and the board of governors of the Diocesan Minor Seminary to collaborate with the teaching staff, administration, and the Seminarians in session in view of resolving any challenges in that might emerge along the way.

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“Should there be any misunderstanding or anything, which might not be proper, the community will put their hands together to resolve it and allow the students to study harmoniously,” he says.

“This has worked elsewhere, and I strongly believe that it will work for us too,” Bishop Hiiboro says, adding that the initiative is “one of the best gifts the Diocese has to offer to this remote community where the seminary is situated.”

“This means that parents will not have to go far away to search for secondary education as has been the case,” he says, and adds, “Having the children stay in rented houses alone in town is in itself a risk to many of these young ones as they are vulnerable to child abuse predators.”