Comprehensive Reports on 2012/2013 Academic and Formation Year Events

At the beginning of every academic/formation year, the seminary organizes colloquium/orientation programme where the formators and seminarians come together to deliberate on a chosen relevant topic on the vocation to the Catholic Priesthood. This year’s colloquium was held on the 10th of October, 2012, with the theme as: The Urgent Need to Enhance Quality Intellectual Activities in Priestly Formation in Nigeria Today. Through this, the seminarians were once more drawn to the great intellectual challenges in the present world. They were urged to imbibe and internalize the reading and writing cultures for an effective priestly ministry in this 21st century.

Pastoral/Mission Weekend
The seminary organized her 12th pastoral and mission weekend from the 19th to the 21st October, 2012. The general theme of this year’s pastoral/mission weekend was: The Poor and the Church. A round-table discussion by some seminarians was held on Friday evening, the 19th day of October. The seminar was on Saturday, 20th October, 2012. The first guest speaker was Prof. Odii Francis who dwelt on the theme; “War against Poverty”. Other guest speakers were Rev. Fr. Onukwuba Martin, Mrs Uzo Uzoma and Hon. Uche Ekwunife. On mission Sunday, the 21st day of October, 2012, the seminarians were sent to some parishes within Enugu metropolis to catechise the Christian faithful.

Election of a New Vice-Rector I
On the 16th day of October, 2012, in the meeting of the formators, a new Vice-Rector I was elected to take the place of Rev. Fr. Dr. Benjamin Ewelu who is now the Rector of Blessed Pope John Paul II Major Seminary, Okpuno, Awka. Rev. Fr. Dr. Cletus Umezinwa was elected as the Vice-Rector I by the formators.

The official and formal inauguration of the 2012/2013 academic/formation year was on 29th October, 2012. The inaugurating prelate was His Excellency, Most Rev. Dr. Callistus V. C Onaga of Enugu Diocese. This was an opportunity for the formators and students to celebrate with and for the Bishop on his sarcedotal silver jubilee this year. Consequently, there was a reception programme organized in his honour. He admonished the students during mass on the need for purity of heart and intention towards life and the priestly ministry. He also encouraged the students who excelled both in academic and moral aspects of their seminary formation with gifts and promised the whole seminary of his love and prayers as an alumnus of the institution. In the course of the inauguration, Rev. Fr. Dr. Mellitus Ossai delivered a lecture entitled: The Historicity of Knowledge.

Bigard Celebrates the 50th Priestly Anniversary Of Very Rev. Msgr. Theophilus Okere
The Bigard family on the 3rd of November, 2012, celebrated the priestly golden jubilee anniversary of a worthy alumnus, a formator and a rector of Bigard, in the person of Very Rev. Msgr. Theophilus Okere. The celebration kicked off with a football match on the eve of the occasion being 2nd November, 2012, between the Bigard team and the Police Machines of Enugu State. On the 3rd of november, 2012, the event began with Holy mass, after which there was a grand reception on the seminary auditorium. Some of those who were present in the reception were: The Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Callistus Onaga, ably represented by the Vicar General of his diocese, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Luke Adike. Bishop John Ayah was represented by Fr. Joseph Ibuh while Bishop H.O. Okeke was reprsented by Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyginus Aghaulo. Our Metropolitan, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Valerian Okeke, also sent his representative.

Rector/Seminarians Interactive Forum
The persistent resolve of the Rector and his Formation team to engender integral formation saw to the continuation of the Interactive Forum between the Rector and the seminarians. Hence, the Rector had interactive sessions with each of the classes. This exercise enables the seminarians to freely and responsibly contribute to their own formation. It also allows the Rector and the Formation Team to assess the efficacy of the formation process on the seminarians. Cultural Weekend
The 2nd edition of the Bigard cultural weekend spanned from 9th to 11th November. The theme for this year’s cultural programme was: The Treasures of African Heritage. The cultural weekend is being celebrated so ass to enable the seminarians prepare for the All Nigeria Major Seminary Festival of Art and Culture (ANSFAC).

