Thomas Aquinas’ Major Seminary, Bambui

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Major Seminary, Bambui – Bamenda, was opened in September 1973 and officially inaugurated on 3rd December 1973 as a Regional Major Seminary for the Dioceses of Buea and Bamenda. After about four years, precisely on 14th October 1977, by Decree Prot. No. 4684/77, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples declared the Seminary canonically and definitely approved and erected. A second Decree Prot. No. 4685/77, by the same Congregation, appointed the Very Rev. Christian Wiyghan TUMI as the Rector of the Seminary. It subsequently became a Provincial Major Seminary with the erection of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bamenda in March 1982.


On 3rd December 2013, it celebrated the Ruby Jubilee of its foundation. This was preceded by a Jubilee Year which was launched on 3rd December 2012 with the theme: “Called to be Saints and Scholars”. The Jubilee Year was an opportunity to reflect on the growth and development of the Seminary, the quality of the formation given and of the products of the Seminary especially in the context of the challenges now facing the priestly life and ministry. It was a time of stock-taking and renewal. The final celebrations were presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency, Most Rev. Piero PIOPPO. The celebration was a moment of grace and God’s abundant blessings.


Since its establishment, the Seminary has had a gradual and steady growth. Right from the beginning it has welcomed candidates not only from the Dioceses and Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the Ecclesiastical Province, but also from the other Dioceses of Cameroon and other countries of the central African region. Because of the crises in Anglophone Cameroon, the foreign candidates  all withdrew to the French speaking zone. Given the increasing number of candidates to the priesthood in our local church, the bishops of the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province decided in 2014 to begin another seminary in the Diocese of Mamfe, St John Paul II Major Seminary Bachuo- Ntai. This served as the Philosophicum while St Thomas Aquinas’s Major Seminary served as the Theologicum. This helped to decongest the environment and to ensure a close touch with each of the seminarians in formation.


Year           Dioc. Cand. Rel. Cand.                  Total           Priestly Ord.

2015                    136             18               154             06

2016                    152             18               170             11

2017                    146             26               172             07

2018                    151             27               178             —

2019                    167             35               202             08

2020                    177             42               219             14

2021                    173             31               204             13


It is evident from the above statistics that the total number of candidates has almost doubled within the last ten years. This is taken care of by a Formation Team of about 10 to 14 members at most.


From the point of view of infrastructure, the project of constructing seven new classrooms was effectively completed, and some old classrooms were also extended to attend to the growing number of seminarians. Renovations have also been carried out in the Major Seminary, and more is still being done in preparation for the 2021/2022 Formation Year.