A new dormitory for the seminary in Conakry
Guinea is an overwhelmingly Islamic country in which roughly 85% of the population of 11.6 million people are Muslim. Christians make up only around 8% in this country, while the remainder of the population adhere to the traditional African religions.
For decades, this country of West Africa was dominated by the regime of dictator Ahmed Sékou Touré, who ruled from 1958 until his death in 1984. After his death, the Senegalese newspaper Le Soleil spoke of the end of what it had once called the “longest and most murderous dictatorship on the continent.” Torture and executions were an everyday occurrence, and thousands of people disappeared without trace.
The Catholic Church, which opposed the regime, was forced into silence and Archbishop Raymond-Maria Tchidimbo of Conakry spent almost 9 years in prison where he suffered torture. His successor, the present Cardinal Robert Sarah, was on the dictator‘s death list, though in fact Sékou Touré died before he was able to carry out his plans.
During these years of dictatorship, the Catholic Church was barely able to develop. To this day, it still only has three dioceses. For many years, the seminarians training for the priesthood had to study in neighbouring Senegal and Mali.
The Catholic Church built its own seminary, the doors opened for the academic year 2012/2013 to new seminarians in Kendoumaya in the Archdiocese of Conakry. The seminary is named after Pope Benedict XVI and serves the seminarians from all three dioceses of the country.
In 2014, there were serious setbacks because of the Ebola epidemic resulting in the delay of opening the academic year. The seminary, although still in its infancy, managed to cope even with this challenge.
Until now, the seminarians have only been able to study philosophy here. For their theology studies, they have had to travel to Bamako in Mali. This is all about to change…
Aid to the Church in Need has provided substantial support for the new seminary. We are contributing $58,000 for the construction of an additional dormitory wing for the theology students; we are also giving $43,500 for the training of the 69 seminarians to help them reach their goal of becoming priests, to be of service to the Church and the African population.
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