The Seminary of All Saints, Uhiele, Ekpoma was established on February 11, 1994 with the issuance of a Bull by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who, through the said Bull, acceded to the request of the Bishops of Nigeria that a new Seminary be established to cater for the pastoral need of formation of candidates for the sacred priesthood. There was need for a new Seminary because the Seminaries already in existence were insufficient to adequately attend to the need of formation due to the surge in the number of candidates responding to the call to the Catholic priesthood. The Archbishop Emeritus of Benin City, Most Rev. Dr Patrick Ebosele Ekpu was instrumental in its establishment. As Archbishop of Benin City he gave it all the support he could both as one of its proprietors and as Chairman of the Seminary commission. Even after his years of active pastoral service, he continues to think and mean well towards the Seminary. His goodwill for the Seminary was manifested in an extra-ordinary way in the Borehole project he embarked upon recently to alleviate the challenge the Seminary has grappled with since its beginnings. The Borehole which is located within the premises of St Anselm Catholic Church Irrua due to the unique nature of the terrain of the Seminary which made it impossible to get a borehole water supply, was handed over to its beneficiary, the Seminary of All Saints, Uhiele Ekpoma, blessed and commissioned on Thursday 22nd June, 2017.
Most Rev. Dr Donatus Aihmiosion Ogun, the Bishop of Uromi and Host, welcomed all to the occasion. In his welcome remark he affirmed that the day was one of great joy because of the purpose of the gathering. “Getting water is a most difficult thing for us in Esan land”; he noted. As one of the proprietors of the Seminary, he knows the pressing needs of the Seminary which include water. The project we were gathered to see handed over to the Seminary of All Saints, blessed and commissioned responds to this challenge. He therefore
expressed gratitude to his Grace, the Archbishop Emeritus for carrying the Seminary in his heart. He equally appreciated all the guests who came to show solidarity.
The Address of the Benefactor of this magnificent project, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr Patrick Ebosele Ekpu was read by Rev. Fr Andrew Obiyan. The Address is published in its entirety. At the end of the Address, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr Patrick Ebosele Ekpu personally handed over the Borehole to Most Rev. Dr Donatus Aihmiosion Ogun, the Bishop of Uromi and one of the Proprietors of the Seminary. His Lordship then handed the Borehole over to the Rector of the Seminary of All Saints, Very Rev. Dr Paul Kehinde Oredipe for the use of the Seminary community.
In his address of gratitude for the precious gift of a Borehole presented to the Seminary by the Archbishop Emeritus, Very Rev. Fr Dr Paul Kehinde Oredipe, the Rector magnificus of the Seminary of All Saints remarked that the day was “indeed a memorable and gracious day for our Seminary.” This is the case because the project responds to one of the challenges of the Seminary. The Rector stated this when he affirmed: “From her beginning, the Seminary has been faced with the big difficulty of getting good and regular water supply… No thanks to the topography of the area where the Seminary is sited… all attempts at sinking a water Borehole have proven abortive.”
The Rector was very pleased to acknowledge the following objective benefits that the Seminary will derive from the Borehole:
i. The regular supply of good water to the Seminary community.
ii. The reduction of typhoid cases and other water related diseases in our community.
iii. The reduction in the recurrent high expenses of the Seminary on purchase of water.
On behalf of the Seminary community, he expressed heartfelt gratitude to their benefactor, the Most Rev. Dr Patrick Ebosele Ekpu whom he referred to as “our dearest grandfather and father” for his graciousness in providing this Borehole; praying that the good Lord may bless and reward him for his thoughtfulness and generosity.
In his address at this auspicious occasion, the Grand Knight of the Knighthood order of St Paul, Sir Dr Rufus Ehimen Ikharebhore thanked God for the “extraordinary benevolence” of his Grace, Archbishop P.E. Ekpu towards mankind. Continuing his address, he remarked: “What is being commissioned this morning, is something great to behold and greater in the sight of God, for sacred Scripture talks about spring of living water which helps to cleanse our life, for water is life.” On the quality of the Personality of the benefactor of this Borehole Project, he asserted: “Our Archbishop Emeritus has once again demonstrated that he is a great visionary leader per excellence whose name shall stand tall and distinct in time of reckoning, and his statue shall surely be edifying.” He saluted the foresightedness of the Archbishop Emeritus and appreciated him for the many good things he has done for mankind that are too many to mention.
God is the source of all goodness. Acknowledging him for his blessings is a duty of faith. It is against this backdrop that the Borehole was blessed and then commissioned for the use of the Seminary by His Grace, Most Rev. Dr Augustine Obiora Akubeze, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Benin City and Metropolitan of the Benin Ecclesiatical Province.
For the faithful of St Anselm Catholic Church, Irrua, it was a thing of joy for them to have this Borehole sited within the premises of their Church community. In his remarks, the Laity President of the Church, Mr A.O. Okoduwa welcomed all to their community expressing their delight at the presence of our Patriarch, the Archbishop Emeritus of Benin City in their community. He noted that the Borehole will be beneficial not only to the Seminary of All Saints but also to the host community. He prayed and wished that the project will usher more developmental projects to their community. They then made presentation of gift items to the Archbishops and Bishops. The Knights and Ladies of the Knighthood order of St Paul also made a presentation.
Rev. Fr Dr Matthew Ihensekhien, the Vice Rector of the Seminary of All Saints in giving the vote of thanks expressed sentiments of gratitude affirming that the Borehole project is something they have dreamt and talked about for many years. On behalf of the dynamic Rector, members of the Formation Team, Staff and Seminarians of the Seminary, he expressed gratitude to Almighty God for making the day possible. He equally appreciated the Archbishop Emeritus for his magnanimity and continuous support for the Seminary. He assured him of the prayers of the Seminary community. Gratitude was also extended to Archbishop Augustine Akubeze and Bishops Gabriel Dunia and Donatus Ogun for their concerns for the welfare of the Seminary. Rev. Fr Dr Fidelis Arhedo was appreciated for monitoring the project during the phase of construction. Priests, Consecrated men and women, Knights and Ladies, and every other guests were appreciated for their presence.
Fr Ihensekhien also used the occasion to appeal for another water tanker adding that the one the Seminary has is no longer efficient due to the long period of time it has been at the service of the Seminary.
Our father and grandfather, Most Rev. Dr Patrick Ebosele Ekpu, whom the Bishop of Uromi Diocese loves to address as “our patriarch” was surrounded with his brothers in the episcopate at this great event of the blessing and commissioning of the borehole project: Most Rev. Dr Augustine Obiora Akubeze, his proud and worthy successor as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Benin City and Metropolitan of the Benin Ecclesiatical Province; Most Rev. Dr Gabriel Dunia, Bishop of Auchi Diocese who was represented by Rev. Fr Silas Bobokhae and Most Rev. Dr Donatus Aihmiosion Ogun, host and Bishop of Uromi diocese, and Rev. Sr Monica Roland, SSH, Superior General of the Religious Institute of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus founded by His Grace, the Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Ebosele Ekpu.
By Staff Reporter