Saturday, March 7, 2020 was indeed remarkable in the seminary as Bigard Memorial Seminary family gathered to celebrate the 25th priestly ordination anniversary of one of her priests on staff, Rev. Fr. Dr. Basil Okeke. The occasion was graced by a lot of friends and well wishers, and indeed, many others who came to be part of the celebration.
The Mass of thanksgiving started around 10am in the seminary’s main chapel with Fr Basil as the chief celebrant. In con-celebration were the rector of the seminary, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, other priests on staff, and many priests of the Catholic diocese of Enugu who had come to celebrate with the celebrant.
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Dr. Humphrey Ani spoke extensively on the life and times of the celebrant as a priest. Drawing from the Word of the Lord in Jeremiah 1:5 (…before you were born, I knew you…), Fr Ani noted that the person whom the Lord had consecrated from the womb is unstoppable and that God’s designs are inexorable. He further remarked that the celebrant well known for his generosity, industriousness, truthfulness, intelligence, had used these talents for the glory of the Lord as evidenced in the places he had worked as a priest. And for these blessings and many more, the homilist felicitated with Fr Basil on this occasion of his silver jubilee.
Just before the final blessing of the Mass, Fr. Prof. Silvanus Nnoruka on behalf of the chairman of the organizing committee, Fr. Dr. Aloysius Obiwulu gave the vote of thanks in which he noted that a day like this was one of the most remarkable days in the life of a person. He thanked the celebrant, friends and the family of Fr Basil especially his mother for gracing the occasion in spite of her age. The Mass ended about 12:30 pm.
The reception took place immediately inside the Seminary’s Auditorium where the Rector in his address of welcome appreciated God for His benevolence upon the seminary, and in a special way, on the celebrant for whom all are gathered. He articulated the achievements of the celebrant and described him as a “fulfilled priest of God”. There were entertainment sessions which featured presentations from the seminarians and guests presenters. These eventually gave way to presentations of gifts to the celebrant by both individuals and groups. The celebration ended at 3:20pm but not without heavy refreshment by all who were part of the celebration.