St. Paul’s Seminary Benefactors’ Day celebration
- A beacon of Hope
The yearly Benefactors’ Day celebration at the St. Paul’s Seminary at Sowutuom in Accra, has been one of the greatest historic event of the Seminary, during which the authorities invite the benefactors to celebrate Mass with them.
The Mass, usually presided over by a Bishop, is to appreciate the efforts of the benefactors, bless and pray with them and to discuss the way forward about the growth and future of the Seminary.
The Benefactors and benefactresses were individually helping the Seminary. But in the year 2000, during the Rectorship of Rev. Msgr. Francis Abuah-Quansah, they came together as one body to collectively help in the formation of the Seminarians and support Seminary Projects through fundraising activities, hence the institution of Benefactors Day Celebration.
This year’s celebration would also be held with a Mass on Sunday, May 22, 2016 to be presided over by Most Rev. Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum, Bishop of Koforidua.
Commendation from the Rector
In an interview with The Catholic Standard in his office, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Arthur, the Rector, praised other Catholics who together with the Benefactors and Benefactresses, have been pooling their resources together to help in the development of the Seminary.
He commended the benefactors for their continued prayers and support to the Seminary since its establishment 27 years ago.
Fr. Arthur lauded benevolent Catholics who since the inception of the Seminary in 1988, had been supporting the infrastructural projects of the Seminary, individual Seminarians as well as prayers for the growth of the Seminary.
He particularly commended them for their support in putting up a Rector’s bungalow, semi-detached Staff bungalows, construction of a fence wall, Library, Grotto and providing the Seminary with a generator plant.
He said some of the Benefactors also offered their service to lecture in various areas of the academia for free for five years, a gesture he said was appreciable.
He extolled the support of the Parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Church at Sowutuom and some Parishes in Accra for their interest in the growth of the Seminary.
Similarly, he thanked the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Apostolic Nunciature, the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle in Rome, the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, for their invaluable support to the Seminary.
He said because of the increase in the number of years for the study of Philosophy, it has become necessary for work on the Spiritual Year Hall to be completed in earnest to enable the Seminary to accommodate the upsurge in the number of Seminarians.
He mentioned that the early completion of the Hall would also ensure the total separation of the Spiritual Year Seminarians from the Philosophy Seminarians, and help the Spiritual year Seminarians focus on the goals of the programme without any distraction.
Fr. Arthur said the Seminary was unable to admit more qualified students because of inadequate accommodation and called for concerted support to overcome this problem.
The Rector said with the increase in the Seminary population, it had plans to acquire an additional Bus for the Seminary.
He said the poor road network in the Seminary was also causing health problems and there was the urgent need to tar them to reduce the dust, calling on Catholics and well-wishers to continue supporting the Seminary in diverse ways- spiritually and physically.
He commended the self-help spirit of Seminarians who serve as masons, carpenters, plumbers, electricians to support the infrastructural development of the Seminary.
Fr. Arthur, who was appointed Acting Rector in 2009 and confirmed in 2012, was optimistic that the Seminary would see more progress in the coming years, saying that the Seminary welcomed any help that would move it forward.
Fr. Arthur, who is also the Chairman of the Regional Conference of West Africa (RECOWA-CERAO) Seminary Rectors, said that there had been cordial relations between Seminaries in the Sub-Region, describing the Association as a useful one and its next meeting would be held at St. Paul’s Seminary in Ghana next year.
Formation of the Seminary
In 1983, the Board of Governors of the St. Peter’s Regional Seminary at Pedu decided to found a new Seminary to take care of the increase in vocation in the then Cape Coast Ecclesiastical Province.
At the time, the St. Peter’s Seminary comprised of two years of Philosophy and four years of Theological studies. The dream was to split Philosophy from Theology and add a year of Spirituality and Discernment to the two years of Philosophy studies at Sowutuom in Accra.
The implementation was facilitated by the then Rector of St. Peter’s Seminary, Most Rev. Thomas Mensah of blessed memory and a development committee headed by Mrs. Eleanor Arthur.
The Seminary actually started taking shape in 1987, with the first Seminarians reporting in January 1988. Many individuals worked tirelessly in various ways for the growth and development of the Seminary.
The early stages were marked by remarkable sacrifices on the part of the Seminarians and Formators.
Appointment of Rector
In 1987, Rev. Msgr. Johnson Rudolf Apietu of blessed memory, was appointed the first Rector, while Rev. Fr. Michael Obosu was chosen as the first Spiritual Director, who were both accommodated at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, pending the official opening of the Seminary. By the end of December 1987, the building was partially completed for the Seminary to begin its formation work.
From 1988 to 2016, there had been four Rectors who had dedicatedly and zealously served the Seminary to its present stage, ensuring its growth spiritually and physically.
The first Rector, Msgr. Apietu served from 1987 to 1993; the second, Msgr. Abuah-Quansah from 1993 to 2003; the third Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Osei-Soadwa from 2003 to 2009 and Fr. Francis Arthur from 2009 to date.