Rubya Seminary, Bukoba, Tanzania

Fr. Joseph Kamagisha, who occasionally presides at the Thomas Merton Center sponsored 8:45 a.m Sunday mass, has often spoken of the Rubya Seminary in his native Tanzania. Following is a description of the school written by it's Vice Rector, Fr. Fulgens Rutatekururwa, accompanied by some interesting photographs.



Seminarians Leaving St Mary's Chapel

On November 1, 1903 the White Fathers inaugurated the Minor Seminary at Kyegoromora, Kagondo Parish in Bukoba Diocese. It was transferred to Rubya in November 1904, taking the name Rubya - St. Mary's Seminary. The purpose of its foundation was, and still is, to train young Tanzanians for that sublime calling to the priesthood, so that they may cater for the spiritual and moral needs of their own fellow citizens and others outside.

On August 15, 1917, four major seminarians were ordained priests, being the first fruits of this Seminary and the first Tanzanian priests. Fr. Oscar Kyakaraba and Msgr. Willibard Mupapi were from Bukoba Diocese and Fr. Coelestine Kipanda and Fr. Angelo Mwirabure were from Mwanza Archdiocese.


Youthful Seminarians

 Since its inception in 1904, the seminary has admitted 2846 students of whom 253 became priests for different dioceses in Tanzania and other various religious congregations. Out of 181 priests ordained for Bukoba Diocese alone from this seminary, 45 have passed away while 95 priests are actively engaged in pastoral activities within Bukoba Diocese and the rest are serving in other dioceses and institutions worldwide. Currently there are 140 seminarians and 15 teaching Staff members. In addition to this there are 42 supporting employees.

 Bishop Nestor Timanywa Seated, Center , With Seminary Teaching Staff


Geographical location:

 Rubya is located 75 km away from the regional centre of Bukoba situated in Kagera region. It is in the South West of Bukoba town, and is itself located on the West of the Lake Victoria. Rubya is about 5000 ft above sea level (1500m) and near Equator at about latitude 2o South and longitude 31o East. It is beautifully scenic with evergreen vegetation, mild temperatures (15oC - 26oC) and a rainfall of about 1300mm per annum. Rubya Seminary occupies 1.3 square kilometres and is surrounded by a sizable Catholic population.


Academic activities:

 Besides being a vocational school, Rubya Seminary teaches standard secondary school subjects outlined by the National Syllabus. It teaches Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Basic Math, Geography, History, English language, Civics, Kiswahili Language, Bible knowledge, Religion and Latin Language at ordinary level. It also offers Math, Physics, Geography, History and Kiswahili at advanced level. This goes hand in hand with the formation of young seminarians whose ages range from 13 to 20 years. The general routine includes daily Holy mass, lesson in the classrooms, spiritual conferences, daily rosary, sports and manual work.


Refractory and Playground


Junior Library

Economic situation:

 The main source of income is derived from school fees which is about 120 USD per student per year. It is kept at a minimum to ensure students from low income families to be able to fulfill their aspirations to become priests. The other sources include some money from small scale projects such as farming, piggery and diary farming, and the subsidy from Rome which is now being steadily reduced. Centenary celebrations: For the time being Ruby Seminary alumni are preparing themselves to celebrate 100 years on November 27, 2004 since the seminary inauguration. Among many other plans to mark that great anniversary day, contributions are now being collected so that the seminary may have an administration block which will include assembly hall, resource room, computer laboratory and offices. There is in fact a high demand of external support from other people.

May the Lord bless you,

Fr. Fulgent Rutatekururwa, VICE RECTOR.