.- Despite the war-torn surroundings of nothern Uganda, priestly vocations continue to increase, said Fr. Cosmas Alule in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
“Currently there are 126 candidates living in the seminary, which is housed within the confines of a refugee camp. In the next semester there are expected to be 151. There is a still greater number of interested potential candidates, but the capacity of the seminary is limited,” said Father Alule.
Because the seminary is located within the camp, several people have suggested that it be moved to a safer location. But Father Alule believes that it is advantageous both for the refugees and for the seminarians for the seminary to remain within the camp. "We are not going to abandon the suffering; we want to show our solidarity with the people", he explained.
The rector believes that these future priests should share the lives of the ordinary people and "bear witness for Christ in the existing situation." And while it is true that every priest belongs to the Universal Church, he is nonetheless rooted in the concrete situation of his own people and society and it is here that he must bring the Gospel to the people, he said.
Fr. Alule is, in his own words, "optimistic" that the situation in the north of Uganda will continue to stabilise further. Although the peace deal between the government and the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army still hasn't been officially signed, the situation has been quieter for the past year, he told ACN. The biggest challenge now for the Church, he believes, is to help those people who have lost all hope as a result of the war and to restore in them a sense of faith in a better future -- in short to be "a light for society".