Message from the Rector: Fr Albert
‘The year 2021 was a grace-filled year; as much as the Seminary battled with the challenges posed by the political upheaval in the country, and the policies set in place by the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the year was well-spent.
Our Seminary was thrown into difficulties stemming from the raging political agitations in the south-eastern part of Nigeria where our Seminary is located. From August, we experienced a sit-at-home protest every Monday which was initiated to demand the freedom of an incarcerated political leader.
Since there are many lecturers and students who are non-residents, the ‘Monday sit-at-home’ affected the Seminary programme drastically; lectures and other events that were scheduled for Mondays were skipped and absorbed into other days of the week. The phenomenon of #Unknown Gunmen was and remains a devastating issue and its effect enormous. The tension and great challenges posed by these insecurities created unhealthy atmosphere in the seminary and its environs.
Additionally, last year the Seminary family had to bear the irreparable loss of her two great doctors who services are irreplaceable, namely: Late Drs EvaristusUdorah and Chike Akunyili. They died on January and September 2021 respectively. The vacuum created by their death cannot be filled. We pray God to rest their souls. Amen.
Amidst these challenges we are grateful to God that we were able to have both Priestly and Diaconate ordinations: 46 students were ordained Deacons, and 79 students were ordained Priests for the dioceses of Aba, Abakaliki, Ahiara, Awgu, Calabar, Ekwulobia, Enugu, Nsukka, Nnewi, Okigwe, Orlu, Port Hartcourt, Umuhia and Uyo.
While we continue to recover from the difficulties and uncertainties occasioned by the pandemic, and the havoc wreaked by politics, we are optimistic that the year 2022 will yield peaceful resolution of the current crises raging in our society. We are getting used to the tension and constantly making necessary adjustments to cushion the effects of the disruptions we encounter. We remain very grateful to God because of the improvements we have experienced so far.
We also anticipate more serious security measures will be put in place by the government, even as we remain fervent in prayer for God’s protection in these very difficult days.
The seminary community will continue to observe the necessary security measures and maintain her steadfastness in prayers, for divine intervention. Again, the seminary continues to appeal to her benefactors for financial assistance to enable her to meet the sky-rocketing prices of basic food and necessities for survival. We equally hold high our confidence and hope in God; it is ‘in Him that we live, move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28)’.
Life at Bigard Memorial Seminary
Through hardship, conflict and civil war, Bigard Memorial Seminary has been training future Priests for almost 100 years. Today it is a thriving college in Enugu, the south east of Nigeria, with over 800 seminarians. Among many projects – which aim both to increase self-sufficiency, and reach out and benefit the local community – the Seminary runs a primary school for local children, as well as pig and poultry farms.
The number of vocations is encouraging, but they do present logistical issues, which is where your support makes all the difference. The Seminary is currently trying to increase its accommodation capacity, so that no vocation is turned away, as well as carrying out vital repairs and maintenance.
It’s a cause for great joy to see so many young men dedicate their lives to God. Here is the Seminary choir lifting their voices in praise:
Message from a student
I am a seminarian from the diocese of Enugu, and I am currently in the last year of my theological studies here in Bigard Memorial Seminary. I would like to share, with delight, the impressive impart your sponsorship has made on me and on my seminary formation.
My privileged encounter with you imprints in me this truth: that even today Jesus Christ continues to work among us through the Church, providing much needed support, encouragement, and consolation to the world. It is inevitable to say that one of the societies through which Christ continues to share his love and miracle in the world is through the efforts of Missio.
The immensity of the help given to me and my brother-seminarians through Missio in our journey to the priesthood in this part of the world is immeasurable. The year 2021 was not an easy one, especially during this time of COVID-19 which has continued to ravage the world and the socio-political predicament that has come to characterise my country.
The financial aid given to the seminary for my upkeep by Missio has in a great way eased the struggle for survival, as well as helped me to pay keener attention to my formation in the seminary.
Missio supporters not only assist me and my fellow seminarians through financial aid to our seminary, they also give us the most important of all aids, their prayers.
I have been strengthened by the knowledge that the predicaments I and my brothers are going through here in this part of the world have a gracious echo in the minds of my brothers and sisters who offer continuous prayers for our good through Missio. It is with this knowledge that our faith and commitment is strengthened, to keep up the good fight and become shepherds after God’s own heart.