News & Events
Welcome Address By the President of the Dominican Institute
- February 20, 2019
- Posted by: Webmaster2019
- Category: Uncategorized
Welcome Address By the President of the Dominican Institute on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Seminar on Priestly Life and Ministry[
Theme: Effective Pastoral Ministry
The Vice Chancellor, Dominican University, Ibadan, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Akinwale, OP,
The Registrar, Dominican University, Ibadan, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Nkadi, OP.,
Other Principal Officers of the Dominican University, Ibadan,
The Dean, Dominican Institute, Ibadan, Rev. Fr. Dr. Benjamin Kwaghgba, OP,
The Registrar, Dominican Institute, Ibadan, Rev. Fr. Samuel Onyiba, OP,
Other Principal Officers of the Dominican Institute, Ibadan,
Moderators of the Seminar on Priestly Life and Ministry,
I have the great pleasure of welcoming each one of you to this august occasion as the Institute inaugurates its annual Seminar on Priestly Life and Ministry. This Seminar is designed for candidates who are at the threshold of completing their basic theological formation and also at the threshold of being raised to the order of the presbyterate thereby enabling them to assume full pastoral responsibilities. The inauguration of this Seminar marks another important milestone in the history of the Dominican Institute and by extension the history of the Dominican University.
It is said that great accomplishments often commence with very inconspicuous steps. It is similarly true that important achievements are the fruits of tiny sparks of ideas nurtured by one or more individuals. At this juncture, I would like to give due and deserving credit to the Registrar of the Dominican Institute, Rev. Fr. Samuel Onyiba, OP, for initiating the idea of this Seminar and working hard towards its actualization. It is interesting to note that regardless of the fact that he is fully immersed in administrative matters at both the Institute and the University, he was still able set aside creative moments to nurture the idea of a practical pastoral seminar that will complement the theological program of the Institute. On behalf of the management, faculty and staff of the Dominican Institute, I wish to thank Fr. Onyiba for making this important contribution of extending the frontiers of the formative programs of the Institute. I encourage each of you to learn from this important example by cultivating an attitude of mind that perpetually seeks to improve things. You must espouse a pastoral principle which is anchored on the conviction that there are always new areas to be explored, new frontiers to be extended, new paths to be charted, new and better approaches to doing things. Never be satisfied with keeping things the way they are. Ensure that when you assume a pastoral responsibility, you add new and more enriched dimensions to that ministry. Your pastoral contributions, however, must go beyond erecting new gigantic structures that place heavy financial burden on the people you are called to minister. You are rather to seek new and better ways of ensuring that your pastoral ministry bears greater fruits in the lives of your parishioners. One cannot have an effective pastoral ministry, which is the theme of this Seminar, without constantly seeking for new and better ways to minister to God’s people in a constantly changing context. Once again, I warmly thank Fr. Onyiba for his excellent contribution.
It is my dream that this mustard seed which is being sowed today will grow into a full-fledged Center of its own, namely a Center for Ongoing Formation for Priestly and Religious Life. Incidentally, we have concluded arrangements to have a similar Seminar, to be held in July, for candidates preparing for final/solemn vows. In the coming months, we also hope to organize a Seminar/Workshop for priests in various years in ministry. All these activities will be coordinated and hosted by a Center in DI as already indicated above.
In the next coming days, you will be taken through a number of key practical pastoral issues which, hopefully, will enable you enter into pastoral ministry seamlessly. You will have the opportunity of engaging in robust discussions with the various moderators of this Seminar. I am convinced that most, if not all of you, will find this Seminar very engaging and stimulating. In fact, most of you may consider this Seminar the “real thing” or as the Igbos will say, Ebeano. You may even give these few days greater premium than all your years of philosophical and theological formation put together. I am very much aware of this because of the popular but highly erroneous view among several priests and students that what are taught in theology classes have little or no importance for pastoral ministry. This explains the attitude of some students who pay scant attention to their philosophical and theological studies but simply endure those years of studies while ticking off the days in their calendar while waiting for when they will be ordained to begin “the real thing”.
Although this program is designed to focus on important practical pastoral issues, yet this program is structured to highlight the synergy between philosophical and theological formation on one hand and pastoral ministry on the other hand. This is rightly so, because effective pastoral ministry can only take place when firmly rooted in sound philosophical and theological foundations. When pastoral ministry is disconnected from sound philosophical and theological foundations, what you have is not effective pastoral ministry but pastoral monstrosities. Needless, to say, our parishes and dioceses are awash with many of such pastoral horrors. If there is, therefore, one thing you must always remember, it is that philosophical-theological formation and pastoral ministry are inseparable bedfellows. While theology informs pastoral ministry, pastoral ministry provides the locus for theological reflection. This is one of the greatest legacies of the Church Fathers and of Patristic theology. Most of the Church Fathers were theologians and all of their theological writings took place within the context of their pastoral ministry. A pastor must first be a theologian.
My advice to you all is this: In order to reap the maximum benefit of this Seminar, I will advice that as you explore the various pastoral issues or questions, guided by able and competent moderators, strive also to explore the philosophical and theological underpinnings of those pastoral questions or issues. If you follow this approach, you will certainly have both an effective and fruitful pastoral ministry.
Finally, I wish to express my
sincere gratitude to each of the moderators that accepted to be part of this
inaugural Seminar on Priestly Life and Ministry. I once again thank Fr. Onyiba
for this wonderful initiative. I wish each of you a very stimulating and
enriching experience. Thank you and God bless you all.