Bigard Seminary Marks Her 2019 Pro-Life Weekend

Life is God’s gift to every person in the world. Unfortunately, the modern world has been caught up by the culture of death, a culture that deemphasizes the sanctity of life but celebrates its abuse. Moved by the painful concern to protect life and re-establish the culture of life, Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, started an annual tradition of marking a Pro-Life Weekend. During this weekend, Catholic students and lay faithful are invited from across the neighbouring institutions and parishes to mark the events of the weekend. The weekends usually feature conferences, paper presentations, prolife awareness match, and entertainment sessions, among others.

This years’ Pro-Life Weekend spanned from Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19, 2019. The 3-day event drew people from far and wide who came to be part of the celebration. Following the arrival of the participants and guests, the opening ceremony took place at the Seminary Auditorium by 20:00 hours. The night featured introduction of the participating schools, Round Table Discussion among the participating schools, and presentations from individuals and groups.

The events of Saturday, May 18, 2019 started at 9:00 hours. After the opening prayers and the presentation of National, Bigard, and Pro-Life anthems in that order, there was an opening remark from the Rector of Bigard Seminary, Very Rev. Fr. Albert Ikpenwa. The rector noted that every seminarian, and indeed, every Christian is called to protect life. He disclosed that experts have been invited to examine issues of life from their unique perspectives. Welcoming everyone gathered for the session, the Rector enjoined all to stay put and enjoy the rest of the programs as they unfold. The Rector’s remark was followed by an address of welcome presented by the president of Pro-Life Movement, Bigard Chapter, Rev. Joseph Ukoro.

Next were paper presentations by Engr. Jerry Okwuosa and Barr. Chizoba Nnagbo. Engr. Jerry Okwuosa, in his paper titled: “Vocation to Life: Youth and Christian Faith,”reminded all gathered of their sacred duty to defend life. Echoing the words of Pope St John Paul II in his address at World Youth Day in 1992/3, he said that “we may be condemned if you do not defend life”. Again, bemoaning the outrageous crimes against life prevalent in our world today, he submitted that we are left with no option than to take conversion to the streets. With statistics, Engr. Jerry demonstrated that abortions take place every second around the world, and that the divorce index has become unimaginably high. This ugly trend he described as a culture of death. The whole world, he further explained, has become infested by this error. We must, as Christians, atone for this error and engineer a counter-force against this satanic culture. He ended with a lot of recommendations on how to defend life.

Barrister Chizoba Nnagbo, in his paper titled: “The Youths and Contemporary Challenges in Nigeria” admitted that Nigerian youths are really so unfortunate to be in a nation filled with so many errors. He identified these prevalent errors as a reflection of individual family errors. The fight against the problems of Nigeria, in his opinion, must begin from the families. For optimal results in the war against the erosion of values in Nigeria, Barrister Nnagbo recommended that the preachers of the gospel should not just be teachers but witnesses.

Rev Fr. Dr. Humphrey Uchenna Ani, who moderated the papers, reacting to what he described as scholarly and enriching presentations, went a little further to amplify the concerns raised by the papers. Followinghis interventions were questions and reactions from the students and guests. Most of the questions raised bothered on abortions and ethics. The Rector, a renowned ethics scholar, conjointly with the presenters proffered solutions to the problems raised.

The rest of the programs featured the unveiling of the 8th edition of The Life Magazine, free speeches from participants and other guests, presentation of awards to the paper presenters, presentation of certificate of participation/membership to participants, and Pro-Life Match around the streets of Enugu Metropolis which came later in the day.

The 2019 pro-life activities were officially brought to an end with a Eucharistic Celebration on the early hours of Sunday, May 20, 2019.