Mass Offerings for the educators at the Seminary of Gbarna
The country of Liberia in West Africa was initially established by African slaves from America, who had been repatriated back to the African continent. Sadly, however, there has been conflict between their descendants and the already established local tribes, conflict which has continued to this day. From 1989 to 2003 the country witnessed one of the bloodiest civil wars on the African continent; a war that it has yet to recover from – with regard to individual spirituality in particular. “Even worse than the infrastructure was the destruction of our souls,” says Father Dennis Nimene, the secretary general of the bishops’ conference. Moreover, an Ebola epidemic, hit from 2014 to 2015, brining with it further devastation.
Christians account for 42.5% and are a majority in the population, although the followers of traditional African religions likewise represent a large section of the population with 39.4%. However, the boundaries between the two are often somewhat fluid, since there is widespread syncretism, blending a variety of different religious practices together.
Priests Vital to the Future of the Church and Society
Good priests are vital to the future of the Church and society in the country, helping people to recover true inner peace by means of their faith in God and the Good News of Jesus Christ. In doing so, they will not only make a vital contribution to the life of the individual, but at the same time contribute to peace and reconciliation in this wounded land. Their work is extremely important in helping the Catholic faithful deepen their faith and avoid sliding into superstitious practices.
Saint Paul’s College in Gbarna is the only seminary in the country, and it is here that 34 young men from the three dioceses of the country are currently studying for the priesthood. ACN knows they are greatly needed and therefore regularly contributes to the support of their formation.
Not only do these seminarians need our support, but those who teach them, for they receive only a small salary, leaving them with no time to earn a little extra through other activities such as serving in the parishes, since their work in nurturing the spiritual and intellectual growth of their students demands the fullest possible attention and commitment. It is not simply a matter of equipping these young men with the appropriate academic training required to proclaim the Faith, but above all of safeguarding and supporting their human and spiritual development.
And so ACN is also helping the educators in the seminary by providing Mass Offerings for their support, and enabling them to devote themselves fully to their mission in the seminary. Simply put, the quality of the educators who devote their time and expertise to the spiritual and human growth of their seminarians, is an absolute precondition for the formation of good Catholic priests.