ORDINARIRLY, seminary training lasts 11-15 years, depending on what level an individual joins the seminary. People can join the seminary at preparatory, minor, major seminary levels.
There are very few preparatory seminaries (less than five) in the country; therefore, some people begin their priestly formation in the minor and major seminaries.
Preparatory seminary training covers three or four years of primary education (P4-P7). Minor seminary training covers six years of secondary education (S1-S6).
The major seminary covers four years of training, leading to the award of a degree in philosophy.
This is followed by one year of pastoral work in a parish or in a junior/minor seminary and later, three years of training in Ggaba National Seminary, St Mbaaga Seminary (Ggaba) or St Paulâ€™s Major Seminary, Kinyamasika in Fort Portal leading to the award of a degree in theology.
These qualifications are awarded by Makerere University. This is followed by one year of deaconate and finally priesthood.
People can also join the seminary after completing secondary or tertiary education. These undergo eight years of training at St. Mbaaga Major Seminary, followed by pastoral work, deaconate and priesthood.
St. Mbaaga seminary awards degrees in Theology (Divinity). This is the diocesan arrangement. One can also join Religious congregations such as Comboni and Verona Fathers.
While there are very few preparatory seminaries, nearly all the 19 dioceses in the country have a minor seminary where students from a particular diocese begin their formation.
There are, however, five Major seminaries: Katigondo in Masaka, Alokulum in Gulu, Ggaba and St. Mbaaga in Kampala as well as St. Paulâ€™s seminary in Fort Portal. In preparatory and minor seminaries, seminarians follow the ordinary school curriculum in addition to studying Latin (especially in the minor seminaries) and are examined by the Uganda National Examinations Board.
They also undertake co-curricular activities in drama, sports, music and other activities.
While on holiday, seminarians are answerable to the Parish priests of their home parishes.
They are expected to help with parish duties and their performance is assessed and reported back to the seminary.
All Catholic males from stable family backgrounds are eligible to join the seminary. Seminary training calls for obedience, hard work and dedication.
The Golden rule in the seminary is â€œTo Always be where the community isâ€
Compiled by Stephen Ssenkaaba
What is a seminary?