The minor seminary in the Diocese of Byumba was founded in 1956 by the Salesian Fathers, who continued to run it until 1962, when it was transferred to the diocese. When the seminary was built, the chapel was intended only as a temporary structure but was never able to be extended or replaced.
Over the years, it had become far too small, for while initially there were only 150 boys being taught there, after the genocide in 1994 their number increased to 400. There were other problems too, which had been there from the start but which, with the growing number of pupils, had become an ever more pressing problem. In the daytime above all, given the very low tin roof, the atmosphere in the chapel would get extremely hot and oppressive. It was very difficult to focus on prayer, as the rector explained to us. Besides, after almost 70 years the old corrugated roofing was starting to leak and let the rain in. Moreover, aesthetically the chapel also left a great deal to be desired, making it a decidedly uninviting place for prayer and meditation.
Thanks to the generous support of our benefactors, we were able to help with a grant of €22,000, and so now, the work has been completed. The young seminarians are delighted, because the chapel is now larger, more airy, and not so suffocatingly hot. Moreover, it is also much more beautiful and more conducive to prayer and contemplation than before.
Christian, as spokesperson for these young seminarians, has now written to us on behalf of them all. “Permit me to thank you for all the sacrifices you have made in order to enlarge and improve our chapel! We feel deeply honored, and we are praying for you!”