In response to the injunction of Jesus in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, the Seminary family never seizes to dedicate one weekend annually to reflect on the mystery of the Word of God which the apostles were meant to proclaim as they carry out this injunction. This is why the Bigard family decided in this year’s Mission and Pastoral weekend as it is called to reflect on the theme: “We Cannot but Speak about What We Have Seen and Heard” (Acts 4:20). This year’s Mission and Pastoral weekend kicked off on Friday 22nd October 2021 with a round table discussion and ended with a weekend conference on the 23rd October 2021.  

Seminarians paying rapt attention during the round-table discusion

The round-table discussion which ushered in the weekend program centered on the meaning of mission. The mission in this context is centered on the Word of God. Hence, the essence of the Word of God in the world and in the Church was outlined. The discussants made it clear that as Christians, we should hold tenaciously unto the Word of God and know that it is our collective responsibility to proclaim this Word. Remarking on the theme, the HOD of the Theology Department Rev. Fr. Dr. Clement Obasi entreated the seminarians to try as much as they can to embrace the word of God and make it a priority to give wonderful insights to it when they eventually become priests as this will foster the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

The second day was event-filled as the Seminary played host to erudite scholars who handled different topics. The opening remark was made by the Rector duly represented by the Vice Rector, Rev. Fr. Dr. Kevin Udenwagu, during which he welcomed all present and also introduced the Guest Speakers in the persons of Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent Emezie Ezeani, Rev. Fr. Dr. Luke Ijezie and Chief Sir John Nnia Nwodo. This was followed by the keynote address which was given by the HOD of the Theology department Rev. Fr. Dr. Clement Obasi where he opined that the Church is missionary and that we all as Christian faithful are called to this mission. He however, stressed the difficulties that accompany this missionary work which according to him includes persecution. 

The first speaker, Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent Ezeani spoke on the theme: “We Cannot but Speak of What We Have Seen and Heard (Acts 4:20).” After extensively discussing the topic, he was able to bring to our notice that the Church is on mission. The Church is sent by Christ, and commissioned her to go into the whole world proclaiming the Word of God.

The second speaker, Rev. Fr. Dr. Luke Ijezie, spoke on the topic: “Nexus between the Word of God and Culture in The Light Of Verbum Dei of Benedict XVI”. He opined that there is no way we can relate to God without some elements of culture. God does not reveal Himself in the abstract but in signs, symbols and imageries which are inherent in cultures. He therefore called for evangelization of every culture as the Church is open to every culture with the emphasis on updating each of them since no culture is sufficient.

Chief Sir John Nnia Nwodo encouraging the Seminarians

The third speaker, Chief Sir Nnia Nwodo, spoke on the topic: “Experiences with Priests: The Lay Faithful Account.” During the course of his presentation, he stressed on the holiness of the priest citing Late Bishop Eneja as a model. He also enjoined the seminarians present to start early enough to acquire the habit of holiness and make sure that as they enter into the order of Sacred Priesthood, they will be holy priests after the mind of Christ and strive to uphold its dignity. He encouraged priests also, not to trivialize their sacrificial office.

Rev. Fr. Dr. Ohajuobod Oko giving the vote of thanks

The program was brought to an end with a closing remarks/vote of thanks carried out by Rev. Fr. Dr. Ohajuobodo Oko during which he thanked everybody for their patience and endurance while the closing prayer was led by Rev. Fr. Damian Udechukwu at 1:15pm.