Thursday, March 5, 2020, the seminarians and formators of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu gathered to commemorate the dedication of the seminary’s main chapel.
The foundation of the chapel was laid in 1955 and the chapel completed in 1960. It was eventually dedicated on October 7, 1961. Between 2003 and 2004, the chapel underwent major reconstruction during the time of Rev. Fr. Dr. John Okoye (the incumbent bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awgu) as the rector. Upon completion, the chapel was re-dedicated on 5th of March, 2005 by Most Rev. Dr. Valerian M. Okeke, the Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province and Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha.
The mood of the celebration was joyous and solemn and the chapel wore a special decoration, with the twelve candles attached to twelve pillars of the church lit and the altar decorated to reflect the mood of the celebration.
The Holy Mass started by 6:40am with the rector, Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa as the chief celebrant. About 35 priests concelebrated. The priests included some of the staff of the seminary and the rectors of the major seminaries in West African sub-region that were at conference in the seminary.
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Dr. Uzochukwu Njoku, the rector of Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri, recalled some of the fine memories of his days as a seminarian in Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu in 1988. He remarked how the sight of the seminary’s chapel evoked in him the feeling of solemnity and piety. Going further, he explained that dedication means to bless, to consecrate, to set aside for worship. He further remarked that dedication also has to do with giving up, or handing over or donating a building to God and eschewing any attempt at desecrating such holy place. He invited and urged the seminarians to be challenged by the feast of the dedication to learn to dedicate and donate themselves to their functions and assignments in the seminary and the church.
The mass ended at exactly 8 am. It was indeed a great day for the entire seminary family.