St Joseph’s Minor Seminary Aboke, a Center of Formation for Holistic Education

St Joseph’s Minor Seminary Aboke, a Center of Formation for Holistic Education

St Joseph’s Minor Seminary Aboke, a Center of Formation for Holistic Education

Fr Isaac Ojok

St Joseph’s Minor Seminary Aboke in Uganda’s Lira Diocese was founded in the year 1962 when Lira was still under Gulu diocese before its Ecclesiastical territory could be erected on 12th July 1968.

The Seminary is located at Abongodero Hill, Aboke Sub County in the current political district of Kole-Northern Uganda which is approximately 35 kms North West of Lira city.

The Minor Seminary that has been dedicated under the patronage and watchful care of St Joseph, the Spouse of Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of Universal Church is surrounded by other institutions of learning.

Among the institutions bordering the Seminary are; St Mary’s College Aboke Girls, a center of learning that share a fence with Seminary also a point where139 female students were on October 10th 1996 abducted by the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by their illusive leader Joseph Kony, Atin Yesu Nursery and Primary School, Abongodero Girls and Boys Primary Schools all founded by church respectively.

St Joseph’s Seminary is further surrounded by a health facility known as Aboke Mission Health Center III in Western direction, a facility where Seminarians and students from other neighboring schools are normally checked and treated in case of any illness.

Since its inception in 1962, a number of people who studied from the Seminary some have become priests, while others are highly placed in Government and Civil Society Organizations.

One of the Old Boys who studied from the Minor Seminary Aboke is the Rt. Rev Sabino Ochan Odoki, the Bishop of Arua Diocese including the priests who are currently serving in Lira diocese and other dioceses in and beyond the country.Through its formation programs from the onset based on the four pillars, the Seminary is till the center of formation for holistic education and excellence in the region and nationally.

Academically, the Seminary has remained the center of excellence in terms of performance in passing national examinations both in Science and Arts subjects.

As a result, the civil authorities in the region are grateful to the church for the gift of St Joseph’s Seminary, the institution that is offering quality and holistic education to students in the region and nationally. With the team of both teaching and non-teaching staff, the Seminary has remained a center where students freely embrace and learn the value of productive work as the means in which human welfare and society can be transformed following the example of St Joseph, a dedicated servant who embraced and exhibited the love for work. Socially, students interact freely with one another during sports and other co-curricular activities like in scouting, music tournament among other activities which helps them to create healthy rapport between the Seminary and other learning institutions within the region.

The existence of clubs and movements in the Seminary helps students to nurture and deepen their understanding, promote evangelization among fellow students within and in other learning institutions around the Seminary including the local community.

Spiritually the existence of the Seminary and the activities being done is positively impacting the lives of the local community around when they observe the life of prayers being nurtured, the spirit of being charitable to one another, moreover this is being spread to the various areas in the region when Seminarians are for their holidays within their communities.

When in the Seminary, the students also learn to be self-reliant through hard work, embracing income generating activities that is highly demonstrated in Seminary vast estates of Land, this makes them produce food for consumption.

Taking part in environmental conservation is one key fundamental area that the students themselves are motivated to champion towards promoting green environment, a move which is in line with Encyclical Letter Laudato Si. This is not only in the Seminary, but the community have embraced similar initiative of tree planting drive in their home estates to promote healthy environment.

Apparently, the Association of the Old Boys known as St Joseph’s Seminary Aboke Old Boys Association (JOSOBA) is always standing in solidarity with Seminary, through regular visits, holding sports encounter with Seminarians and other forms of support.In his message on the occasion of the Solemnity of St Joseph for this year held on 20th March 2023, the Bishop of Lira Diocese Rt. Rev Sanctus Lino Wanok was grateful to the Rector and the staff for taking part in the formation of Seminarians, their dedication in nurturing and providing quality and holistic education.

The Bishop further expressed gratitude to the surrounding communities for their hospitality being accorded to St Joseph’s Seminary noting that the community should own the existence of the institution in their locality and take it as the opportunity for them to get transformed.

On this day, he underscored the need for the formation program to be free from fear based on the conviction of the Seminarians who are being formed to be future priests and leaders of society.

The prelate challenged the parents and the congregation to work together in promoting vocations to Priesthood, Religious life and Sacrament of holy Matrimony so that the sole aim of establishing St Joseph’s Seminary Aboke may continue to be fulfilled and bear fruit as it is being done at the moment.

In his address to Seminarians, Bishop Wanok implored them to remain attentive in seeing, listening and discovering the voice of God whom they are being prepared and formed to serve in the future, adding that presently, seeing and listening to the voice of God and discovering His Love is very paramount in the formation not only in the Seminaries but also in other institutions of learning in secular setting.

He reiterated the need for Seminarians to dismiss fear from their lives, be attentive to the voice of God to enable them overcome many temptations in the world which may turn out to be the distraction to their vocation to priesthood.

The celebration of the Solemnity of St Joseph was on the 20th March 2023 presided over by the Rt Rev Sanctus Lino Wanok, the Bishop of Lira diocese, present also was the Rt Rev Giuseppe Franzelli the Bishop Emeritus of Lira diocese, the priests, religious, civil authorities, members from the Association of the Old Boys (JOSOBA)and the local populace.

St Joseph’s Minor Seminary is currently being managed by Rev Fr Godfrey Ogwang as the Rector assisted by Fr Francis Elvis Ojok the vice Rector, Fr Bruno Odongo the General Spiritual director and Fr Francis Akono respectively who are being supported by the competent team members of the Board of Governors. End