It was a wonderful reunion as the Rectors of all Nigerian Major Seminaries, Spiritual Year Seminaries and Minor Seminaries gathered this year for their annual meeting in Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu from Wednesday, January 14 to Saturday, January 17, 2015.
The Rectors from all over the country arrived the Seminary Compound on Wednesday, 14th January. The meeting officially kicked off on Thursday morning with the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Michael Apochi, Bishop of Otukpu Diocese, Benue State and the Chairman of the Seminary Commission with all the Rectors and Bigard formators as concelebrants.
In his homily, the Bishop made it clear that it is necessary and important to pray for the influence of the Holy Spirit who have accompanied the Church in the celebration of the Mystery of Incarnation which ended with the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. He gave two reasons for this necessity:
Firstly, the work we are doing belongs to the Church. Therefore, to articulate the mind of the Church which is also the mind of Christ, we need the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, it is important that the Rectors gather so as to let us know what the formators and seminarians of other seminaries do. It is the task of the seminarians therefore to pray that the Rectors’ undertakings, which is geared towards helping and guiding us in the formation process may be in conformity with the will of the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, The Spirit helps to make the numerous gifts of the Formators and Seminarians to conform to the principles of the seminary formation and the Catholic Priesthood. And where this conformity is not achieved, there will be a misuse of these gifts thereby leading to aberrations.
He finally prayed that the Rectors may summit to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the course of their deliberations.
After the post communion prayer Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ukoro Theophilus Igwe, Rector, Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu formally welcomed the visitors to our seminary. This was immediately followed by the introduction of the Rectors and Bigard formators and finally the final blessing and dismissal.
The rectors numbering about 48 held three conferences/meetings within the period. Also in attendance was Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Zacharia Samjumi the Deputy Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria and Director of Pastoral Agency of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria.
The Bigard family organised a gala night in honor of the Rectors on Friday January 16. The night witnessed the presentation of Gifts to all the Rectors by the Students’ Council as well as thrilling performances by various groups. Rev. Fr. Valentine Omolakin, Rector, Sacred Heart Seminary, Akure thanked the Bigard family on behalf of the Rectors while Rev. Fr. Vitalis Ukwuaba, HOD, Philosophy, Bigard Memorial Seminary, gave the vote of thanks on behalf of Bigard. This was followed by the closing prayer said by Rev. Fr. Sylvester Emeruwa, SMMM, Rector, Mercy Seminary, Bende, Umuahia.
The meeting was officially brought to a close with an Eucharistic Celebration on Saturday, January 17 after which the Rectors departed to their various Seminaries.
We thank God for making the meeting a success.