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Rectors of Major and Minor Seminaries in the country have been admonished to remain steadfast in the mission of mentoring future priests for the Church in Nigeria, in spite of the challenges of modernity and other factors facing the Church in this perspective.

This advise was given by the Rev. Fr. Isaac Dugu, the Director of Pastoral Agents Department of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN); in his address at the workshop for all Rectors of Minor and Major Seminaries, organized by the department. The workshop which took place recently, at the St Gabriel Spiritual Year Seminary, Ozubulu, Anambra State; was attended by Most Rev. Valerian Okeke,  Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese and CBCN Bishop Chairman for Seminary Committee; Most Rev. Hilary Okeke, Bishop of Nnewi Diocese and directors of seminaries in all the Archdioceses and dioceses in the country

While commending the rectors for their invaluable role in their vocation of training and making seminarians worthy servants of Christ as priests in the Lord’s vineyard, Fr. Dugu described them as noble people noting that: “The Church in Nigeria and the Universal Church depend on you in the training and mentoring of future priests who are sound, deep in faith, rich in wisdom, proven integrity and full of the Holy Spirit to witness to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Noting that this responsibility of the rectors in not a mean task, Fr. Dugu remarked that  “the task comes with a monumental responsibility but flickered with amazing Grace from God in the face of very obvious hazards and challenges emerging daily from the trends of modernity, relativism, widespread sycophancy, political profligacy, moral decay, sexual evolution, ethnic and religious bigotry,” among others

The CSN director then assured the rectors: “As dreadful as those challenges are, so bountifully  grace filled are the corresponding  blessings from Heaven for the good work you do.” The director spoke extensively on: the priests and politics; rebuilding the Nigerian political system; priests, politics and formation; mentorship and ministry; and the position of the Church and roles of the rectors in this perspectives.

On the issue of issue of politics in the country, Fr. Dugu regretted that “the word does not sound positive in minds of many Nigerians as it is associated with unhealthy values of stealing, corruption, irresponsibility, hatred, greed, acrimony and deceit”, among others.  Pointing out that priests as the moral conscience of the people are expected to come to their rescue, the CSN director urged that they should provide vision for the country’s gullible politicians. He added: “If politics is a clean game, then, we need priests who are called and chosen by God, ministers of Sacraments to add their weight and charism to the game of politics.

Fr Dugu noted that the workshop has far more reaching significance, as it is not only to edify the knowledge of the rectors, but also inculcate the values of effective mentoring leadership toward the promotion and Christian values in the minds of the seminarians as they discern their vocation. He remarked: “In our society where the word politics has a bad name, --- our seminarians must be informed that Jesus taught his disciples to be leaders who must have character and values and that a leader must strive to change attitude and traditions that are inimical to Christian values that can transform the world for good.

He added: “Given the rapid evolution in all facets of our modern society, our young brothers in the formation need some guide and proper orientation.”


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