Missio England and Wales has a long-standing relationship with five seminaries in Kenya, India, Malawi, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. These seminaries offer the opportunity to sponsor the training of a future Priest. When you sponsor a seminarian, you are building the Church of tomorrow, today.
Here, Fr Albert, Rector of the Bigard Memorial Seminary in Nigeria, updates us on the joys and challenges of seminary life in 2022:
Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu was founded in 1924 and has both Philosophy and Theology departments. We currently have 837 seminarians studying in our seminary.
The Seminary works hard to provide a fertile environment for both academic and other forms of formation of our Seminarians. This is evident in the lectures and programmes carried out in the seminary last year, which included: workshops, symposia, seminars, inauguration and convocation ceremonies.
Challenges in 2022
The situation in our country has deeply impacted life in the Seminary. One of challenges that has deeply impacted us has been the activities of terrorists and bandits, which have compelled us to increase security for the Seminary at a great cost.
The weekly Monday ‘sit-at-home’ imposed by an armed group in south-eastern Nigeria means that all official Monday activities in and outside the Seminary have to be cancelled. The Seminary has made, and continues to make, adjustments in order to adapt to the present condition.
The economic situation has also made it extremely difficult – prices of basic goods and services have skyrocketed, leading to serious difficulty in making them available in the Seminary. And on the political scene, the atmosphere is charged with ongoing presidential campaigns. Cases of kidnapping, killings and destruction of properties are reported daily.
But there are still joys and celebrations
Despite the turbulent situation in our country, we were pleased to have Priestly and Diaconate ordinations: 48 students were ordained Deacons, and 77 students were ordained Priests for the dioceses of Aba, Abakaliki, Ahiara, Awgu, Calabar, Ekwulobia, Enugu, Nsukka, Nnewi, Okigwe, Orlu, Port Harcourt, Umuahia and Uyo.
In spite of the crises Nigeria is facing, our churches are full, new parishes are being created, and vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life bloom.
Hopes for 2023
We continue to have hope that God is in charge and the current hostility will be resolved and that a government will be chosen that will work to reduce religious tension.
We also continue to hope that the current crisis and tension in the south-eastern part of the country, where our Seminary is located, will be resolved. This will enable us to return to the normal Seminary programme. The Seminary currently makes effort in taking different security measures to ensure her safety. We also maintain our steadfastness in prayer (Romans 12:12) to God to salvage our country.
We thank our benefactors for their kindness and continue to appeal for financial assistance, sincerely hoping we will be able to afford the basic amenities which will help promote the smooth running of our Seminary.
Fr Albert, Rector
Message from a Seminarian
I am currently in the third-year of my theological studies here in Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu. I am delighted to share the impacts of the support I receive from Missio’s sponsorship programme.
The Catechism of the Church teaches us that the duty of being a neighbour to others becomes more demanding when it involves the disadvantaged (CCC. 1932). But this has been one of the characteristics of Missio, which continues to live out this teaching through both the financial and spiritual supports it grants to us. Their example shows us that we can share in people’s pain and happiness too; just as Christ did.
The economic condition of my country is deteriorating. However, your financial support, which we receive through Missio, has helped in providing for some of my basic needs. It helps me and my brother-Seminarians to ward off some worries and distractions so we can face our Seminary formation squarely.
You not only support me with your financial contribution, but also spiritually. Your prayers have been sustaining me in the journey to the Priesthood, knowing full well that as humans, we can do nothing except through him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
I am comforted and encouraged whenever I remember that I have a sponsor who prays for me and shares my worries. I feel that I am not left alone in this journey to the Priesthood. This helps me understand what it truly means to be a neighbour. It confirms my belief that we are agents through whom God writes straight on a crooked line.
When you sponsor a seminarian, you build the Church of tomorrow, today.
- To find out how you can sponsor the training of a future Priest as an individual, or as a family, a community or a parish project, click here>>
- You can also donate here, by choosing ‘Train tomorrow’s Priests and Sisters’.