Anthony Akinwale Receives Title Magister in Sacra Theologia

On the 7th of June 2023, with great joy, the Province of St Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana celebrated the conferment of the academic title Magister in Sacra Theologia (STM) by the Master of the Order, Fr Gerard Timoner III, OP on a son of the province, Fr Anthony Akinwale, OP. The conferment was celebrated with a thanksgiving Mass and a magistral lecture by the recipient.

The Eucharist celebration took place at the chapel of the Priory of St Thomas Aquinas, Ibadan; the Formation House of the province and the host of the Dominican University Ibadan. The recipient was the chief celebrant, while his profession mate and former Socius of the Master of the Order for Africa, Fr Cletus Nwabuzo, OP was the homilist. There were several bishops, a large number of priests, religious sisters and the lay faithful at the celebration. In his homily, Fr Nwabuzo recalled several experiences in the life of Fr Akinwale, and reminded him and the entire congregation of the true place of a theologian in our Christian life. The homily offered a profound reflection on the recipient’s renewed calling to a life of humble service in the Lord’s vineyard in light of his new title.

After the Mass, the guests moved to the auditorium of the Dominican University Ibadan for the second part of the celebration. This part of the celebration included an introduction of the significance of the STM in the Order, a recitation of the profile of Fr Akinwale, the proclamation of his award both in Latin and English, and his profession of faith in the teachings of the Church and her Magisterium. All these took place in the presence of the Provincial of the Province of Nigeria and Ghana, Fr Modestus Uguw, OP. To confirm his acceptance of the award, the new Master in Sacred Theology, Fr Anthony Akinwale, gave his magistral lecture titled “Sujectum Theologiae: On the Tasks and Allies of Theology.”

In his lecture, Fr Akinwale reaffirmed that, in its multiplicity of tasks, theology has the unifying principal mission of speaking about God. So as not to confuse this science with the populist preaching prevalent in the contemporary Nigerian society, he noted that academic theology which encompasses phenomenological and comparative approaches to religion operates within the horizon of faith and reason in order to ensure that religion is not reduced to an uncritical emotional outburst of fanatism and fundamentalism. Apart from its principal subject matter, which is the discourse on God, Fr Akinwale recounted that sacred theology also concerns itself with contributing to the authentic development of the human person by safeguarding the integrity of education, and by undertaking and sustaining an academic search for meaning. All these tasks are unified in their relation to the subject of God. Theology as noted in his lecture is not a solo science, in other words, it is not done in isolation. Thus, the new Master in Sacred Theology elaborated on the different allies of theology like sacred scriptures (the soul of theology), patristic texts and history of doctrine (the memory of theology), philosophy (the intellect of theology), the social sciences (its mobility), and the cultural and religious anthropology of the audience which provides its language of communication.

After the lecture, the entire auditorium rose and sang the Te Deum, the Church’s song of praise in thanksgiving to God. This was followed by goodwill messages from various dignitaries present. The following bishops graced the occasion: Most Rev Felix Alaba Job (emeritus Bishop of Ibadan Archdiocese), Most Rev Gabriel Abegunrin (Bishop of Ibadan Archdiocese), Most Rev Ayomaria Atoyebi, OP (emeritus Bishop of Ilorin Diocese), and Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo (Bishop of Oyo Diocese). Fr Anthony Akinwale is the first to receive the STM in the Province of Nigeria and Ghana. It is our hope that his life in the academia will inspire other brothers in the province to aspire to this and greater heights. 

Brother Ambrose Ejeh, OP

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