Considering the rapid devaluation of African heritage as a result of globalization, what remains of our culture is more important than what was lost. And living in a time of seeming cultural confusion, the Catholic Church, in general, and Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, in her particular but unique style, sets out to rediscover and nurse the bleeding corpus, as much as possible, of the African culture – music, folk lore, arts, dance, sign/symbol, or language. The elements of culture are targets of Christian evangelization as they are veritable media for greater effective evangelization of the African people.
To the glory of God, the 3 day fun-filled 2016/2017 Cultural Weekend which began on Friday evening November 25, 2016 and ended on Sunday November 27, 2016 attracted spectators from far and wide.
On the first day, the rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa declared the 2016/2017 cultural weekend of Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu open in full view of the staff, seminarians and friends of the seminary. The event which began with an opening prayer by Fr. Johnbosco Okoye had these features; national anthem and seminary anthem, presentation and breaking of kola nut, cultural performances by Orlu diocese, Abigbo Mbaise (Ahiara diocese), and folk songs from the Band of Bigard (BOB). In his opening remark, Rev. Fr. Dr.Francis Igboanugo (Vice Rector I and Moderator of African Thought and Culture Society) declared that the festivity of culture is a thanksgiving to God for the gift of the diversity of African culture, and an approach towards fostering inculturation. To wrap the day, Fr. Hyginus Mbah led the closing prayer.
Expectedly, the tale spread and more visitors participated in the Saturday event which had both morning and evening sessions. The morning session began with opening prayer led by Fr. Linus Okwu while Fr. Francis Igboanugo (Ichie Ozioma I of Bigard) led in the kola nut rite. This rite was followed with a Paper Presentation on the topic; Real African Values
The Paper presenter, Fr. Linus Chukwudike Okwu lamented the deplorable status of our family system as the family contributes the greatest portion in the index of procured abortion recorded in the world. The Bigard Alumnus, among other remedies proffered, charged African parents to stand up to their responsibility towards the informal education of their children through advice, proverbs, and modeling from infancy. The session featured performances from St. Bernard Hostel Nchatancha cultural group, Ikoro Enyimba of Aba diocese, Igba Umu Ogaranya of Onitsha Archdiocese.
In the evening, Fr. Francis Igboanugo led in the initiation rite of 13 new members into the African Thought and Culture Society of Bigard. While the society for the fostering of Igbo Language, ‘OtuSuwakwa Igbo’, in a discussion forum urged all to contribute to the growth of traditional African language. The Theater and Arts Club of Bigard presented a drama on marriage as an agent of unity and peace. The didactic performances of Abakaliki diocese and Enugu diocese thrilled the guests. Fr. Simon Areji gave the vote of thanks.
The grand finale on Sunday November 27, 2016 began with a 9:00am Holy Mass presided over by Rev. Fr. Dr. Sylvanus Nnoruka. In the homily, Fr. S. Nnoruka lamented that the story of the Biafran War, Lwanga, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Congo et al would have been avoided and the poor image of Africa as a people to be pitied could have been remedied if they gave tolerance a chance. Towards the end of the Mass, Fr. Simon Areji gave the vote of thanks.
A civic reception followed postmissam at the Seminary main football field. The event began with the ushering in of guests and opening prayer by one of Bigard’s spiritual directors, Fr. Johnbosco Okoye. The national anthem was followed by kola nut rite wherein HRH Barr. Dr. Mike Nwosu, (Eze Ugocha of Akeme Arondizuogu) prayed God to raise missionaries from Bigard and Africa at large as missionaries to evangelize the world. Other dignitaries at the event included; Chief (Sir) Chukwudi Obasiohia (Chairman of the Occasion), Engr. Patrick Ikpenwa (Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure), Mazi Nwankwo Ejike, Fr. TheophilusNwodo, and several others. The Rector, Fr. Albert Ikpenwa expressed that the Church is not a destroyer of culture, but like Jesus, the Church blesses cultures by sieving the bad from the good. At any rate, nine seminarians where installed Ichie by the Fr. FrancisIgboanugo, the moderator of African Thought and Culture Society, Bigard Chapter.
Other events of the day followed this order; parade by all the dioceses, performance of Ufie dance byNnewi and Onitsha seminarians, Ikorodo cultural dance of Nsukka diocese, Ncho game contest, cultural dance by St Monica’s comprehensive College (Holy Ghost Cathedral) Ogui, Titiyawo cultural dance by Bigard Lay Staff, Okop Umehe dance by Calabar province, Okonko cultural dance of Okigwe diocese, andOjinakaTogbo of Enugu and Agwu dioceses. Mr. Johnpaul Igbo (President, African Thought and Culture Society) gave the vote of thanks, the vice rector II, Rev. Fr. Dr. Miletus Ossai gave the closing remarks. The event was successful brought to an end with a closing prayer said by Fr. Cyriacus Offor.