The entire Bigard family gathered with joy and thanksgiving on 5th March, 2024 to celebrate the Solemnity of the rededication of the Bigard chapel. The event of the day began with a Holy Mass of Thanksgiving presided by the Rector, Very Rev Fr. Dr. Albert Okechukwu Ikpenwa, in concelebration with other priests and formators. In his opening remarks at the beginning of the Mass, the Rector, Fr. Ikpenwa, invited all present to thank God for the gift of the chapel, which is the powerhouse of the Seminary. He equally called on all present to pray in the Mass for God’s blessings on all those who contributed their resources to build the chapel as a befitting place of worship.
After this, the Mass continued as usual. During the Homily, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Iloafor, the second Dean of Student’s Affairs, recounted the history of the Bigard chapel, starting from the time of the then Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Charles Heerey C.S.S.P., who in 1954 wrote to Rome for support to build a chapel for the Seminary. With the approval and funds received from Rome in 1955, the foundation stone for the Chapel was laid. A few years later, the chapel was completed and dedicated to God on 7th October 1961. Fr. Iloafor further noted that after over 40 years of use, the Chapel became structurally weak and needed renovation. Consequently, in 2003, the Chapel was rehabilitated and the surroundings aesthetically improved by Very Rev. Fr. John Okoye, the then Rector, and the present Catholic Bishop of Awgu Diocese. It was under Bishop John Okoye’s leadership as the Rector that the seminary Chapel was rededicated on March 5, 2005. Ever since, this rededication on March 5, 2005, it has become a solemnity for the Seminary family. After giving this historical overview, Fr. Iloafor further extolled the chapel as a divine temple where God dwells in his fullness, hence he advised seminarians to be always conscious of the sacredness of the Chapel and to leverage it as a point of communication with God. He equally encouraged the seminarians to embrace a deeper sense of communion with God through constant personal prayers and active participation in the communal liturgical prayers.
After the Holy Mass, the Rector, Fr. Ikpenwa, thanked all present, the formators, and seminarians, and especially Rev. Fr. Kelvin Atunzu, a visiting spiritual director who was in our midst. With this, the Holy Mass came to an end.
Later the same evening, to celebrate the Solemnity, the Seminary provided drinks for the seminarians in the refectory.

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