The former Anambra State Commissioner of Finance and the head of ‘Suwakwanu Igbo’ group, Prof. Pita Ejiofor, delivered a lecture entitled: “Suwakwanu Igbo”. There were also papers delivered by Msgr. Prof. Inyiobong and Msgr. Prof. Obiora Ike on “The Need for a Progressive Development of African Culture” and “The Need for an Indispensable Inter-Cultural Dialogue”, respectively. This was followed by the different cultural displays of the different cultural groups found in the seminary. The following cultural groups performed at the fiesta:

– The Odezuruigbo dance of Nnewi Diocese
– Ojinaka Togbo dance of Enugu and Awgu Dioceses
– Enyimba dance of Aba Diocese
– Odabara dance of Abakiliki Diocese
– Oriko dance of C.W.O from Awgu Diocese
– Igba Umuogaranya dance of Awka Diocese
– Abigbo dance of Ahiara Diocese
– Ekpo dance of Calabar Diocese
– Okonko dance of Okigwe Diocese and
– Ikorodu dance of Nsukka Diocese.

Visit of The C.W.O Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province
On the 15th day of November, 2012, in line with their noble practice, the members of the Catholic Women Organisation, Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province represented by the delegates from Abakaliki and Awgu dioceses visited the seminary. The Rector welcomed them on behalf of the seminary and they gave the seminary some food stuffs. The women also interacted and had lunch with the seminarians.

Annual Canonical Retreat
The annual canonical retreat commenced on the 7th and ended on the 13th December, 2012. Rev. Fr. Dr. JoeBarth Abba of Onitsha Archdiocese and Rev. Fr. Lawrence Soja Anyembugu of Lafia Diocese facilitated the retreat for the would-be-deacons and for the rest of the seminarians respectively.

Christmas Gala/Theatre Night
On the 13th day of December 2012, the Bigard Family organized her annual Christmas Gala and Theatre Night. This was to enable us celebrate, in advance, the Birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as one big family. Hence, this event was held on the eve of our vacation for the Christmas Break. Highlights of the occasion included various choral and theatrical presentations by our seminarians. The occasion was also used to express our sincere appreciation of the continued selfless services rendered to us by our medical team especially some members of the Catholic Workers Volunteer Force.

Christmas Break
The seminary vacated for the Christmas break on December 14, 2012.

Diaconate Ordination
Fifty-two of our seminarians from different dioceses and congregations were ordained deacons towards the end of December 2012 in their respective dioceses.

Re-roofing/Re-Painting/Refurbishment of the Seminary main Chapel, students dining hall and Vatican hostel
The re-roofing, re-painting and refurbishment of the above areas have been completed. Work on St. Luke’s Medical Clinic which is in a deplorable condition is yet to begin and crying for urgent financial help.

Resumption from the Christmas Break
The seminary resumed from the Christmas break on 11th January 2013.

Onitsha Provincial Seminary Games
The all Onitsha Ecclesiastical Provincial Games, referred to as “mgba ndi uka”, kicked off on the 1st of March and ended on the 3rd of March, 2013. This games, hosted in Blessed John Paul II Major Seminary, Okpuno, Awka, featured the three major seminaries in Onitsha Ecclesiastical province. They include: Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Blessed Tansi Major Seminary, Onitsha and Blessed John Paul II Major Seminary, Awka. This games constituted of Ten sports events – football, basketball, volleyball, table tennis (singles and doubles), badminton (singles and doubles), lawn tennis (singles and doubles). Out of this ten sports events, capable of bringing about Ten gold medals, Mother Bigard got six gold medals in volleyball, table tennis (doubles), Badminton (singles and doubles), lawn tennis (singles) and the “victor ludorum” (the overall best team). With this record, Bigard emerges once again victorious in the 2nd Onitsha Ecclesiastical Major Seminaries’ games.

