Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 celebrated her 49th convocation for both the theology and philosophy departments.
The convocation eve featured a novelty football match between the seminary’s football team and the students of University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC). The match which was played in the seminary’s football field in honour of the graduands ended in a goalless draw. After the football match, there was a Mass of thanksgiving by 18:45 hours. In his homily, titled: “Listening to the Word of the Lord”, one of the graduands, Rev. Fr Teclus Ugwueze, noted that “it is in listening to the Word of God that priests, and indeed, all aspirants to the priesthood, would come to a full realization of what God is calling them to do”. The Mass ended at 20:25 hours. Later that evening, the graduands were officially received in the seminary auditorium.
The events of the D-day began with a Eucharistic celebration, presided over by the officiating prelate, His Excellency, Most Rev. Prof. Godfrey Onah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka. The bishop, in his homily, emphasized the need to always listen and act according to the will and instruction of God, by obeying the Words of Christ, as He speaks to us through the various channels available to us such as the Church and her constituted authorities. He invited all to take after the example of Joseph the husband of Mary, who remained humble in spite of the circumstances that surrounded the birth of Jesus Christ.
The bishop, in his homily, emphasized the need to always listen and act according to the will and instruction of God, by obeying the Words of Christ, as He speaks to us through the various channels available to us such as the Church and her constituted authorities. He invited all to take after the example of Joseph the husband of Mary, who remained humble in spite of the circumstances that surrounded the birth of Jesus Christ.
The social aspects of the convocation ceremony took place in the seminary auditorium. After the rendition of the papal, national and seminary anthems, the convocation was officially declared open by the officiating prelate by 11:09 hours.
The rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, in his welcome address welcomed all who came to be part of the celebration. Congratulating the graduands for their academic growth, the rector enjoined them to remain good ambassadors of the seminary wherever they may be.
Following the rector’s address of welcome was a keynote address by the officiating prelate. The bishop noted that despite the fact that Christianity faces oppositions and war from many angles especially from Islamic fundamentalists, her problem is never without internal decay and collapse caused by her adherents. More so, in narrating the historical issues that led to the religious crisis in the country, he remarked that “Christianity might fall when the poor no longer see the need of miracles to solve their problems”. Islamizing the country, he further noted, “would first of all require de-Christianizing the Christians”. He ended his address by noting that “Christianity is more endangered from within than from without”.
The convocation lecture was given by Very, Rev. Fr Cyriacus Okpalike. He spoke extensively and deeply on the topic; The Church: An Image, a Symbol and Reality-A Historical Excursion.
After the convocation lecture, the heads of both philosophy and theology departments in their addresses officially presented the graduands to the officiating prelate for conferment of degrees.
They remarked that the seminary marked a wonderful and excellent performance from both departments. The philosophy department recorded 9 First-Class Honors, with Mr. Egbosimba Jeremiah as the best graduating student, while the theology department recorded 7 First-Class Honors with Rev. Fr. Nwafor Emmanuel as the best graduating student. The valedictory speech was given by the best graduating student from the theology department. Rev. Fr. Nwafor Emmanuel.
The celebration ended at 14:15 hours.