The establishment of the CFC-Tamale around the 1990s was a task accompanied by a lot of challenges. The reason which provoked this idea was the need for a multicultural formation of SVD seminarians and separation of Theologians from Philosophers. From the onset, SVD Seminarians stayed on the St. Victor's Seminary main campus, together with the Diocesan Seminarians. Many Alumni recall how being formed together with Diocesans was difficult. Later in 1984, the St. Joseph Feinademetz Philosophy house was built where both SVD Philosophers and Theologians stayed. St. Victor's Major Seminary is a Diocesan Seminary located in the Northern part of Ghana (Tamale). It was established by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in the 1950s for the training of seminarians from the five Dioceses of the North (Damango, Yendi, Wa, Navrongo-Bolgatanga and Tamale Archdiocese) and those of the Missionaries of Africa. The SVDs joined them later in the 1970s. Many people have been asking why SVDs chose to locate all their formation houses in the Northern Region of Ghana which has unconducive climatic conditions for learning. Two SVD priests were sent to carry out research in St. Peter’s Seminary in Pedu (Central Region) and compare it with St. Victor`s Seminary in Tamale (Northern Region). They found out that in Pedu, there were no lecturers except canon lawyers who were “jacks of all trades”. On the other hand, St. Victors had a variety of lecturers especially from the White Fathers who were specialists in different areas. Due to this St. Victors, Tamale was academically more organized. If it were you, where would you choose? While deliberations were going on, SVD seminarians stayed together in St. Victor’s main Campus. Later in 1984 an SVD priest volunteered to build the formation house for SVD seminarians (theologians and philosophers) which is the St. Joseph Freinademtz philosophy house. In this house SVD seminarians could be formed in the ARNOLDUS SPIRITUALITY. A need for a multicultural living and formation necessitated the establishment of the Common Formation Centres in the AFRAM (Africa Madagascar) zone. It was agreed to have at least one CFC in a French speaking country (Congo) and another in Ghana for Anglophones. But at this time Kenya was quick to buy the idea and established a formation house in Nairobi. Bishop Vincent Boi-Nai recalled that later in the early 1990s he was charged with a responsibility of finding an appropriate place for CFC in Tamale. The first trial was around Kataraga, the village next to Kamina Barracks. However, this was a bit complicated because of presence of the Barracks. He was introduced to the Chief of Tampe Kukuo who offered to lease to him a two Acre land at Ghc. 6000 for fifty years. At this time, a traditional shrine which was in the compound had to be removed. Most. Rev. Boi-Nai became the first Rector of CFC but the seminarians camped in Demetz house. Meanwhile the construction work by Dr. Enoch (White Fathers) began and Fr. Vincent Owusu took the task. The main challenge we had from the onset was with Dagomba culture. Dagomba chiefs only lease the land but traditional trees on the land remain under their possession. This has been our challenge till date because women would come at any time to the compound in the name of collecting firewood. Although this poses a security threat, it is an issue we need to bear with for the purpose of enhancing peace and unity. As we look to the future with hope, we are encouraged to develop interest in learning other languages in order to be effective in the mission field. We are also challenged as seminarians to come back as formators after ordination so as to help move the formation programme to higher levels.
Most Rev. Vincent Sowah Boi-Nai (Bishop of Yendi Diocese)
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