As has always been an annual celebration, Bigard once again organized her 15th mission weekend celebration, and the 90th anniversary of the official inauguration of the celebration of mission Sunday by Pope Pius II (1922 – 1939) in the year 1926. This year’s mission weekend began on Friday, 21st October through Sunday, 23rd October, 2016. The celebration featured a round table discussion, paper presentation, thanksgiving, and parish evangelization on the need to expand the mission of Christ through Mercy. As missionaries, we should not forget the missionary mandate of Christ himself because often we easily forget we are a missionary church, and as such we should work to uphold our duties as missionaries.
The first day being the 21st of October featured a round table discussion on the topic “MISSIONARY CHURCH A WITNESS OF MERCY”. The round table discussion organized on Friday night, had varieties of sub-topic ranging from Mercy to Justice, mercy as the highest virtue, mercy in relation to self-defense and the church’s position, various acts of Mercy among Bigardians and the injunctions of the Holy Father in his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitiae” meaning “The Joy of Love”. The vibrant discussants were: Onyiuno Noel, Ezenwa Callistus, Okolo Henry, Okeke Jude and Idoko Valentine, whereas the moderator of the night’s event was Mr. Ofodile Ambrose.
Saturday, 22nd October, 2016 graced a paper presentation by Rev. Fr. Nwankwo Lawrence, a priest of Awka Diocese. Other dignitaries at the occasion were the Rector, Bigard Memorial Seminary, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, Administrative dean, Rev. Fr. Ibudialo Remigius, the headmaster, Bigard primary school and some other formators. The guest speaker introduced his paper with the topic: “MERCY IN THANKSGIVING RE-DESCRIBING MISSION”.
In the course of presentation, he defined mission as “mercy in thanksgiving”, he made a distinction between mercy and justice. Thus, one who is merciful is one who has a place in his heart for others. He urged all to appreciate the gifts given to us by God because it is the only way we can show mercy. He pointed to the Holy Eucharist as an invention to accept what God has done and a means to embrace mission not as mere words but accepting the goodness ourselves and passing it to others.
Finally, Sunday, 23rd October, 2016 marked the end of the weekend with a Eucharistic celebration presided by Very Rev. Fr. Blaise Emebo, the moderator Bigard mission club. In his homily, he illustrated the nature of prayer when he said “the prayer of a just man pierces the cloud; just as an aeroplane pierces the clouds so does the prayer of the just. It is due to pride that one cannot get what one seeks in prayer”. He further explained that one does not need so many words in prayer, thus, no matter how long one call God, if one does not have a good heart, the prayer is like that of the proud Pharisee who glorified himself in his prayers. “Be humble therefore, so that God will exalt you” he added. Finally, he urged all with these words, “Let the mission begin with us”.
Some of the seminarian were sent to nearby parishes within the town to spread and expand this scope of mission as it affects every individual and family, especially, as the society, economy and government need the mercy of God in this trying time.