- Late Msgr. Igboaja Immortalized
By Chikezie Ogbonna
Good development of the intellect has been identified as one phenomenon which should have its roots in faith and spirituality. This intellectual concept was buttressed by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Dioceses, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga at the 2022 St. Patrick feast day celebration at St. Patrick College, Emene Enugu on Thursday 17th March.
His Lordship also blessed and commissioned a newly reconstructed Administrative complex named after Late Msgr. Ugonna Igboaja.
Speaking on the topic; ‘Faith, Knowledge and Discipline equals to success’, Bishop Onaga noted that Faith and knowledge has one common denominator which is discipline. ‘You need discipline to acquire knowledge and need it to sustain faith’, His Lordship said.
Buttressing on the basic focus that should characterize the life of a student, His Lordship said; “Students must make effort to become the best. You need every level of discipline to serve that one true God. God allows evil in other to prove our faith. You need mental, emotional and psychological discipline to stay in faith.”
His Lordship expressed his delight on the continuous progress St. Patrick College has been recording since its return to church’s control.
“I am always impressed each year on the progress made so far. 8 years ago, this school was more of a slum, but today, it is an academic institution. We inherited St. Patrick as a slum, but, by God’s grace, the transformation is materializing. This is the result of deep discipline. This is the effect of Catholic education. With what I see, it does seem the past glories of Catholic education is coming back”, His Lordship said.
Raising the undeniable efficacy of Faith, knowledge and discipline as a reliable producer of success, His lordship, citing the experience of the disciples and Jesus on the miraculous fishing expedition as recorded in the book of John Chapter 21, noted that they listened to Christ in faith and the result was success.
“People do not want to work again and apply these principles. They want to become rich over night”, His Lordship bemoaned and urged for the return of uncompromising belief in meritocracy.
“Like St. James said, ‘he who does not work, let him not eat’, you have to work to eat”, He said.
Bishop Onaga urged teachers to remain uncompromising in the required standard. Referring to the life and time of Late Msgr. Ugonna Igboaja, he described him as a man of hard work.
He recalled that under him, Catholic education got the kind of attention it deserved. “He saw to the establishment of Catholic Education Commission for both the Diocese and the state at large. He raised the standard of where Catholic education should be”, His Lordship said.
Further advising the exam class students preparing for their SSCE, Bishop Onaga urged them to take their academics serious. He noted that now is not too late to prepare. He urged them to task themselves to succeed.
“Study well, believe in God, give yourself necessary sacrifice and success will be yours”, His Lordship advised.
In his address, the principal of the College, Rev. Fr. Dr. Chijioke Ezeh, praised Bishop Onaga for always, making himself available for the school amidst his tight schedules. According to him, the Bishop has visited the college six (6) times since his Episcopal ordination while the Auxiliary has been there three (3) times since his Episcopal Ordination. This he noted has proven that the diocese has been very integrated into the affairs of the school.
Just as the college’s mantra is ‘forward ever’, the school has continued to record milestones after another, this Fr. Chijioke attributed to the grace of God and the support of church.
Describing Late Msgr. Igboaja whom the school is specially honouring, he said, he was a seasoned administrator and his immortalization by the school is a symbolic moment for every member of the college, past and present.
“Late Msgr. Igboaja was indeed a movement and a force and this has made us to institutionalize his legacy into memory”, Fr. Chijioke reasserts.
Giving account on the newly reconstructed administrative block building housing the principal’s office and named after the late Msgr. Igboaja, Fr. Chijioke noted that the building cost 19 million naira and further revealed that it was a success through the support of all friends and partners of the school.
He also announced that the school has declared a section of the school’s library in memory of him with a collection of all his works.
He further expressed his excitement as the school unveiled the 10th edition of the school’s magazine called The Patriarch as they also mark 10 years of its uninterrupted publication.
With three resident priests, two Rev sisters, 120 staff members, two visiting priests, the college has always felt the practical catholic culture which catholic church offers in her institutions,, this, the principal echoed as he concluded his address.
Also speaking on the legacy the late Msgr. Ugonna Igboaja, the Senior Prefect of the School, Chidera Shederake Ezeoha in his address expressed the level of inspiration students derive from his reputation. He noted that he lived for Christ and died for Christ and his legacy lives on the life of students and the school in general.
Having spent 12 year as the principal of the school, the principal, Rev. Fr. Chijioke Ezeh looks forward to more development driven moves as he sets his eye on more and bigger projects in the school. According to him, he hopes to revitalize the school’s refectory as part of the vision to expand the scope of formation for students.
The well attended feast day celebration also had in attendance, the Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo, Bishop Emeritus, Most Rev. Anthony Gbuji, the Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Geoffrey Aguigwo , the Diocesan Secretary and Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Wilfred Agubuchie and the Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke.
Others in attendance were priests, the religious, members of the old boys association, parents, friends of the college and students from other Catholic owned schools in the state.
The 10th edition of the Patriarch magazine was unveiled and launched while students grouped in different houses and joined by their counterparts from other schools participated in the school’s 2022 inter house sports festival.