By Stephen Ssenkaaba
As part of the celebrations to mark 50 years of Nswanjere Junior seminary next weekend, a new Golden Jubilee Monument will be unveiled at the seminary.
The seminary located 34 kilometres on Kampala-Mityana highway and about 200 meters off the main road is the only junior seminary in Kampala Archdiocese, where young catholic boys from primary four to primary seven are trained for the priesthood.
According to Fr. John Bosco Kiggundu, the rector, the Golden Jubilee Monument is a multi-stance staff members’ residence. It will be blessed by the Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga during the Golden Jubilee festivities to take place at the seminary on Saturday, February 22.
The festivities will be attended by the Vice President of Uganda, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi as a representative from the Government, several bishops, clergy and many Old students and well-wishers.
Fr. Kiggundu says this Golden Jubilee marks the realization of many fruits that have blossomed and blessed Uganda and the world through the vision of the founder of the seminary, Bishop Joseph Nakabaale Kiwanuka.
“We celebrate the realization of Archbishop Kiwanuka’s dream of nurturing young boys’vocations at a tender age,” he said.
To-date, Nswanjere Junior seminary has 180 students from Primary Four up to Primary Seven.
So far, Nswanjere has trained 2,657 students since her inception; this includes one Bishop, 136 priests and several professionals in different walks of life. Some of the prominent Old Boys of the seminary include: Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa, of Kiyinda Mityana Catholic diocese, Baale Francis,a prominent news anchor and Silver Kyagulanyi, famous songwriter and musician- among many others.
Fr. Kigundu said the seminary thrives on teaching proper moral values and providing a holistic education.
“In addition to following the national curriculum, seminarians are formed in human, religious and spiritual values. During the lessons of general catechism, they are taught the basics of the Catholic faith, the rite of Mass and how to use liturgical books,” he said.
This has enables the seminary to excel and produce all-round and talented citizens.
Nswanjere seminary was founded in 1964 by Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka- then newly appointed Archbishop of Kampala.
After several attempts to find a suitable location for the seminary, a rich landlord- Gabriel Byandaala offered 80 acres of land on Nswanjere and Kisuuto hills for the establishment of the seminary. On February 17, 1964, 61 pioneer students arrived to start their studies there.
The first rector at the seminary was Rev. Fr. John Mary Sserunjogi. He was followed by Fr. Henry Ssempala. Other rectors include Frs. Aloysius Muwanga, Charles Kimbowa(Jr.), Edward Ssebuliba and the current one Fr. John Bosco Kiggundu.
The seminary chapel was completed in 1967. It was blessed by Archbishop Emmanuel Nsubuga on March 13th 1973 and dedicated to Saints Joseph and Gabriel. Since its inception the seminary has had six rectors and several staff members.
Since its inception, Nswanjere has also grown in stature, not only building young peoples’ futures but also the lives of communities around through setting up schools, health centre facilities and providing employment for the local people.
The seminary has excelled in music, dance, drama and sport as well as academics. Last year, 24 out of the 28 primary seven candidates passed with Division One in the Primary Leaving Examinations. Only four scored Division Two.
This Vineyard of God continues to inspire excellence and good morals as it looks to a bright future.