Day 1 – Friday 19th April, 2024
Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu kicked her Nigerian Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS) weekend on the night of Friday April 19th, 2024. The theme for this year’s NFCS weekend was “The Impact of NFCS Institutions on Nigerian Institutions: Bigard Centenary in View.” The event began with an opening prayer said by Rev. Fr. Dr. Christian Agala, this was followed by opening remarks given by Rev. Fr. Kelvin Asogwa, the Bigard NFCS moderator. In his remarks, Fr. Asogwa extended a warm welcome to all attendees. Going forward he gave a detailed historical background of the NFCS in Nigeria. He emphasized the significance of the chosen theme for this year’s NFCS weekend, highlighting NFCS’ role in nurturing the faith of Catholic students and empowering them to live as Gospel witnesses. Fr. Asogwa also expressed his gratitude to the Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Okechukwu Ikpenwa, for his unwavering support and contributions in organizing the NFCS weekend. He concluded his remarks by welcoming everyone once more and encouraging them to enjoy the program.
The opening remarks was followed by an entertaining interlude which featured a flute performance by Alaya Michael. This led into the much anticipated event of the night: an inter-school Catholic faith-based quiz competition. Four institutions participated in the intellectual challenge: Godfrey Okoye University Enugu, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu, and Ebonyi State College of Health Sciences. After a captivating display of knowledge, Godfrey Okoye University emerged victorious with a score of 8 points. Federal Polytechnic Oko secured the runner-up position with the score of 7 points. Federal College of Education Eha-Amufu and Ebonyi State College of Health Sciences came third and fourth, scoring 4 and 2 points respectively.
The day’s program concluded with closing remarks by Rev. Fr. Dr. Godwin Orji. In his remarks, Fr. Orji expressed his appreciation to all those present for their active participation and encouraged them to maintain the same enthusiasm throughout the remaining programs of the NFCS weekend. Rev. Fr. Patrick Malo said the closing prayer, with this the first day of the event came to a close.
Day 2- Saturday 20th April, 2024
The second day of the Bigard Memorial Seminary NFCS weekend commenced with an opening prayer said by Rev. Fr. Kelvin Asogwa. Following the prayer, the Nigerian national anthem, Bigard anthem and the NFCS anthem were sung. After the anthems the Kolanut breaking ritual was performed by the first Vice Rector Rev. Fr. Dr. Kevin Udenwagu on behalf of the Rector Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Okechukwu Ikpenwa.
Next was the opening remarks by the first Dean of Student’s Affairs Rev. Fr. Kelvin Asogwa. In his remarks, Fr. Asogwa emphasized the vital role NFCS plays in nurturing the Catholic faith among students and its positive impact on Nigerian institutions. He encouraged everyone to relax and enjoy the day’s program.
Afterwards, was the Rector’s key note address which was presented on his behalf by the first Vice Rector Rev. Fr. Dr. Kevin Udenwagu. In the keynote address he highlighted the importance of NFCS in spreading the Gospel message on university campuses. He stressed that Catholic students, through NFCS association, have a responsibility to live out their faith boldly as witnesses to Christ. He concluded by thanking the organizers and welcoming the guests to the seminary, encouraging them to feel free to enjoy the festivities.
After the Rector’s key note address, the first paper presentation was delivered by the special guest of honor, Hon. Engr. Okwu Chinedu. In his paper titled “The Role of the Catholic Youth in Economic Development and National Building,” Hon. Okwu focused on the importance of the youths in bringing fresh ideas to the society. He emphasized that beyond ideas, youths must acquire skills to make a positive impact and elevate national productivity. He explained that wealth creation stems from skilled and productive people, not just money. He concluded by urging students to learn valuable skills to create value for themselves and society. This first paper presentation was followed by an interlude featuring musical entertainment by the seminarians.
After the interlude, Mr. Valentine Obienyem presented the second paper, titled “How Far Do You Know Your Catholic Faith?” Mr. Obienyem explained that the depth of Catholic teachings is not solely for clergy but for all members, particularly students in secular institutions. He encouraged students to actively learn about their faith to defend it effectively. He also stressed the need to adequately equip seminarians with the knowledge of Catholic doctrine so as to empower them to serve as strong Catholic apologists in the face of contemporary challenges. He concluded by emphasizing that true revolution lies in education and character development. To combat the challenges facing the Church, Mr. Obienyem proposed enlightening the laity with core teachings based on scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium.
Next was the third paper presentation by Barr. Mrs. Linda Eloanyi titled “The Role of NFCS in Conflict Resolutions,” She began by acknowledging that conflict is inevitable in human society, and NFCS, as a body promoting the Gospel, has a responsibility to foster reconciliation in the society. She highlighted the importance of neutrality and peaceful resolution in conflict mediation. She urged students to be ambassadors of peace wherever they encounter conflict.
Following the presentations, Rev. Fr. Dr. Kingsley Anagolu, the Vice Rector II, responded to the papers. He commended the presenters for their insightful contributions and added his own perspectives to the discussed topics. A question-and-answer session with the presenters followed, which allowed students to gain further clarification. Afterwards, further entertainment and refreshments took place. The highlight of this session was the unveiling of a large painting by Achusi Samuel, a unique artistic representation of the entire Bigard compound. Next was the presentation of gifts and certificates of participation to the special guest of honor, the paper presenters, and representatives from participating schools.
Rev. Fr. Dr. Kevin Udenwagu, the Vice Rector I, delivered the vote of thanks. He expressed gratitude to everyone who contributed to the event’s success, including the presenters, guests, student participants, and the NFCS executives who worked behind the scene to ensure the success of the NFCS weekend. Finally, Rev. Fr. Dr. Godwin Orji said the closing prayer, this marked the end of the second day. 
Day 3- Sunday 21st April 2024
The Bigard Memorial Seminary NFCS weekend culminated on Sunday with a Holy Mass of Thanksgiving in gratitude to God for the successful NFCS weekend.

During the Mass, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Iloafor, Dean of Students’ Affairs II, delivered an insightful homily. Referencing the Gospel reading from John 10:11-18, which captures the central theme of the Good Shepherd Sunday, Fr. Iloafor emphasized the connection between Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and his sheep. He urged everyone to contemplate their own relationship with Jesus, questioning if they truly know him.  Drawing a parallel to the first reading (Acts 4:8-12) depicting the early Christians’ unwavering faith, Fr. Iloafor encouraged all to acknowledge Jesus as their shepherd and follow him through authentic Christian witness. The Mass then proceeded as usual. Later towards the end of the Mass, Rev. Fr. Kelvin Asogwa, the Bigard NFCS moderator, expressed his appreciation to everyone present. He commended the NFCS executives for organizing a successful weekend and thanked the visitors for honoring the Seminary’s invitation. He concluded by urging everyone to continue striving to live out their Catholic faith in their respective institutions.
After the Holy Mass, a group photograph was taken in front of the Chapel. This marked the official conclusion of the 2024 NFCS weekend.

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