Bukoba Catholic Diocese at P.O., Bukoba, KR Private Bag TZ - SEMINARIES
One of the blessings of the church of Bukoba is the priestly vocations. Bukoba was lucky to have bishop Hirth who believed in the capacity of the Africans to be priests. Just 11 years after opening the first mission he opened the seminary at Kyegoromora in 1903 and later moved it to a cooler place in Rubya. He gave it priority and appointed there the best of his staff. Some missionaries accused him of wanting to ordain priests before baptising people.
He got the first fruits in 1917, just 25 years after arrival, of whom two priests were from Mwanza, two from Rwanda and two from Bukoba namely Fr. Osacar Kyakalaba and Fr. Willibald Mupapi. The priests were well educated and trained equal to their European counterparts. In 1929 when Rubya major seminary was closed and the seminarians were sent to Kipalapala, Tabora it had already produces 32 priests of whom 16 were of Bukoba and the rest of Rwanda (6) and Mwanza (10).
In 1961 the seminary got its first African rector, Rev. Fr. Joseph Benedict Labre.Rugemalira
Rev. Fr. Joseph Benedict Labre with students of Form II 1964
The junior seminary of Rubya has continued well to date. In 2004 when it was celebrating its first centenary it was proud to have educated 2,930 students of whom 265 became priests including one cardinal and 7 bishops. (By 2010 the bishops were 10)
When Laurean Rugambwa became bishop of the vicariate of Lower Kagera which later became Rutabo diocese, he had to send his seminarians to Bunena preparatory seminary as the first step to qualify fo Rubya seminary but the quota he was given was small. In 1957 he founded his preparatory seminary as counterpart of that of Bunena in Bukoba diocese.. When he became cardinal and moved to Bukoba, the preparatory seminary of Bunena was suppressed and all the pupils went to Rutabo that has survived to date.
Rutabo preparatory seminary receives pupils after orimary five and gives them intense preparation for two years, of primary VI and VII before they join Rubya seminary for secondary school studies to Form VI. It gives a solid academic and spiritual preparation to the young seminarians.
Rutabo Seminary ( Photo by Bishop Almachius)
NTUNGAMO MAJOR SEMINARY
The first major seminary in Bukoba was since 1909 at Rubya just next to the junior seminary. They got their first six priests in 1917. In 1929 the major seminary was closed and the fraters were sent to Kipalapala and later in 1932 to Katigondo in Uganda.
In 1964 Laurean cardinal Rugambwa opened a major seminary next to his residence at Ntungamo to cater for Bukoba and Rulenge dioceses.
Rev. Fr. Justinian Bamanyisa with Bukoba Fratres 1967
In 1967 the three major seminaries in Northern and western Tanzania were combined into one regional seminary with three stations, Ntungamo, Bukoba and Kibosho, Moshi for philosophy and Kipalapala for theology. Later in 1983 Segerea seminary was build in Dar es Salaam by His Eminence Laurean Cardinal Rugambwa for theology. To-day Ntungamo seminary is a national-regional seminary for Philosophy.
Ntungamo Fratres in 1981