St. John Bosco Seminary is the centrepin for priestly vocations in Hoima Catholic Diocese.
The minor seminary is named after Saint John Bosco (Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, 1815 – 1888) an outstanding Italian saint, priest, educator, and writer who dedicated his life to the education and betterment of young people. His spirituality and philosophy on which he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were the inspiration on which the minor seminary was founded. It was started by Bishop Cyprian Dr. Kihangire on January 31, 1967.
Thirteen (13) boys from within the Diocese, who had completed primary school, were admitted into Senior One on January 31, 1967, the feast day of St. John Bosco. The first products of the seminary were ordained in 1978. The only successful one of the very first 13 boys, Fr. Matia Mulumba Ndyanabo (R.I.P 2009) was ordained the following year 1979 at the seminary. Many have followed ever-since. In recent years the Diocese ordains at least an average of 8 per year, all products of St. John Bosco.
Importance of the seminary
Like is the practice in most Dioceses all over the world, Hoima Catholic Diocese has the undisputed need for well-trained and dedicated workers in the Lord’s vineyard. Young people who feel called to the priestly and religious life need to be nurtured in the right environment to prepare them for a life of service. Boys who are called by God need such an environment in order to nurture and preserve their vocation during the formative years and adolescence.
A vocation to the priesthood is often very delicate and needs to be carefully tended like a seed that germinates, requiring water, shelter and the right nutrients in the early stages of growth. The seminary environment not only nourishes and protects the budding vocations but helps to form good habits and the right attitudes in the young aspirants. Among other objectives, the seminary nurtures physical, mental and moral development, shaping a boy’s mind and character while giving his life a direction which often proves decisive.
It is for this purpose that St. John Bosco Seminary was founded, to provide the requisite environment for priestly vocations in the Diocese. The minor seminary is admits boys of secondary school age who have completed their primary school education and believe they may be called by God to the priesthood. By the end of six years of secondary school education, those who may have a vocation to the priesthood are starting to emerge. However even for those who may not continue with the calling, often times the formation and training in the minor seminary is of great benefit in their future life in the world.
In many ways the minor seminary operates like any other Catholic boarding schools for boys. Community service, sports and other physical activity are important, for they offer an excellent means of character formation by requiring teamwork, responsibility, healthful competition, etc. Additional activities like regular confession, spiritual direction, choir practice feature very prominently in the routine of the seminary. Personal responsibility, cleanliness, order, self-discipline and striving for excellence provide the hallmark of the seminary formation. This unique program prepares the young men for the major seminary, and safeguards their vocations.