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As 2014 draws to an end, and with it another year of life passes at St John Vianney Seminary, we give thanks to God for accompanying us in both the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, of this year. In many ways it has been a busy and fruitful year, and among the many News Items reported on this year on this Site, several highlights are worth mentioning.
There has been a lot of activity on the premises with the construction of a new Accommodation Block to cater for our growing numbers of resident staff and students. On 9 June the newly built and named “St John XXIII Residence”, which can accommodate an additional 30 students, was officially blessed and opened by the Chairman of the Seminary Commission, Bishop Dabula Mpako. In addition, the Swimming Pool and its surrounds were completely revamped providing a wonderful recreational facility which will be used and enjoyed for years to come.
As an Institution of Higher Learning the academic discourse was stimulated with 3 Public Lectures taking place in 2014. On 22 May Fr Peter-John Pearson of the SACBC Parliamentary Office delivered a lecture titled, “Politics the Highest Form of Charity”, while on 7 August Dr Eduardo J. Echeverria, a lecturer at Sacred Heart Major Seminary Graduate School of Theology in Chicago, delivered a lecture titled, “The Boundaries of the Church: Vatican II and its Implications for Evangelization.” And finally on 6 October Fr Paul Requena, a lecturer at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, delivered a lecture titled “Current Bioethical Issues: A Challenge for Christian Reflection”.
On the Formation Staff front we welcomed Fr Mandla Gwacela from the Diocese of Mariannhill who commenced on 1 April, as well as Fr Musa Mncwango from the Diocese of Dundee who returned to the Staff after successfully completing his studies in Rome. At the same time we bid farewell to Fathers Owen Wilcock, Ricardo Smuts, and John Bosco Asiimwe who leave at the end of this year to return to their respective Dioceses’ having fulfilled their mandates.
On 22 October, one of the high points of our annual calendar, our Graduation Ceremony took place where our Grand Chancellor, Bishop Dabula Mpako conferred Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) Degrees on 29 Candidates, and Bachelor of Theology Degrees on 13 Candidates. Fr Smangaliso Mkhatshwa delivered a stimulating Keynote Address.
Both Staff and Students were delighted to welcome a number of Parish groups and Sodalities who visited us this year. It is of great comfort to know that our lay faithful prayerfully accompany and support us on this journey.
And so, as this busy, sometimes challenging, but ultimately fruitful year is reaching its end, the students and staff are returning to their homes and Dioceses for the summer break. We give thanks to God for guiding us, strengthening us, and ensuring that we safely navigated the challenges of 2014.
We thank the Bishops of our participating Dioceses’ for entrusting their students to us and for their ongoing support and encouragement. It was a pleasure throughout the year to have a number of Bishops visiting us, staying over, and celebrating Mass for us. Their visits are a visible sign of their closeness to us and an indication that the Seminary is important to them.
We also thank and pray for our many Benefactors, generous people, both locally and abroad, who have made it possible for us to continue our lives and work at St John Vianney Seminary. Above we thank all who pray for us for we know that “Unless the Lord builds, the builders labour in vain” (Ps 126).
Be sure to return to these pages in 2015 to keep in touch
with all the happenings at SJV NPC!