By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Fides School of Theology (FST), Okpuno, in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, held her matriculation ceremony, Saturday, July 14, 2018, for the 2017-2018 academic year. The ceremony which was preceded by Eucharistic Celebration and presided over by the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, was held at Archbishop A.K. Obiefuna Retreat and Pastoral Centre, Nodu Okpuno.
Speaking shortly after the Concelebrated Holy Mass, the Director of the School, Very Rev. Msgr. Jerome Madueke, said Fides School of Theology, took off on Saturday, February 28, 2015 and was affiliated to the Catholic Institute of West Africa (SIWA).
He disclosed that 76 candidates enrolled as pioneer students, adding that 27 out of the 76 were graduates in other disciplines.
The immediate past Director of Fides Communications said the classrooms were at the opening, blessed by Bishop Peter Okpaleke, who, he said, was among the 24 pioneer lecturers of the institute.
According to the Director, Fides School was part of the Awka Diocesan's effort in evangelization. He said that it was designed to provide basic human, spiritual, doctrinal and pastoral formation, emphasizing that its primary target was the laity.
Msgr. Madueke said Fides School of Theology was officially inaugurated on 25th April, 2015 by Bishop Ezeokafor, the Proprietor of the Institute, with Eucharistic Celebration.
He noted that the matriculation of the maiden students took place on the same day, adding that the school was meant to award certificate of diploma, certificate of merit, or certificate of attendance to candidates who completed the requirements.
'Over and above the need of advancement of career and improved means of livelihood sought in higher education institutions, Fides School of Theology maintains the charism of its foundation as a place to deepen the Catholic faith and discipline to enable students, not only to joyfully witness to their faith, but to boldly express, defend and share it.
According to Msgr Maduake, 'The school grows from strength to strength, with improved standards and better catchment of students. Trusting in Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelization, it is hoped that the humble effort would inspire more and more people to be truly salt of the earth and light of the world.'
Admitting the students, the chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, enjoined them to be diligent and to take their studies seriously.
The Catholic Prelate in his homily maintained that no one was above education and learning, emphasizing that anyone who ceased to learn ceased to grow. He exhorted the matriculants to disabuse their minds from acquisition of certificates, but to concentrate on how to be change agents.
Speaking on behalf of the matriculants, Prof. Emeh John Kanu thanked God for the grace given to them to be admitted in the school, even as he commended Bishop Ezeokafor for endeavouring to come and celebrate with them. He assured the bishop that they would not disappoint the school's management.
The names of the matriculants are as follows: Mr. Matthew Nwaonu (Umuezeoka Ezza); Mr. Pius Nwiboko (Aghara-Oza Iboko); Prof. Emeh John Kanu (Ugwueke, Benede); Mr. Eric Ikeh (Umuchu); Mr. Ezechukwu Vitus; Mrs. Jane O.; Miss Ughanwa Cordelia (Igbariam); Eugene Okeke Egwu; John Amadi (Enugu); Mrs. Ozioma P. Nwankwo (Awka); Mrs. Mary Ann Ani (Ngbo); Mrs. Magdalene Okoye (Amawbia); Rose Anyadike (Ula-Ekwuluobia); Hyginus Ofojeama; Mrs. Rita Chinyere Nnaji (Amagunze); John Friday Onoja (Benue); Ernest Ofoedu (Abagana); Boniface Okehie (Ogwa); Sunday Okeke (Umuchu); Patrick Mbamalu (Ekwuluobia); Chiediebere Raphael Okoli (Oko), among others.