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From a humbled Altar Boy to Diocesan Bishop, the story of Henry Aruna of Sierra Leone

NEW YORK- Fr. Henry Aruna was born to the Late Mr. Matthew J. Aruna and Mrs. Margaret M. Aruna, a Catholic couple, on the 2nd August 1964. The young Henry Aruna was given an infant baptism at the Holy Spirit Parish, Kenema, then the College Chapel, in 1968.

He attended St. Paul’s Primary School, Kenema; RC School, Kanike, RC School Fadugu and RC School, Kabala (Diocese of Makeni) in the 1970s. It was during his secondary education at Holy Trinity in Kenema that Henry Aruna felt the call to the Catholic priesthood. He entered the then St. Kizito’s Junior Seminary, Kenema. After his GCE O’levels and Spiritual Year at St. Kizito’s Pre- Major Seminary, Henry Aruna entered St. Paul’s Major Seminary in Gbarnga, Liberia in 1985. He finished his seminary training in Makeni and was ordained to the deaconate in 1992 by Most Rev. George Biguzzi at the St. Francis Chapel, off Azzolini high way, Makeni. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 16th 1993 in Kenema by Most Rev. John O’Riordan C. S. Sp.

After his priestly ordination, Fr. Henry Aruna worked in the Diocese of Kenema from 1993 to 1994; he worked in the then Archdiocese of Freetown and Bo from 1994 to 1995, in the Diocese of Kankan in the Republic of Guinea from 1995 to 1996 and in the Diocese of Makeni from 1996 to 1999.

He served in various capacities in the pastoral field, interspersed with studies. In 1996 he entered the priestly formation ministry, at St Paul’s Major Seminary, Makeni and Freetown (Kingtom and Regent) where he has served for 13 years. In the seminary, Fr. Henry Aruna lectured courses in History and Systematic Philosophy. He also served in administrative roles in the seminary as Director of Pastoral Work, Dean of Students and Seminary Bursar. In addition to his official seminary duties, he was the priest-in-charge of the Blessed Michael Tansi Catholic Community at Goderich barracks in Freetown (Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Juba).

Fr. Henry Aruna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Humanities, a Bachelor of Divinity degree in Theology, a Licentiate in Philosophy (M. Phil) from the Pontifical Unrbaniana University in Rome, and a Master’s in Education (M. Ed) from Njala University, Sierra Leone, majoring in Educational Administration. He also has a certificate in Counseling Skills, Christian Leadership and Spirituality from the Institute of St. Aselm in the United Kingdom.

Fr. Henry Aruna was still lecturing in the Major Seminary and serving as Secretary General and National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) for the Inter-territorial Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Gambia and Sierra Leone from 2007 until January 7th, 2012, when he was appointed the first Sierra Leonean bishop of Makeni and the third bishop after Bishop Augustus Azzolini (1962-1986) and Bishop George Biguzzi (1986-2012).

The newly appointed Catholic bishop of Kenema is a peoples’ person and a servant of the faithful.  While in St. Paul’s major catholic Seminary, he was prefect of the entire seminary student body in his seventh year before his deaconate ordination. i

Toni Zender (project officer for Africa II at ACN) and Bishop Henry Aruna, National Director of the Pontifical Mission in Sierra Leone, working together during the Bishop´s visit to ACN International on 08.06.2015
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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.
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