St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary

by John Conway

On the chapel wall of St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary hang pictures of Willie Collins and George Putnam perhaps Maryknoll Africa's ancestors in the formal religious formation and theological education for priesthood. One recalls also the ministry of Dick Hochwalt at Kipalapala and that of Bob Vujs, Walter Gleason, Mike Duffy, Jack Quinn and Artie Brown (library) in service to the Apostles of Jesus, a religious missionary congregation founded in Uganda in 1968. Each of these men labored in "a slice" of Maryknoll's global missionary task of founding and fostering local churches. In the major thrust of my missionary life, I follow in their footsteps.

I am resident teacher in the community of the Apostles of Jesus Scholasticate. It is a privileged position. Privileged in the sense of being a participant in a faith and prayer community whose focus is mission and a student / faculty community which engages contemporary theological issues. My particular concern is moral theology as art/science that seeks to bring sensitivity and method to the discernment of moral values, and that addresses the meaning of humanization as illuminated by the Good News of God in Jesus, the Christ.

I am stretched and challenged in my ministry as you are in yours. As the theologian Walter Brueggeman has expressed it: the redeeming story was always in and of a place. The place is East Africa: a kaleidoscope of cultures as well as a telescoping of the primal and the post-colonial modern society of Africa. I am privileged. I have more than "something" to get me out of bed in the morning and to lead me gratefully there in the evening.