Food Crisis Forces Nigerian Seminary Closure

Many Others in Third World Could Follow

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KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, JUNE 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic seminary in Makurdi in central Nigeria is facing closure this month as a result of the worldwide food crisis, reported Aid to the Church in Need.



Monsignor Kenneth Enang, rector of the seminary, told the aid agency Wednesday that the major seminary, in which some 520 seminarians from 15 dioceses are preparing for the priesthood, has already been forced to ration the food on account of the "astronomical prices."

An additional problem is the price of diesel, which is used to provide electricity. Within just one week, the price of diesel has risen by a third.

Father Andrzei Halemba, who heads the Africa desk of Aid to the Church in Need, reports that the worldwide food crisis is becoming an ever greater problem for seminaries throughout the Third World, and is likely to threaten the continued functioning of many other seminaries.

Months earlier, Father Enang had told Aid to the Church in Need of his delight at the many, "good vocations," arriving to his seminary, and the well-qualified staff. He described the seminary as something of a "bridge" between the North and South of Nigeria.

It was a "wonderful experience," he added, to see the way in which these young men from all over the country got on together. One could see in it "how Nigeria ought to look."

At that time there was talk of enlarging the seminary, since the space was no longer sufficient for the many seminarians there.

Now they are threatened with closure by June 20.