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Seminary strives for self-sufficiency

Funding drop forces seminaries to support themselves

Two ex-seminarians repair cars to raise funds Two ex-seminarians repair cars to raise funds
  • ucanews.com reporter, Pathein
  • Myanmar
  • June 14, 2011
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A slump in foreign funding of seminaries is forcing cash-strapped local Church authorities to start relying on their own devices.

Around 20 minor seminaries across the country are believed to be affected.

Support for minor seminaries from international donors has been on the wane for several years now, says Father John Bosco, rector of the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary in Pathein diocese.

As a result we have been adopting long-term self-sufficiency programs he added.

Since 2006 Pathein diocese has been growing its own rice in a 5-hectare paddy field. This project alone covers 50 percent of the minor seminary’s monthly expenses.

Father John Bosco said expenses usually come to around US$1,000 per month.

Another project is a vehicle workshop and has two ex-seminarians working there

“Currently we’re not making a profit since most of the cars we repair are owned by the diocese. But we aim to make money in the future,” Father John Bosco said.

The seminary serves high school and university level students.

High school level students are asked to pay 50,000 kyat (US$50) per year and university level students have to pay 20,000 kyat to cover food, stationary and tuition fees according to said the rector.

Currently there are some 55 seminarians at the seminary.

“We ask only small contributions from seminarians because they might be put off trying for the priesthood if we charged too much like regular boarding schools,” Father John Bosco explained.

Former seminarians from the diocese are also helping out during these hard times.

Francis Ye Lwin 56, president of the ex-seminarians association, said each former seminarian in the association is looking to provide a rice bag per year.

We are also encouraging donations from local parishioner he said.

“I believe the seminary will be able to cope when outside assistance stops,” Ye Lwin added.

Related reports
Seminaries strive for self-sufficiency as funds dry up
Parishioners Offer Alms As Church Aims For Self-reliance
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