Formation of Priests
Kindergarten and Primary [Grade] school take place in the candidates’ respective villages and towns. Currently, in Tanzania, Primary education is free in the sense that the tuition fee is paid by the government, except some few private primary schools or English medium academies. Parents are to pay for stationeries, lunch and school uniform.
Those who want to join the seminary in view of becoming priests, present their applications to the pastors of their respective parishes. After serious scrutiny, the Pastor chooses 10 students among many for the three minor seminaries: St. James Seminary – for Moshi diocesan priests; Maua Seminary, for Franciscan Capuchin, and Uru Seminary, for the Apostles of Jesus priests. These 10 are given interviews and written tests by the Rectors of these seminaries. In the end, the diocese normally gets 0-3 students. St. James Seminary gets about 35-50 students as freshmen class. This is a boarding school, with two vacations in a year: June/July and December/January. After 4 years of training, students sit for Form Four National Examinations. Those who pass with divisions I & II continue with Advanced Level studies for two years, after which they take Form Six National Examinations. This ends their secondary school journey.
Those who pass with division I, II & III are admitted to a Spiritual Formation Year in which they are given more time to reflect about their call and the nature of commitment they are about to make by going to major seminary. After this one-year of spiritual formation, they are sent to major seminaries (Kibosho or Ntungamo) for three years to study Philosophy.
Then they continue with the seminary training in the Theological seminaries (Kipalapala – Tabora, Segerea- Dar-es-Salaam, or Peramiho - Songea) for 5 years of Theological studies [including field work or pastoral year] before being ordained deacons and then priests. While the parents are responsible to pay for their children while they are in the minor seminary [high school], the Bishop of Moshi Diocese is responsible to pay for the seminarians in the major seminaries [Formation, Philosophy and Theology].
The school fees for St. James Seminary [Boarding School] for the 2019-2020 school year are $400 per semester or $800 per year. This covers tuition fees, food, boarding and lodging. The cost of one seminarian in the major seminary [University level] is $1000 per year. For the 2019-2020 school year, there are 120 major seminarians!