Man is a cultural being. His culture gives him an identity in the society, thus every society is distinguished by her culture. Our culture is our heritage and our pride. Our culture needed also to be evangelized even as our culture is a veritable vehicle of evangelization.
It is in this light that the Bigard family annually celebrates the various cultural elements of African culture to see how best these could be incorporated into the Gospel message of Christ.
The 2014 cultural weekend was another memorable one in the annals of the history of Bigard memorial Seminary, Enugu. The Bigard family once again rolled out her drums to celebrate the richness of African culture displayed by seminarians from diverse cultural groups. The weekend kicked off on the evening of Friday, November 28, and ended on Sunday, November 30, 2014.
The evening of Friday began with an opening prayer by Rev. Fr. Vitalis Ukwuaba followed by the National anthem and the Bigard anthem led by the Bigard fans club. Next was the presentation of kolanut to the Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ukoro T. Igwe by Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Igboanugo, Ichie Ozioma and Moderator of African Thought and Culture society for blessing. The Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ukoro T. Igwe then officially declared the year’s cultural weekend open.
With these official opening, different group showcased their performances namely, Ndi Otu Suwakwa Igbo, Drama by Bigard lay staff, Igba Umuogaranya of Nnewi diocese/Onitsha archdiocese, Abaigbo dance by Ahiara diocesan seminarians, Mmonwu oji okwu eme nka and a Folk song by the Band of Bigard (B.O.B). The closing remarks was given by Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Igboanugo followed by a vote of thanks by Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa. The evening’s activities was brought to a close with the concluding prayer.
On Saturday November 29, 2014, all gathered again at the FIFA field, Bigard Memorial Seminary for the morning session. On this day there was a paper presentation by Chief Dr. Jude Udenta of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology on the Topic “Discovery the African culture of life in the age of globalization”. The paper was moderated by Rev. Fr. Vitalis Ukwuaba. The session witnessed further cultural performances by St. Bernard’s Hostel Nchantanta Cultural group, Odogwu dance by Awka diocesan seminarians, Ikorodo dance by Nsukka diocesan seminarians, and Ikoro of Enyimba by Aba diocesan seminarians. The band of Bigard (B.O.B) also rendered wonderful tunes at various points as interludes.
During the evening session, the new members of the African Thought and Culture society were initiated. The rite of initiation was conducted by Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Igboanugo, Ichie Ozioma after which the members of the Bigard Theatre and Arts Club took the stage followed by wrestling competition, Mmonwu dance by Orlu diocesan seminarians, Cultural dance by Bigard Staff, Omaba dance by Enugu diocesan seminarians and Okonko dance by Okigwe diocesan seminarians.
The grand finale which was on Sunday, November 30, 2014 began with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Rev. Fr. Dr. Cyriacus Okpalike at the Bigard Main Chapel. In his homily, Fr. Okpalike said every gathering has a purpose, thus we Christians are gathered because God has invited us.
It is the response to what God says and does that makes the liturgy our own – a communion with God. He went further to say that every liturgical gathering has an agenda which is determined by the reading thereby driving home the importance of the readings in liturgy. He gave the etymological meaning and the historical origin of Advent as well as the Christian meaning. According to him, it is a time we await the revelation of Christ.
Finally, he established a relationship between the celebration of Advent and the celebration of culture by noting that we could also reach God through our culture.
The second part of the day’s event took place at the FIFA field. It began with the ushering in of the Formators, Guests, etc by the Ikorodo dance of Nsukka diocese. This was immediately followed by the recognition of dignitaries, opening prayer by Fr. Vitalis Ukwuaba, National and Bigard Anthems, the Presentation and Breaking of Kolanuts and opening remarks by Rev. Fr. Dr. Donatus Ogudo. During this session, one of the seminarians, Nkwachukwu Nzenwa, a third year theology student was installed as an Ichie.
Other events of the day included the presentation of awards, songs by the Bigard Main Choir, Odabara dance by Abakiliki diocesan seminarians, Igba mmanwu Dance by Awka diocesan seminarians, the unveiling of the dummy museum by the Chairman of the occasion, cultural dance by Bigard lay staff, Ojinaka/wonder masquerade by Enugu diocesan seminarians, Ufie cultural display by Nnewi diocesan and Onitsha archdiocesan seminarians, and Abiakpo by Calabar provincial seminarians.
The 2014 cultural weekend celebration was officially ended with the closing prayer by Rev. Fr. Dr. Theophilus Anyanwu.
AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM