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The initiative to start a center for research and learning on Bernard Lonergan in Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria began with the proposal by Rev. Fr. Dr Humphrey Uchenna Ani to the seminary on the need to have a center for research and studies on Lonergan. Lonergan is one of the most comprehensive thinkers in the contemporary era, whose ideas have spread across Theology, Philosophy, Education, History, Economics and Humanities at large. Fr. Ani made the proposal for the Lonergan center to the Rector and the Education Board of the Bigard seminary headed by the Bishop of Enugu diocese, Most Rev. Callistus V. Onaga on 5th May, 2022. This inspiration and proposal for research and study center on Lonergan was approved by the seminary board, as it was judged appropriate and enriching to have such a center in one of the oldest seminaries in Africa, South of Sahara. Fr. Ani is a Lonergan scholar who studied in the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and wrote his doctoral thesis on Lonergan, with title: “Critical History According to Bernard Lonergan”. The proposal for this Lonergan center in Bigard was inspired and enabled by Prof. Joseph Ogbonnaya, another Lonergan scholar with the Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. 

The Bigard Lonergan center will engage in providing research materials and facilities for students and scholars, at every level of studies, who want to research and study on the ideas of Lonergan in every area of his comprehensive thoughts. It will also engage in academic seminars, teachings, publications of journals and books, and other possible intellectual efforts to promote the rich ideas of Lonergan in this zone of the world and the wider world.

The center is hosted by Bigard Memorial seminary, Enugu. which is a Catholic regional major seminary belonging to the Onitsha ecclesiastical province in the South-Eastern Nigeria with over eight hundred students/seminarians for studies in Philosophy, Theology and the Humanities. It is affiliated to the Pontifical Urban University, Rome and the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria respectively. It was established in 1924, through the initiative of Rev. Joseph Shanahan. It is located in Enugu state, of the South-Eastern Nigeria. Bigard is a major seminary for the formation of candidates for the Catholic priesthood and education in Philosophy, Theology and Humanities in general.

After the approval of the establishment of the Bigard Lonergan Center by the Bigard Education Board, Fr. Ani commenced its formation by inducting interested seminarians and students/scholars from Bigard and neighbouring seminaries and universities for the Center. Online communities like whatsapp and other media have also been opened to welcome interested members too.  The Center has also received a boost through the ebooks and articles sent by Prof. Ogbonnaya, with a promise that more hardcopy books and scholarly materials will be donated to the Center. The projections of the Center equally intend to organize annual seminars on Lonergan studies and the products would be published as journals or books.

The Bigard Lonergan Center today is headed and directed by Fr. Humphrey Uchenna Ani, and assisted by Rev. James Ogbuigbo as the co-ordinator. The materials for the Center are managed by Mr. Christian Ezenwaka. They are all members of the Bigard Lonergan Center. The Center is associated with the Marquette University, Wisconsin, USA, and its link and representation with Marquette University is headed and handled by Prof. Joseph Ogbonnaya. As at May 3rd, 2022, the students who had indicated interest had already been furnished with some books on Lonergan studies through the assistance of Prof Ogbonnaya and Fr. Ani. Some of these books are in soft copies while the rest are in hard copies. There is hope that efforts in this regard will progress and expand as time goes on. The Center has about a hundred and fifty students on its inception, and has gradually grown daily ever since then.

Objectives of the Center

            Among the principal objectives of the Center include:

  1. To increase awareness of the relevance and importance of the works of Benard Lonergan in Nigeria and Africa at large.
  2. To foster a deeper understanding of the Philosophy, Theology and general ideas of Lonergan.
  3. To widen the Lonergan centers of learning in Nigeria and Africa.
  4. To apply the thoughts of Lonergan in some existential issues in the society.
  5. To produce scholars inspired by Lonergan’s works and thesis
Leadership of the Center

Chief Host: Dr. Albert Ikpenwa (Rector, Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu.)

Promoter: Prof. Joseph Ogbonnaya (Marquette University, Wisconsin, USA).

Founder and Director: Dr. Humphrey Uchenna Ani (Bigard, Enugu, Nigeria).

Co-ordinator: Mr. James Ogbuigbo (Bigard, Enugu, Nigeria).

Archivist and Center manager: Mr. Christian Ezenwaka (Bigard, Enugu, Nigeria).