The Assumpta Spiritual Year Seminary Ogbaku, Owerri Archdiocese has honoured some committed Catholics who have sustained the Endowment Fund for the training of seminarians in the Archdiocese.
Those honoured were, the immediate past governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, Prof. Dan Dan Ekezie of the Imo State University Owerri, Chief Durueke, Chief Willington Okam, Prof. Onukogu, Chief Raphael Ajoku, Barr. (Lady) Ngozi Adindu and Engr. C.C. Emeribe. Also honoured were the CWO Owerri Archdiocese and Totus Tus.
The awards were presented to them by the Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, during the “Re-launching of the Seminary Endowment Fund and the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dedication of the Assumpta Spiritual Year Seminary” held at the school on May 31, 2014.
In his welcome address, the Rector of the Seminary and Director of Vocations, Owerri Archdiocese, Rev. Msgr. Kevin C. Akagha thanked the awardees and others who have sustained the fund since it was launched four years ago.
Msgr. Akagha recalled that the fund was first launched on May 22, 2010. “On that day, we planted what we called “Vocation Tree”. After four years, the small iroko has grown into a mighty tree but the Endowment Fund has not grown as much. We are here today asking you, our friends, to help us add some “financial manure to the fund.”
The Vocations Director pointed out that until quite recently, the Catholic Church in Nigeria was regarded as a foreign missionary church; and as such had been generously aided by the Vatican Office for the Propagation of the Faith.
“Today, things have changed. Nigeria is no longer regarded as a missionary territory and the Church in Nigeria is now largely a local missionary church. Consequently, the aid which has been hitherto afforded us from abroad for the training of seminarians is no longer adequate to meet our needs.
“Unfortunately, this is happening at a time in the history of the Church in Igboland, the seed bed of priestly vocations in Nigeria, when the number of young people who are offering themselves for the priesthood and the religious life is rapidly increasing.”
“We, therefore, come to you today to help us establish Endowment Fund for the training of these young men who are now offering themselves for the ministerial priesthood. We know that time will come when young men will no longer be willing to enter the sacred ministry. Now that they are willing, we ask you to please help us to seize the opportunity of the moment to avoid the tragedy of a missed opportunity.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Barr. Chuka Odom, former FCT Minister, thanked God for the growth of vocation in Igboland. Chief Odom who was represented by Chief Val Okechukwu called on the guests to support the seminary Endowment Fund to consolidate the growth.
Speaking after receiving the award, Mr. Peter Obi, represented by his former Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Engr. Patrick Obi Ifeanyi commended the Archdiocese of Owerri for their prayerful support during his administration and reiterated his readiness at all times to support the work of God.
Also speaking, Prof. Dan Dan Ekezie, who was accompanied by his wife Chief (Lady) Philo Ekezie and son, thanked God that the occasion coincided with the 33rd anniversary of his marriage. He also reiterated his preparedness to encourage the training of seminarians so that the vocation boom we are witnessing at the moment will not decline.
Earlier in his sermon during a thanksgiving Mass, Archbishop Obinna expressed the need for seminaries to produce holy priests, whose lives will be light to others; The prelate said Nigeria is blessed and should be missionaries in other parts of Africa just as people from Europe were missionaries in Nigeria.
He thanked those who support the training of seminarians, noting that the Church in Igboland is blessed with generous faithful, ever ready to support the work of God; and as a result of their generosity, we no longer depend so much on foreign donors.
He used the opportunity to congratulate Prof/Lady Dan-Dan Ekezie who used the occasion to thank God for the 33rd Anniversary of their wedding.
The Clergy, Religious, traditional rulers of Ogbaku, captains of Industry attended the occasion