Following the inauguration of the Catholic Diocese of Awgu on the 29th of September, 2005, the pioneer bishop of the new diocese Most Rev. Dr. John Ifeanyichukwu Okoye saw the need for evangelization to be thorough in the young diocese. He therefore deemed it wise to elect a new minor seminary to greatly aid in the increase of the number of the clergies in the diocese as it face the problem of insufficient priests in the diocese.
In this regard, the diocese was now faced with the controversial question of the appropriate location for the institution of her dreamed seminary. Many locations were suggested and mappings followed; but among these suggested places, none was as suitable for the desired quest as the dilapidated remains of the Old St. Vincent College, Agbogugu.
An appeal was made to Agbogugu community who gave their consent but referred the diocese to the state government who had the authority over the school. The demand and the processes of the handover the school to the church became more intense and faster with the aid of the bishop under whom these priests worked assiduously to achieve the dream of establishing the seminary: Very Rev. Frs. Jacob Okoye, Stan Okonkwo, Mathew Eze.
With the moves made and every due process followed for the handover, the right part of Old St Vincent secondary school ground was handed over to the Catholic Diocese of Awgu for the establishment of a seminary. Entrance examinations and interview were conducted and 44 students were qualified to be admitted into the young citadel of learning. To this effect, today, the school gives recourse to the dynamic bishop of the diocese and other priests in the diocese for helping in solving most of the problems. Very Rev Fr. Bartholomew Nze was appointed as the pioneer Rector together with other fathers of the staff: Frs. Jude Njoku and Ikenna Onovo to make-up the formation crew.
Today, through the help of God and the good intentions of the bishop, the seminary has witnessed the happy administration of four (4) Rectors in the persons of:
Very Rev. Fr. Bartholomew Nze 2007-2008
Very Rev. Fr. Jude Njoku 2008-2013
Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Anioke 2013-2014
Fr. Jonathan Nweke 2014- till date THE SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENTS
At the inception of seminary, it was a sore to the eye beholding the young seminarians stepping into a compound full of vegetations with dilapidated buildings scattered here and there; lacking in infrastructure and other necessities since there was neither a stipulated dormitory nor refectory- having neither classrooms nor chapel and the physical countenance of the school was not a happy sight. These setbacks notwithstanding, the formation and the discipline of the students was a sight to behold even though the students slept, prayed, ate and studied under just one roof. To prove the truth-value of the saying that the best of steel pass through the fiercest of fire, the school had in their records so many achievements of which some are listed below:
1. The seminary is a citadel of learning and academic enterprise, proper education of the seminarians is one of the primary dreams of the seminary. Hence, it spares nothing in seeing that the seminarians are given conducive environment for studies. The young seminarians attend morning classes between 8 am to 1 pm. They also go for their afternoon prep which lasts between 3pm to 5pm, together with the night prep which lasts between 9pm to 10: 30 pm. Little wonder why school is proud to boast that she took the 1st position in 2009/2010 JSSCE examination in the state. Also, it is the intention of the seminary to assist the students to be versatile in learning, that is why several computer sets have been secured to enable them learn and become computer literate.
2. SPORT: Sport is one of the primary activities of the seminary. The seminarians are encouraged to engage in sporting activities as it will help to keep them healthy. Hence it is worthy to mention that in the 2009 all minor seminary sports competition held at St. John Bosco Seminary, Isianiocha, Awka Diocese, the seminary did wonderfully well and also in the 2013 all minor seminary sports competition held at St John Cross Seminary Nsukka, the seminary came the overall third position.
3. MUSIC: Music is the language of the soul. It is the medium through which individuals and communities express their emotions and feelings. It adds greatly to the beauty of nature and the personal orientation and formation of the seminary. In full recognition of the importance of music in the lives of the young seminarians, the seminary acquired a full set of orchestra thanks to the benevolence of the bishop. Hence, the seminary is the citadel of music in the diocese and even in the province as young seminarians are tutored on different instrument. Little wonder the seminary made the overall third position in the 2011 Onitsha Ecclesiastical All Minor Seminary Music Competition which was held at Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala.
4. AGRICULTURE: The school has made and continues to make impart in that area. The Seminary presently runs a piggery, poultry, and fish pond farm which serves both academic and economic needs of the school.
