Bosnia and Herzegovina – Church beginning to recover from the devestation of war
During the Bosnian war from 1992 to 1995 around half the Catholic Croats in the country were forced to leave and seek refuge abroad. Today there are only around 450,000 Catholics still living here. While it is true that, at 15%, they make up the third-largest group in the country, nonetheless, in this majority Muslim country they are discriminated against in many ways, and this is preventing many of the families who fled during the war from actually returning to their former homes.
Despite this, the Catholic Church is playing an important role in the process of reconciliation and healing after the war, since there are still many open and painful wounds in society. And the Church is very active and lively – something that is evident in the heartening number of vocations. In the seminary in the Archdiocese of Sarajevo there are no fewer than 44 young men training for the priesthood. They come from all three dioceses of the country, and also from Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo.
But the seminary is dependent on outside support, in order to be able to fund the training of these future priests. The running costs are high and the Church in the country is still greatly dependent on outside support. Many churches and other Church properties were destroyed during the war and so there are many churches, presbyteries and religious houses that have had to be rebuilt at considerable cost. Although the seminary does everything it possibly can to cut down on costs and, for example, the seminarians themselves do many of the smaller renovation and repair jobs on the seminary, nonetheless it is in urgent need of help. ACN is helping for the training of the 44 seminarians in the current academic year, with a contribution of 900 Euros per seminarian – all in all, a total of 39,600 Euros.