The Uncommon Presence: 2023/2034 Inauguration Ceremony @Tansi Seminary.
The usual annual ceremony that officially marks the beginning of history here in Tansi was graced by an unusual
presence today. This is true by the physical presence of His Grace Most Rev. Jude-Thaddeus Okolo, the Papal
Nuncio to the Czech Republic, who came in many capacities, especially as the inaugural prelate of the 2023/2024
academic and formation year. It is then fitting to say that today, the Pope was with us, and the ecclesiastical
The government and people of the Czech Republic were indeed benevolent with their presence—an uncommon presence indeed.
It was, however, a two-day-ceremony: one on Sunday evening, a round table discussion with His Grace where ‘we
were among ourselves’ as His Grace puts it. The second ceremony, the actual ceremony, began with the Holy
Mass chaired by His grace. At its introduction, His Grace recognized the noble works of the Tansi Team of Formators identifying specifically his classmate, Rev. Fr. Prof. Jude Ezeokana. His Grace also saluted graciously his formal rector, Rev. Fr. Prof. Peter Damian Akpononu To him, he said, ‘He is still what he was.”
The homily gathered around the Gospel of Luke 11:29–32. There, His grace acknowledged that the world and its
People are always seeking a sign. With so many signs, how do we discern true signs? Hence, he
recommends that we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, for God is the only true guide. He further spoke of the
“individuality of spirituality,” a concept that captures the individuality of the holy spirit in each of our lives. Using the
imagery of the Pentecost day, as the tongue of fire stood individually on the apostles, so is ‘the spirit of God upon
us.’ Therefore, His grace asked us to pray for the identification of our individual gifts, asking the holy spirit to help us
use it well for the good of humanity and to God’s glory.
Before the final blessing at Mass, His Grace officially made the case, saying: “In the name of the Holy Spirit, in the
name of the Holy See, in the name of the bishops of the province, I declare 2023-2024 academic and formation years open!” Declarative and significant words indeed!
The final phase of the ceremony is usually the most expected. Within it was the presentation of awards to different
seminarians who distinguished themselves in the academic realm; cheers and applause were consistent as different dioceses and congregations brought home some medals of honor. Next was the inaugural lecture by Rev. Fr. Dr. Celestine Ezeoke on the topic ‘The Promotion of Human Dignity in Our Society.” It was a truly practical and constructive paper, as he identified the different ways the dignity of women, especially, is questioned. It was followed by His Excellency’s speech on “synodality” in practical relation to spiritual theology and individual spirituality.
Up to this point, the end was imminent. Hence, the vice Rector poured in words of gratitude to all those present and
most honorably to the inaugural prelate, Most Rev. Dr. Jude Thaddues Okolo, the papal nuncio to the Czech Republic.
A historic presence and grace indeed.
We pray that the new academic year will be fruitful and gracious. Amen.