Message from the Vicar General of Kampala Archdiocese on the Occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Nswanjere Junior Seminary
It is with great pleasure and joy that I join the rest of the world in congratulating my Alma Mater, Nswanjere Junior Seminary for having reached the age of 50. Indeed, what began as a small seed has sprouted into a great and healthy tree that has yielded abundant fruit both in season and out of season. I hail the late Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka and the band of men around him who conceived the idea of a Junior Seminary and transformed it into a reality. It is thanks to these that we are now gathered to celebrate. They were men who had a mission, coupled with the vision to pursue and attain their goal.
The Nswanjere I know best is that one of the Late 60’s. That was the Nswanjere of our times. I joined Nswanjere in 1966 together with 50 other boys from various places and walks of life. This was the third intake after the Seminary’s opening. Of the 51 of us who joined, 5 made it to the Priesthood; Fr. Kirunda Deusdedit, Fr. Zziwa Andrew, Fr. Mpanju Gerald, the Late Fr. Ssemakula and I. our class, like te rest of the first classes made a peculiar contribution to the development of Nswanjere. We were some to the first bricks the foundational bricks of this great edifice that is Nswanjere.
From a personal perspective, joining Nswanjere was a landmark and milestone in my life. It was my first time to be away from home for such long stretches of time. Besides home, therefore, Nswanjere was another place that made a profound impression on me. As far as formation is concerned, we had the best staff. We were still children but the staff’s efficiency and caring attitude made Nswanjere a good place to be, to learn and to be formed. The staff understood us very well and handled us in a way commensurate with the needs of children of our age back then.
The teaching was excellent. It was at Nswanjere hat I began loving Mathematics, English and Luganda. Learning Luganda provided a firm foundation for the Latin I was to encounter later on at the Minor Seminary. Academics aside, human formation was also superb.
The Nswanjere of our times gathered children from a variety of places and walks of life all over the country. It was good to be in such a place, living with so many other friends. It helped us to develop interpersonal and interactive skills at an early age and enhanced our social life. Life at Nswanjere was characterized by a strong sense of brotherhood and solidarity among pupils.
As children, we enjoyed ourselves. The staff members were also close to us. They made sure that we had a good time at Nswanjere. They had a parental and caring attitude. On Sunday, for example, we would go for country walks with the Rector. The sisters were also real mothers to us. They always encouraged and advised us, and most importantly, they made sure that we are well-fed. Such was the Nswanjere of our times the Nswanjere that provided a firm foundation for what we have become later on in life. I am very grateful to the staff of our time for the formative ears I received from Nswanjere.
Gratitude also goes to the subsequent staff members who have moulded and shaped our Alma mater over the years. Since 1966, Nswajere has gone through the hands of selfless men who have done their best to make Nswanjere what it now is without expecting any rewards. And like the good servants spoken of in the Gospels, their joy was only derived from their capacity to say, “We are unworthy servants. We have only done our duty” (Lk 17:10). It is therefore fitting that as we celebrate the achievements made in the past 50 years, we also call to mind the contributions of these people.
Nswanjere has gone through a lot these past 50 years. Great strides have been made. Indeed, this moment is worth celebrating. Congratulations to my fellow old Boys and the present generation.
Long live Nswanjere!
Msgr. Charles Kasibante
Vicar General Archdiocese of Kampala