The reality of life is that “you have to know the past to understand the present”. Thus, in the wake of the ongoing Covid19 pandemic and the gradual return to normalcy in many parts of the world, the rector and the entire seminary family inspired by the hardships and uncertainties encountered in the previous academic year as regards formation, decided to look back at the impact of this Covid19 in Nigeria, the seminary and especially on formation. This is why the rector chose the topic for the colloquium paper of the 2021/2022 academic and formation year to be “Seminary Formation under Covid19 Pandemic: Challenges and Prospects.”

The Vice-rector I addressing the assembly

The colloquium is an annual activity of the Bigard family as a tool to encapsulate a particular aspect or life of the seminary in a paper prepared by the rector, deliberate on it and then seek for solutions for a brighter academic and formation year. This is why the seminary never fails to begin her year with such important activity. 

Theology IV class discussing the colloquium paper with the Rector

Consequently, as was the tradition, the colloquium came in two parts. The first and morning session was the group or class session moderated by two formators per group or class where the students were meant to discuss the colloquium paper and raise questions and solutions in their different classes or groups, while the general or evening session was when the fruits of the morning session were harvested. Each class was meant to appoint a secretary who articulated the views of the class and presented them during the general discussion.    

Morning session (Class to class discussion)

Therefore, this year’s colloquium came with its peculiarities as it dealt with the challenges the seminary had to face in the face of the Covid19 pandemic especially with having to run the Seminary and formation within such hard condition. Speaking on the challenges, resonant in the discussions of almost all the classes was the fact that the Covid19 pandemic gave us all a reality check on the status of our Christianity and a full confirmation of the vulnerability of human life which must depend on a spiritual super-power (God) for its survival.

Formators and seminarians paying attention as class secretaries deliver their reports

Thus, the seminarians in almost all the classes affirmed the hand of God in seeing that Africa was not hit so hard by the deadly virus. However, the Seminarians were not blind to the effort of the Seminary led by her amiable Rector Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa in seeing that the life in the Seminary went on smoothly in the midst of this deadly virus that almost brought every activity to a halt, globally. To this, the Seminarians having seen a detailed account of how the seminary was run during the pandemic (as outlined in the colloquium paper) were grateful to the rector and the team of formators for their untiring efforts during the heat of the Covid19 pandemic session. 

one of the class secretaries delivering his own class report

Looking back, the seminarians saw the need for self-sufficiency as a means to battle such unforeseen circumstance as the Covid19 pandemic. The students recognized the effort of the Seminary in this regard as a barbing shop, a cobbling shop and a tailoring shop were all established during the Covid19 period to forestall incessant quest to leave the seminary for such services.

The Rector responding to questions and suggestions raised

In all, the Rector Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa reacting to the points raised made it clear that only a fool goes back to make old mistakes. Thus, he advised the Seminarians to pick every single good they can from the Covid19 experience and make sure that these lessons help us to make the current academic year successful and better than the previous one.