Future Priests Share Ugandan Refugee Life

Rector Says It Roots Them in People's Reality

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ALOKULU, Uganda, JULY 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The rector of a Ugandan seminary says it will not leave the refugee camp where it operates. Despite the dangers, the seminary has more applicants than it can accept.



Father Cosmas Alule, the rector of the seminary in Alokulu, told the group Aid to the Church in Need that they currently have 126 candidates for the priesthood. Another 25 are expected for next year, while others are being turned away due to a lack of space and other resources.

Many have suggested that the seminary find a new site outside of the refugee camp for security reasons. Father Alule said that it is good both for the camp and the seminarians that they stay where they are.

"We are not going to abandon the suffering; we want to show our solidarity with the people," he explained.

Future priests, Father Alule believes, should share the lives of the ordinary people and "bear witness for Christ in the existing situation."

The rector believes that while every priest belongs to the universal Church, he also must be rooted in the concrete situation of his own people, since it is there that he must bring the Gospel.

"The seminary is not a place apart," Father Alule contended.

Father Alule explained that the people from the camp come into the seminary to collect water or to use the football field, while also protecting it against rebels or soldiers.

"Through their immediate contact with those who have been affected by the war," Father Alule said, "these future priests learn more about what it has truly meant to them and then take this knowledge back into the wider Ugandan society when they later go to work in other parts of the country."