Catholic Mission’s first appeal for 2021 will focus on the formation of seminarians in Cameroon, where young men are still following the call to the priesthood, despite the backdrop of an ongoing civil war.
Catholic Mission national director Fr Brian Lucas said the men studying at St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Bambui “will not only support those in their faith communities but will be advocates for change and carers for all in need”.
“In many countries around the world priests often fulfil not only a leadership role for their local parish, but for the wider community,” Fr Lucas said.
St Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary has seen a rise in the number of men following their vocation, despite ongoing conflict in north-western Cameroon. However, with a rising cost of living, many seminarians like Benjamin cannot afford to continue their studies without help.
“I know I have something to contribute. I just want to do something simple, to be of service,” Benjamin said.
Since 2016, communities like Benjamin’s in the north-west of the country have faced ongoing conflict due to government oppression and separatist attacks between the French and English-speaking states of Cameroon. Over half a million people from rural communities have become internally displaced, with many fleeing to larger cities to escape the violence.
“The training of priests in the mission territories, especially in places of conflict is an ongoing challenge,” Fr Lucas said.
“Often local communities do not have the means to ensure their priests are well trained and Catholic Mission through the Society of Saint Peter Apostle provides the opportunity for future priests to fulfil their vocation.”