St Augustine’s Major Seminary Jos Records 1,455 Priests At Golden Jubilee
The St Augustine’s Major Seminary in Jos has celebrated 50 years’ Golden Jubilee. The Seminary, which started with 3 indigenous priests in 1967, has graduated 1,455 priests, out of which emerged 20 Bishops and 2 Archbishops, with 437 Seminarians in formation.
The Major Seminary was established in 1967 by the Bishops of the former Kaduna Ecclesiastical, Philosophical, Theological, Spiritual and Moral Formation of Priests from within and outside the Province.
Since the inception of the institution, 3,892 candidates were admitted, out of which 1,505 graduated. This number includes, Bishops, Priests, Religious and the Laity, who are serving the Church in many capacities across the country and beyond.
“It is interesting to note that, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius A. Kaigama, and the Archbishop of Kaduna, the Bishops of Gboko, Jalingo, Kafancha, Kano, Katsina-Ala, Lafia, Maiduguri, Yola, as well as the late Bishops of Bauchi, Makurdi, Otukpo and Shendam are Alumni of the St Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos.
It would be fair to boast and say that, without the creation of the Seminary, the Missionary enterprise of the Catholic Missionaries, mostly from Ireland, would have come to naught, because Priests and the Laity, who finished from there are not only found in virtuous National and International pastoral and civil assignments.
“This is to note that, the first Rector of the Seminary was from Ireland. Late Fr Tom M. Flynn, OSA, served from 1967 to 1973; Rev Fr M. Fitzgerald, OSA, as Reactor, from 1974 to 1978; Rev Fr James Downey, OSA, from 1978 to 1984, while Rev Fr Cletus T. Gotan (1984 to 1990) was the first indigenous Rector, who now is Professor, from.
The Augustinians laid a solid foundation for the institution before handing over to the first indigenous Rector, who is from the Archdiocese of Jos, and also Alumni of the institution.
Speaking during the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Major Seminary, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, said Christian faith is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for all men, regardless of race, creed or belief.
He said, “Those men that have graduated in the Seminary are themselves exemplars of that self-sacrifice,” adding that, “the strength of our faith lies in this very principle – that we are conquerors not by force, or arms or hostility, but love.”
According to the VP, “This is by refusing to respond to evil with evil,” while quoting from the book of Romans 12:21, thus: ‘Do not overcome evil, but overcome evil with good.’
“The destiny of the nations depends on the Church; this is a spiritual principle of great importance. Christ said, ‘you are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.’ ”
The Vice President maintained that “this kind of leadership is a sacrificial one; it may come with pain and humiliation or persecution of serving without being thankful.”
He said, “Pope John Paul II challenged us all when he said, “We must not be afraid of being a Christian and living as Christians; we must have this courage to go and proclaim the Risen Christ, for he is our peace, he made peace with his love, with his forgiveness, with his Blood and with his mercy.”
Rector of the institution, Rev Fr Mark Nzukwein, said, “The Seminary doesn’t look like a mature entity at 50, because there is a lot of deficits regarding the quality of accommodation for both staffs and students, moderate means of transportation for the students. The physical appearance in terms of landscaping, utilities, modern learning facilities and sporting facilities is needed.”