5. POWER SUPPLY: Due to the epileptic power supply of the PHCN, the seminary in other to ensure constant power supply procured through the benevolence of one of her benefactors a brand new sound proof 40KVA generator set for constant power supply in the school.
6. INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGES: The seminary offers opportunities to the young seminarians. The seminary offers exposition of international languages like French and Latin. Latin which is the official language of the Roman Catholic Church is taught in the seminary from JSS 1 till SS2 to make the seminarians conversant with the language. Thus, at the middle of their 5th year in the seminary, the seminarians are examined to ascertain their progress. The examination is taken in all the minor seminaries in the country; this examination is a certificate examination from the Urban University Rome. The seminary is happy to announce that presently in the all minor seminaries, it is always on the lead.
7. ACCOMODATION: At present we have six hostels for instance St. Paul’s hostel, St Michael’s hostel, Santa Maria hostel, St Thomas Aquinas hostel, St John’s hostel, St Anthony hostel. In our effort to accommodate the increasing number of students, we are presently building an ultra-modern hostel. CONCLUSION
We remained ever grateful to the Almighty God for his blessing and guidance in the journey so far. We appreciate the fatherly care of the Catholic Bishop of Awgu diocese. We are grateful to the seminary formators. We also thank the members of the PTA. The family of St. Vincent De Paul seminary, Agbogugu remains ever grateful to its benefactors and benefactresses for their charitable deeds towards the seminary. May the good Lord answer all your sinless heart desires. MODE OF ADMISSION
Prospective candidates in order to be fully qualified to be admitted into the seminary must have to take the following steps listed below. They must first obtain the seminary entrance form which is usually out before the middle of February. Then they would have to sit for an examination which usually comes up in the month of May. The prospective candidates are usually tested on the following courses: English language, mathematics and CRK. Successful candidates are called for a 2-day interview during which they will be examined both in oral and written examinations. Those who emerge successful amongst them are then given prospectus and are informed of the resumption date STAFF DETAILS
The current Administrative staff of the Seminary includes two priest formators in the persons of Rev. Fr. Jonathan Nweke who is the current Rector of the seminary. Rev. Fr. Godfrey Ugwueke is both the bursar and the Dean of studies. The seminary also has 4 spiritual directors who handle the spiritual needs of the seminarians in the persons of Rev Frs.: Charles Chukwu, Ezeugo Sylvester, Peter Ogbonna and Albert Chukwu. One senior seminarian and 6 internal teachers who handle the academic and non-academic affairs of the students.
SEMINARY ACTIVITIES The seminary in a bid to produce seminarians, who are equipped with the four aspects of the formation as enumerated in the Pastores Dabo Vobis, organizes and upholds very many activities such as:
SPORTS: Presently, it is obvious that sports occupies a very high stance in the society and helps to ensure societal unity and stability. To this effect, the seminary deemed it wise to engage the students in sporting activities like football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis etc regularly. The students engage in games activities 5 days a week. The seminarians also run track every day except on Sundays.
MUSIC: Just as enumerated above the school secured the overall third position in the 2011 all minor seminary singing competition held at Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala. The school has a full set orchestra for the use of the students and the teachers. The seminary boasts of having the best choir in the diocesan and provincial level.
ACADEMICS: A seminarian flies with two wings, the wing of sanctity and that of learning. The seminary has an ultra-modern library that is fully equipped. The students are also given both required text and exercise books in other to aid them in their academic quest. Above all, the seminary embarks on a periodic academic contest with other seminaries under the Onitsha ecclesiastical province in activities such as mock and Latin exams which the seminary excels above all other institutions.
FARM WORK: Agriculture is one of the pillars of the nation’s economy. Hence, the seminary engages in different agricultural activities like cultivation of cash and arable crops. The seminary also posses a poultry and piggery farm together with a fish pond. The produce of the farm used both for subsistence and commercial purposes.
However, the seminary weekly activities entails that the students do labour on Mondays and Saturdays because to work is to pray.
PRAYER LIFE: The sanctity of the seminarians is stressed seriously in the seminary, which is why young seminarians are made to pray at least 5 times daily. They are also made to say their night and morning prayers when going and leaving their beds. They are also given the opportunity of meeting with their spiritual directors often. Their monthly recollection and day with the Lord comes up every first Sunday of the month. They also have their weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Thursday. The Holy Mass is celebrated daily. Hence, the prayer life of the seminarians is taken very seriously in the seminary.