An Igbo proverb goes thus: “Izubundu” (communal dialogue cum deliberation is life). It was on this note that the Bigard family gathered together on 6th Oct., 2014, for her annual colloquium. It was an ample time for stock taking, while considering better ways to forge ahead for the holistic formation of her seminarians, and for better living standard in Bigard community.
A communique on the Colloquium which has the theme: TOWARDS A RESPOSIBLE USE OF ICT IN THE SEMINARY FORMATION IN BIGARD, was issued as a guide for the occasion. The program was divided into two sessions; morning and evening sessions. During the morning session, the students went to their different classes with their different formator-moderators, to discuss the general theme of the colloquium.
The second session was a collation of the outcome of the morning deliberations. The staff and students gathered at the seminary auditorium where the secretaries from each class presented the opinions of the different classes. Below is the summary of the submissions of the different secretaries. There was a general appreciation of the wonderful work done in the seminary library which has been digitalized, while calling for an orientation of the students on the proper usage of the digital library.
ICT (Information Computer Technology) is not optional, it is something that everyone must have a basic knowledge of. However there is need for the application of prudence in the use of ICT. There is need for practical computer studies, to enable the seminarians harness properly the rich potentials of the ICT. Such realization will ensure intellectual, human, pastoral, and spiritual formation.
At the end of the presentations made by the secretaries and after few questions and contributions,the father in charge of the seminary library, Rev. Fr. Dr. Cajetan Iyidiobi, spoke about the digitalized seminary library, explaining what it means for a library to be digitalized, and how it can be used for research. He explains thus: “it means that the services in the library are now rendered on-line. That is, the services in the library could now be received electronically. We have a digital catalogue which is on-line and we can search for books on-line either in the school library or on-line from anywhere in the world, provided one is able to access the Bigard website. Digital catalogue means that one does not need to fumble with the cards again. One is only expected to type in the particulars of the book one wants at the page for the searching of books. This will enable one to get all the information one needs in order to obtain the book, if it is in the library. Secondly, one is able to research on-line, first of all through the open resources and secondly, through the secure resources.” He went further explaining how this can be used.
He also noted the challenges facing the office. He pointed out the interest of the office towards putting the books in the library into soft copies. He expressed the readiness of the office to provide library cards for the new students and the older students (who may have lost theirs) and to organize an orientation lecture on the use of the library for the students.
In continuation, the Rector Rev. Fr. Dr. Theophilus Ukoro Igwe, spoke to the gathered Bigard family on the issues of recharge prayer and the use of cellphone in the seminary, while advocating for a mature use of the ICT. He said: “In our age religion is highly exploited and commercialized. Jesus Christ is on sale. And this is the spiritual aberration of our time.Recharge prayers is a way of commercializing Jesus. Anybody who does this is a criminal. And those who do this will pay dearly for it. Do not get interested in it. There is nothing Christian about it.”
Concerning the use of cell phone he said: “We do not prohibit the use of cellphone in the seminary, but the individual use while on formation is prohibited. It was in Ghana in 2007 that this case came up in the sub-regional level. As it is distracting formation here in Nigeria so it is in other African countries. To help the seminarians, in 2006 when I assumed office, we provided cellphones for the use of the seminarians. But the project failed and faded with time. However, the student council can discourse again and bring up better strategies.”
The vote of thanks was done by Rev Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpennwa. The closing prayer which brought the event to an end was said by Rev Fr. C. Ezeakunne. Good enough, it was a successful colloquium and we are grateful to God.