Queen of Apostles Philosophy Centre was founded on the initiatives of the missionaries of Africa, the congregation of Holy cross, the Comboni Missionaries and the Mill Hill Missionaries. The original purpose of the Institute was to provide an adequate philosophical education for the candidates of the Founding Congregations.
To this end, the Institute drew suitably – qualified teaching staff from the Founding Congregations, and sought affiliation with the Pontificia Universita Urbaniana, Rome. In this way, it was hoped that the fledgling Institute would have an external check upon its academic standards, and be united with the centre of the Universal Church.
Initially, the Institute was housed in the convent of the Evangelizing Sisters of Mary, at Rubaga, Jinja, and the students of the Founding Congregations lived and studied together. The official Opening took place on September 23, 1989, in the presence of the then Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Rauber. It was clear from the beginning, however, that the Institute would soon require purpose – built facilities. As the number of candidates recruited by the Founding Congregations increased, it became clear, too, that they would eventually require separate Formation Houses, where their candidates could be trained in keeping with their different charisms.
A suitable piece of land, approximately twenty five acres, was generously made available by Mgr. Joseph Willigers MHM, the first Bishop of Jinja. Construction of the new Institute began in September, 1991. The PCJ is situated on the outskirts of Jinja, in an area that is rapidly developing. The size of the compound ensures an atmosphere that is beautiful, peaceful and conducive to study. The proximity of Jinja Town, on the other hand, guarantees the availability of essential supplies and services.
The Opening Mass of the permanent Institute was celebrated on October 24., 1992, and the new buildings were blessed by Bishop Willigers, in the presence of the then Nuncio, Archbishop Robles Diaz. In that opening year of the permanent Institute, the total number of students was sixty one, and there were eleven full – time members of the teaching staff.
In 2006, the Sons of the Heart of Mary (Claretian Missionaries) requested and were granted the status of a Founding Congregation, with a voice on the Board of Governors, and the same obligations and privileges enjoyed by the original Founding Congregations. The claretians were granted a plot of land within the PCJ compound, and established their House of Formation there. The number of Religious Sisters studying at the Philosophy Centre has also increased considerably in recent years, and this increase is expected to continue in the future.
The Congregations represented at the Philosophy Centre today are the following: Mill Hill Missionaries, Comboni Missionaries, Congregation of Holy Cross, Missionaries of Africa, Claretian Missionaries, Discalced Carmelite Friars, Servants of Mary, Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Daughters of Mary, Holy Cross Sisters, Missionary Benedictine Sisters, Servite Sisters and Little Sisters of St. Francis.
The Institute is located in Uganda, but the recruitment of the participating Congregations covers a much wider area. At the moment, the following countries are represented at the Philosophy Centre: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and Rwanda.
In November 2011, the Board of Governors gave approval to a plan to expand facilities of the institute. Up to now, the first phase of the expansion has been completed, and four new classrooms have been completed: these are essential, now that our classes are becoming larger.
The second phase is currently underway, and the new Hall should be finished in time for the Jubilee Celebration. The third phase of the plan includes provision of a small Chapel also, suitable for private prayer during breaks and free periods, and also for the celebration of Mass with small groups.
The Institute continues to fulfill its original purpose, i.e., the education of African candidates for the missionary and religious apostolate. It is to be hoped that we might also come to serve a wider purpose in the life of the Catholic Church in Uganda in general.