Opening of Fatima Catholic University
ur aim is to give the country new hope through education” said Fr Luigi Brioni, Xaverian Provincial Superior in Sierra Leone with regard to a small Catholic university Fatima Institute which will open next month. “Sierra Leone is still recovering from a terrifying civil war” said Fr Brioni. “Most of the infrastructures were destroyed and it will take years to rebuild them. Education is one of the most serious emergencies. The government has launched a splendid program to guarantee all children primary instruction but it lacks schools, books and teachers. Unless children are guaranteed access to study a whole generation could be lost”.
“The local Catholic Church wants to help and the aim of Fatima Institute is to provide quality instruction” said Fr Brioni. “In fact primary education is not the only need, it is necessary to prepare future leaders for the country. This is why we will insist on English language studies to enable students to communicate in an ever more inter-dependent world”.
“We religious and Africans understand one another” said Italian Xaverian missionary Fr Giuseppe Berton, with years of experience in Sierra Leone. “It is part of our mission to be close to people and share their suffering and joy. So the fact that Africans trust religious leaders is a call to be true to our mission. We must make sure this trust is not betrayed”.
Most of the infrastructures were destroyed and it will take years to rebuild them. Education is one of the most serious emergencies. Unless children are guaranteed access to study a whole generation could be lost.
Fatima Institute promoted by Bishop Giorgio Biguzzi of Makeni and the Xaverian Fathers aims to form young generations to respect the gospel values of human dignity, the common good, the importance of truth and justice, moral responsibility. The little Catholic university will supply the country with experts in religion, education, social work and agriculture.
Difficulties encountered with the new institution are overcome in a spirit of enthusiasm.
The institute receives electricity from the generator of the local Catholic Radio Maria; the building has bathrooms, although water must be carried in by the bucket; some but not all the classrooms are ready for use. Because textbooks are scarce an effort is being made to obtain a slide projector and photocopy machine to have texts ready for students when courses start on 1 October.
(From Fides Service)