It turned out to be a great occasion as Bigard found it essential to set out a day to celebrate her sports contingent, whose success in the 2016 All Nigeria Major Seminaries Games held at Bodija was commendable. The Sports tournament which was held at Ss. Peter and Paul Seminary Bodija Ibadan, lasted from Sunday 21st February to Sunday 28th February 2016.
To the glory of God, and the bravery of her worthy sportsmen, Bigard came overall second out of the 17 seminaries that participated in the competition. The day was Sunday, 13th March, 2016.The ceremony began with a Holy Mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Damian Udechukwu, and concelebrated by several other formators.
The second phase of the reception ceremony was held at the Bigard Auditorium, where the Formators and contingent, together with other invited guests were ushered in. The opening prayer was said by Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthony Eze. The National Anthem, Seminary Anthem, and Papal Anthem rendered by the Bigard Fans for Jesus followed immediately.
In his opening remarks, the Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa welcomed all present, and informed them that Bigard still maintains the record of excellence she has always been known for. The record was made clear at the “Bodija 2016,” All Nigeria Major Seminaries Games, where Bigard came overall 2nd in the medal table.
The rector praised other members of the formation team for their contributions to the success of the games, especially the games moderator, Rev. Fr. Remigius Ibudialo, and the chief of football technical crew, Rev. Fr. Dr. Blaise Emebo. Fr. Ikpenwa also expressed his heartfelt joy to the Paragons who sacrificed their time and strength, and remained dedicated to making Bigard proud in the just concluded Major Seminaries Games.
In his Joy and excitement, the rector referred to them as the Great Ambassadors of Bigard. To the super fans of Bigard, the Rector showed sincere appreciation for their honest dedication in motivating not just the Bigard teams as they played, but saw the need to promote fair play, and were bent on inspiring and entertaining everybody. He equally thanked the coaches for their effort in preparing the teams to face the challenges.
In welcoming the Enugu State Commissioner for Sports, Youth and Development, Hon. Charles Ndukwe who was present, the rector acknowledged the cordiality existing between the church and the state, recounting the sincere supports the seminary has always received from the government of Enugu State.
In an address presented on behalf of the entire Bigard Seminarians, by the Secretary of the Students’ Union Government (SUG), Mr. Uguru Philip, the rector together with other formators were appreciated for their supports and dedications towards the affairs of Bigard Seminarians. The Bigard sports contingent was applauded for making Bigard proud in Bodija, amidst difficulties encountered such as far distance journey to Ibadan, and other privative factors.
The reception ceremony was coloured with some social activities such as Igba Umuogaranya of Awka Diocese, stand-up comedy show by Mr. Odo Charles, and an amazing musical performance by Bigard Fans for Jesus, where the athletes were invited to joyously dance to their success.
This occasion also featured a meritorious presentation of gifts to each of the athletes for their exhibition of patriotism and dedication, and for the love and passion they showed through their struggles that merited such great feat. The sport moderator, Rev. Fr. Remigius Ibudialo invited each one of them to the rostrum, as they received their packages from the rector and the commissioner. The Bigard Fans for Jesus were as well honoured with a golden cup for their supports throughout the tournament.
The commissioner for Youths and Sports Enugu State, Hon. Charles Ndukwe applauded the high spiritedness exhibited by the Bigard Contingent, and advised them to be steadfast and know that physical exercises also help the brain in no small measures. He also decried the pitiable condition of most Nigerian schools that have expunged sports through their school programs.
In great joy and thankfulness, the Bigard games master, Mr. Chimezie Umezurike responded on behalf of the Bigard sports contingent for the treat and honour they received from the Bigard family. He thanked the rector, the members of the formation team, the sports moderator, coaches, the fans, and indeed the entire seminarians for their contribution to their success.
In the closing remarks, Rev. Fr. Dr. Blaise Emebo congratulated the contingent and all those who contributed to their success He further presented to them some tokens of encouragement.
Six Vincentian seminarians who died in a car accident on their way to the sports tournament and the driver of Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary, Owerri who died at Bodija within the period of the tournament, were accorded some minutes of silence and prayers for their happy repose.The occasion was brought to an end with a closing prayer by Rev. Fr. Johnbosco Okoye, one of Bigard’s spiritual directors.