The weekend of 21st to 22nd January, 2023, was indeed a very special one for the Bigard Seminary family as she celebrated the Epiphany of her newly ordained deacons. The epiphany celebration was a special day that our new deacons manifested themselves, it was also a day of celebration and thanksgiving to God by all those in Theology four (both deacons and non-deacons) for his guidance and protection upon them throughout their long years of seminary formation.

This year’s epiphany celebration was one of a kind in various ways. The celebration was officially kicked off with a novelty football match at the Bigard FIFA field between the ordained deacons and the non-ordained members of the class. The match which was very entertaining ended in a one-one draw. The kick-off was performed by the Dean of students’ affairs Rev. Fr. Kevin Asogwa at about 4.10pm.

The celebration continued on the next day being Sunday with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Fr. Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa in the company of some priests on the formation team. The Sunday was also a special Sunday for the universal Church. The Churchcelebrated the“Enthronement of the Word of God”. This celebration also share similarity with the epiphany celebration for it invited the newly ordained deacons and indeed the entire seminarians to embrace the Word of God which they had been called to preach and also live by. The Rector in his homily made known the fact that the scripture should stand at the center of our lives whether as priests, deacons, seminarians or even as lay faithful. He also admonished that the call to the priesthood is not by chance. In the calling of the apostles, it appears their call was automatic; it appeared they were hypnotized or what we could describe in our contemporary world today as “touch and follow”.

He emphasized that a critical look will see that the two disciples who Jesus called were first disciples of John, thus, they could be said to have been receiving training all along.Consequently, the seminary formation is not an automatic affair; one must follow the process until one becomes fully mature. Thus, the Fr. Rector insisted that the seminary formation and the length of time it takes is an opportunity to form priests who are mature in all ramifications, in order to become better pastors of the faithful. He invited the deacons to see their new state not as an opportunity to intimidate those below them or to gang up against the formators but as opportunities for service. They should remember the promise they made on the day of ordination to, “…believe what you read, preach what you believe and practice what you preach”.

Also, within the mass, the president of the Students’ Council, Rev. Okeze Emmanuel presented the sum of three million Naira, to the Rector on behalf of the entire students as part of their support to the seminary for its projects in the ongoing academic year.

Rev. Paschal Mbaogu, on behalf of the deacon class, expressed their sentiments of gratitude to the Bigard Family, beginning with the team of Formators led by the Fr. Rector, seminarians, lay staff and all those who have played roles in making them what they have become. He prayed God to bless them abundantly and to keep them in His love.

The epiphany celebration continued in the evening with the solemn procession and Vespers,after which the deacons treated the entire Bigard family to a feast of meals at the Seminary refectory.