One in every 10 seminarians around the world is supported by ACN. Most of them are studying in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Without this help there would be fewer priests in the world. Our aid covers many aspects, from scholarships, via construction aid through to help with the cost of printing religious literature.

In a message of greeting to the candidates at the Benedict XVI Interdiocesan Seminary in Kendoumayah, GuineaConakry, given to mark the consecration of the newly opened seminary chapel, Emeritus Pope Benedict wrote as follows: ‘In December 1944, when I was called up for military service, the company commander asked each new recruit what his chosen profession would be. I replied that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The recruiting sergeant told me I’d better choose a different profession, since in the new Germany there would be no need for priests any more. 

But I knew even then that this new Germany was finished and that after the terrible devastation it would need priests more than ever before. Admittedly, the situation today is altogether different, but there are still many people who believe we no longer need priests any more; that it is a calling without a future. What an error! The priest is not a manager of the community’, Pope Benedict told them, ‘He is God’s messenger among us.’

It is this same outlook that infuses the prayer and studies of the 73 seminarians who are currently training here in Kendoumayah. The first ordinations to the diaconate have already taken place and the first messengers from here will be sent out this year to bear witness to God’s love for his people.

How greatly the world needs this message today! And there could be still more of these messengers, including here in Kendoumayah. For there is not enough space at present; one of the dormitory buildings is still unfinished, with the result that some of the seminarians have to sleep in one of the classrooms.

A makeshift solution that needs to end as soon as possible. We have promised to help so that the work can be finished and that this world may be blessed with more Catholic priests. They come from every corner of the globe:

  • In Papua New Guinea you are supporting 17 seminarians,
  • in Ecuador another 40 in the seminary of San Pedro in the Archdiocese of Portoviejo,
  • another 34 in the seminary of St. Pius X in Istmina, Colombia,
  • 105 in the seminary of Fenoarivo in Madagascar, and
  • 49 seminarians of the Basilian Fathers in Ukraine – to name just a few.

They will be a source of renewal in the Church and in the world for they know, thanks to a thorough formation, that ‘the true success of our mission is a gift of grace’, as Pope Francis has reminded us all.

This article can be found in Mirror 0117.