Most of the traditional missionary countries of the Southern hemisphere operate an economy that has its citizens living on one to five US dollars a day.
Finances are regularly required so that children can attend the most basic of education and many times parents do not have access to the meagre finances required.
So when we come to speak of educating the local people we are talking about a required investment of finance. Educating people beyond secondary school level requires access to finances that in most poor countries, the ordinary person could not even dream of. So in order to secure the presence of a local indigenous Church in these countries we have to financially provide for the education of our young sisters, brothers and priests.
This is the purpose of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle. Funds are collected from the Churches throughout the world that are directed specifically to the education of men and women who will be the future brothers, sisters and priests of the local indigenous Church.
When the Society was established in 1889 it supported 2,700 seminarians in their journey of faith. The Society has continued to grow each year and today it assists in the funding of 884 seminaries providing education and formation for c. 73,000 from all corners of the globe.
As vocations dwindle in Ireland and Western Europe, there is an explosion of vocations in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands. The number of native priests increases due to the prayers and financial offerings of committed Catholics.
An example of the difference Irish donations are making is manifest in an e/mail from Fr. Paul Mary Chukwukebe, the Rector of Holy Family Spiritual Year seminary in Okpuno Awka, Nigeria. In November 2013 he writes: “I wish to thank you for the generous subsidies you gave to us this year. Our letter of gratitude along with financial report and other documents will get to you through the Nuncio”. Over US$10,000 was sent to Fr. Paul from Irish donations to support the running of his seminary in 2013. This US$10,000 was only a small subsidy of the total of c. $430,000 that was sent from Ireland in 2013 in order to support the education of priests, brothers and sisters in Nigeria.