Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday joined His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. C.V.C Onaga, staff and students of the famous Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu to inaugurate the 2017/2018 academic year of the seminary.
At the colourful event, Gov. Ugwuanyi who participated in the Holy Mass and solemn blessing of the new St. Luke’s Clinic, also commissioned the new asphalted Bigard 2nd Avenue road in the seminary, among other activities.
In his address, the governor said he was “deeply honoured and privileged to share company with His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, His Excellency, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev Dr C.V.C Onaga, the Rector, Very Rev. Dr. Albert Ikpenwa, as well as the Formators and the Students of the Seminary, in this special occasion”.
According to him, “The Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu has certainly come a long way and currently enjoys an iconic status as one of the most notable Catholic institutions in the country and beyond.
“From its humble beginning at Onitsha in 1922, when it was known as St Paul’s Seminary, it has grown progressively over the years to produce three Cardinals including His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze; 11 Archbishops, 31 Bishops and thousands of Priests and Lay Church workers both within and outside the country. It has also given birth to four other Major Seminaries and currently maintains a student population of 800 Seminarians along with 26 Formators, 43 external Lecturers and 150 Lay staff.
“The Seminary and the glorious achievements it has recorded over the years, have indeed helped to project Enugu City and Enugu State positively around the world.
“We are proud therefore, to identify with the Seminary in all occasions and we will certainly continue to offer the institution our necessary support and assistance as it dutifully carries on the virtuous task of producing capable workers for the Lord’s Vineyard.
“Enugu State is truly in the hands of God and we must continue to thank the Catholic Church in Enugu State for its unceasing support and prayers for my administration from the beginning.
“We pray that God will continue to grant the leaders of the Church and particularly, those trained and being trained in this Seminary, the wisdom, spiritual strength, good health and the resources to guide triumphantly, the flock that He has entrusted to their loving care through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”.
Other highlights of the event were discussion points and reflections on the Priestly Ministry by Cardinal Arinze with staff and seminarians of the seminary; presentation of awards to outstanding students in learning and behavior during the last academic year; cultural dance by the Ikorodo/Ojinaka Togbo troupes, among others.