42nd Convocation Ceremony of Bigard, 19th March, 2013. The 42nd Convocation Ceremony of Bigard Memorial Seminary, usually kicked off with a football match and Holy mass by the immediate out-gone priests of the seminary, was once more celebrated in a grand style this year. Bigard once more recorded the success for which she is known. Under the capable auspices of The Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, the event went on successfully. In the Philosophy faculty, 178 candidates took the B. Phil exams and the overall result went as thus: Probatus – 1, Bene Probatus – 20, Cum Laude – 14, Magna Cum Laude – 55, Summa Cum Laude – 8. In the Theology faculty, 155 candidates took the exams and the overall result is as follows: Probatus – 0, Bene Probatus – 3, Cum Laude – 36, Magna Cum Laude – 95, Summa Cum Laude – 25.

Easter Break
The seminary vacated for Easter Break on 1st April, 2013.

Resumption from Easter Break
The seminary reopened on 15th April, 2011.

Visit of the Mock-Accreditation Team from University Of Ibadan.
On the 19th of April, 2013, a team from the University of Ibadan came to Bigard with regards to the NUC requirements for a valid accreditation of Bigard to the University of Ibadan. They expressed their happiness on the success recorded so far and pointed out few places that needed to be fine-tuned for the acknowledgement of the NUC team from Abuja when they eventually come around any time this year.

National Debate of the National Association of Philosophy Students’ in Bigard
From the 26th – 28th April, the National Association of Philosophy Students (NAPS), came to Bigard for a National Meeting, animated by a debate on the importance of Philosophy in National Development. Hence, the theme: “Philosophy and National Development”. In the course of the debate, the following Seminaries/Universities were in attendance and actively participated: Bigard Memorial Seminary Philosophy Students, Blessed Pope John Paul II Major Seminary Philosophy students, University of Nigeria Nsukka Philosophy students, University of Abuja Philosophy Students and University of Port-Harcourt Philosophy students. After the debate which went up to three rounds, the following universities came as winners in the three rounds of the debate: University of Nigeria Nsukka, Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu and University of Port-Harcourt. The Philosophy students of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, were later given the “victor’s crown” due to their hospitable spirit and also their good performance during the debate. On Sunday the 28th of April, there was a thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration which marked the end of the Weekend.

Pro-Life Weekend
From March 10 to 12, 2013, the Bigard Chapter of the Pro-Life Movement organized her weekend at Bigard. The general concern of the weekend as reflected in the general theme is: The Youth and the ICT; problems and prospects. On the course of the events, the contributors reminded all of the exigent and urgent need to rout all the evil accruing form the ICT and hold firm those rich and good benefits it offers us. During the seminar, three papers were presented. The first paper was a keynote address by B.S.C. Ezema, the HOS, Enugu State, on the theme, The Youth and ICT. The second paper was presented by Mr. Polycarp Ugorji Onwuka on the topic, The Youth and Social Networking: Problems and Prospects. Doctor Chuka Okoye delivered the third paper on the theme, Responsible Attitude in the Use of Communication Media. In attendance were Pro-Lifers from other seminaries and higher institutions.

Visit of the Head of Sections (STUDENTS) of Kirche-in-Not, Germany On May 12-13, 2013, the seminary hosted Herr Peter Rettig, the Head of Students Section of the Kirche-in-Not, Germany, who was on a visit to Nigeria. In his speech, he commended the homely nature of Bigard and appreciated the heart-warming reception accorded him. He also noted that the Kirche-in-Not, Germany, is in the mission of animating the Church in need to ensure the continued formation of seminarians for the Catholic Priesthood and and the spread of the goodnews of our Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. 4. 20. Formation Weekend
In response to the need for an integral human formation, the seminary organized her annual formation weekend from 16th to 20th April, 2011. This year’s programme featured a workshop/seminar on CyberSexual Activities facilitated by Rev. Sr. Dr. Providentia Marinze IHM of Charles Heery Centre for Human Development, Onitsha.

B.A (Ibadan) Examination.
The final Examination of the final year students of philosophy in affiliation to the University of Ibadan began on 20th May 2013 and came to an end on 30th May 2013.

Second Semester Examinations
The Final Degree Examinations of both philosophy and theology students took place on 6th of June, 2013. The rest of the students started their second semester examinations on May 30, 2013. All the examinations ended on June 15, 2013.

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