Around Mid-October 2014, the incumbent Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ukoro Theophilus Igwe while on his usual “class by class” interaction with the Seminarians disclosed the possibility of his proceeding to sabbatical leave at the end of this academic session after holding the office of the Rector since 2006.
Since this heartbreaking news, the Seminarians have been patiently with mixed feelings awaiting the announcement of a new rector. This aura of expectancy reached its apex on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 the day of the meeting of the Formators with the Bishops of Onitsha Ecclesiastical province. During the meeting, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert Okechukwu Ikpenwa was appointed the new Acting Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu by the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Provincial Bishops.
Fr. Ikpenwa is a priest of Agwu Diocese ordained on August 24, 1996. He studied Philosophy and Theology at Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri and Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu respectively. After his ordination, he worked as a Parish Vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Uwani, Enugu. He has also served as Bursar in Bigard Memorial Seminary between 1997 and 2001 from where he went for his postgraduate studies at Accademia Alfonsiana Istituto Superiore Di Teologia Morale Roma-Italia from 2001 to 2012. He combined his studies in Rome with mission in Germany at Pfarrei sankt marien simbach am inn (Passau Diozese-Germany).
Fr. Ikpenwa joined the team of Bigard formators again in 2012and presentlylecturesin the Theology department. He also doubles as the Vice Rector IIand Sport Coordinator of the Seminary. Father’s academic laurels include: B.Phil. and BD from Pontifical Urban University, Rome; Licentiate and Doctorate degrees in Moral Theology from Accademia Alfonsiana Istituto Superiore Di Teologia Morale Roma-Italia. His hobbies include: music, reading, basketball, lawn tennis, football and jogging. His philosophy of life is “Steadfastness in the service of God and humanity”.
The news of his election as the new Acting Rector of Bigard was announced to the Seminarians at about 7.35am on Wednesday May 13, 2015 during the Wednesday’s Community Mass. The announcement was made by the outgoing rector, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Ukoro Theophilus Igwe. This announcement stirred a thunderous ovation from the Seminarians as the Choir intoned the hymn “Wonderful and great are your works, O Lord God Almighty: Alleluia, Alleluia”. Fr. Ukoro also announced the appointment of a new Vice Rector to replace Fr. Ikpenwa in the person of Rev. Fr. Dr. Cajetan Iyidobi from the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka.
The outgoing Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Igwe finally urged all to cooperate with the new administration which will take effect at the beginning of the 2015/2016 academic year and pray God to bestow on them the grace of office.
We acknowledge the assiduous efforts of our dear outgoing Rector, Very Rev. Fr. Ukoro Theophilus Igwe in giving the best of formation to the Seminarians and in giving the Seminary a facelift as we pray the Almighty God to continue to strengthen him. Bigard will miss you. We also congratulate our new Rector and new Vice Rector and pray the Holy Spirit to be their guide.