A jubilee is a special anniversary of a significant event and dates back to both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, it signified a time of joy, the year of remission or of pardon. It is always a great testament of God’s guidance and grace for a period of time.
In this spirit of joy and thanksgiving, the Seminary family mapped out the 19th and the 20th November, 2021 to celebrate her ‘pater familias’, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa as he marked his silver jubilee in the service of the Lord. Our dear Fr. Rector was ordained a priest on August 24, 1996. It is a special celebration worthy of thanksgiving for it only takes the grace of God to be able to celebrate this anniversary. It is also an opportunity to look back and thank the Lord for his goodness, mercies and love on our dear Rector.
The silver jubilee celebration kick-started with a football match held in honour of the jubilarian between the Indomitable warriors of Bigard and the Tansi Seminary FC on Friday the 19th of November 2021 at the Bigard FIFA field. It was a really entertaining and nerve-shredding match with the Bigard team coming out victorious with a goal to nil.
The second part of the silver jubilee celebration was the thanksgiving Mass celebrated in honour of our dear Fr. Rector. The Mass as the centre of every priest’s life was the highpoint of the celebration. The Mass was attended by two Bishops: Most Rev. Peter Chukwu Nworie, the Catholic Bishop of Abakiliki Diocese who was the presiding prelate and Most Rev. Ernest Obodo, the auxiliary Bishop of Enugu Diocese. There was also countless number of priests who came to pay respects and celebrate with our Rector.
During the very inspiring homily, Rev. Fr. Dr. Clement Obasi reeled out the very wonderful achievements of Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa especially as Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu. Some of these achievements he chronicled were the following: building of Cardinal Arinze’s Father’s house, the ongoing building of a the centenary hostel, the new domestic quarters, maintenance of different Seminary buildings and above all his ability to manage finances (even during very tough times like the Covid-19 pandemic). Again, while observing the difficulties in managing human beings, the homilist made mention of the dexterity and competence with which the Rector has continued to manage the different individuals placed in his charge. Finally he appreciated the Rector for allowing the grace of God to work in him.
The third and final part of the celebration was music/cultural entertainment. Here, the seminarians, formators, lay staff, friends and visitors present expressed their gratitude and love to our Fr. Rector through the performance of several cultural dances, and various other entertainments. Also, a book comprising of eleven chapters was published and launched for the very special occasion. The book is a melange of articles extolling and highlighting the wonderful virtues possessed by the Rector which are worthy of emulation. At the end there was presentation of gifts as signs of our external gratitude to the Rector for his magnanimity and love.
Finally, the seminary family prays for and congratulates our dear Fr. Rector on his silver jubilee. She also joins the jubilarian in giving thanks to God for His protection on him during these 25 years of his priestly ministry. We pray for more grace on him to do more work in the Lord’s vineyard as we begin the countdown to the Priestly Golden Jubilee of our amiable Rector.