Bigard, founded 95 years ago, rolled out drums to celebrate 276 graduates from both philosophy and Theology departments. The series of events marking the ceremony began on Sunday March 19, 2017 with a football match between Bigard Main Team and Peaceland College of Education Enugu Football Team. With the 4:12pm kick off by Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese (Convocating Prelate) at Bigard Main Field, super strikes from Nwosu Adolphous, Udegbe Ugochukwu and James Okoli helped the host team wallop their counterpart with 3 goals to nil.
By 6:30pm the institution held a Solemn Holy Mass presided by one of the graduating priests Rev. Fr. Anthony Okoye. While preaching the sermon, Rev. Andrew Esomonu (Orlu Diocese) stressed that Politicians have disappointed the world; that Jesus alone can satisfy the world of her thirst and it behooves on them as ministers of Christ to make a difference. He urged those present to sequester the barrier of bias tearing the world apart from their lives.
That same night, at 9:15pm, was the reception of the officiating prelate and graduates at the Seminary Auditorium. Various cultural, comic, musical and dramatic displays set out to thrill the guests. Speaking at the event, Bishop Hassan Kukah said, “Our country is hemorrhaging badly because we do not know one another. We have a country to build and we have the capacity to do so.
It is neither politics nor businessmen who are to do it for us. It behooves on us as a church to do it for no institution has better experience than the Church”. Thus, the Prelate urged all to make their marks through the sacrifices they are ready to make. On the convocation day, March 20, 2017, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah presided over the Holy Mass to thank God for the feat.
In his homily, Bishop Hassan Kukah taught that there is a direct connection between obedience, a scarce commodity in our world, and happiness. He charged all to emulate St. Joseph in his docility to the will of God and so be happy. Fr. Melitus Ossai gave the vote of thanks at the end of the Mass Together with Bishop Hassan Kukah, other dignitaries present included; Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Chief Osita Chidioka (Former Aviation Minister), and a host of friends and people of good will.
Auspiciously, at 10:30am, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Bishop Hassan Kukah helped in unveiling a newly erected statue of Jean Bigard donated to the seminary by the graduates. Mr. Humphrey Keke (SUG President) rendered a citation where he highlighted that Jean Bigard is a French woman who founded the Pontifical Mission Society of Peter the Apostle, Opus Santi Petri Apostoli, which is committed to helping in the training of priests. They help provide money which paid for the land on which Bigard Memorial seminary Enugu was built among other things.
The procession into the auditorium, thereafter, was solemn and hierarchical. The opening prayer was led by Fr. Johnbosco Okoye. While the Bigard Fans club assisted in rendering the National and Seminary anthems, respectively, the choir gave an interlude of classical music. In a well articulated address, the Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Albert Ikpenwa, welcomed the guests especially the Bishop and Senator in their midst. He encouraged the graduates to swim against the negative currents evident in our world and foster the good name Bigard is known for.
In his keynote address, Bishop Hassan Kukah averred that the rot in Nigeria is as a result of the things Nigerians have left undone. Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, whose first time it was to visit Bigard, lamented the ruined state of education in Nigeria as he recalled with nostalgia, the days when the missionaries effectively ran the course of education in Nigeria. “Before government took over schools from mission, Nigerian graduates were respected all over the world”, he lamented. Hence, he proposed that collaboration of government and mission will restore the education in Nigeria to its lost glories.
Very Rev Fr. Cajethan Iyidiobi presented a paper wherein he urged ministers and pastors of souls never to neglect the corporal need of their flock. He proposed Pope St. Gregory the Great as a model to this end.
There were a total of 16 persons who graduated with 1st Class Hons in both departments; 7 from philosophy and 9 from theology departments. The best graduating student, Anyanwu Ugochukwu (Ahiara Diocese) bagged a total of 99.06GPA in his theological studies. In his valedictory speech, Mr Ugochukwu Anyanwu expressed gratitude to the lecturers and the entire institution for making them what they have become.
While he encouraged the students to keep hard work entreasured, he urged all to contribute to problem solving in the church and the world. Rev. Fr. Simon Areji was the M.C of the day. Fr. Hyginus Mba led the concluding prayer and Bishop Hassan Kukah gave the final blessing.
Presentation and awarding of candidates in the Philosophy Faculty during the 46th convocation ceremony of Bigard Memorial seminary Enugu, dated Monday 27th March, 2017 Click to read more.
Presentation and awarding of candidates in the Theology Faculty during the 46th convocation ceremony of Bigard Memorial seminary Enugu, dated Monday 27th March, 2017 Click to read more.