REDEMPTORIST VICE PROVINCE OF NIGERIA CELEBRATES

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Vice Provincial Superior, Very Rev. Fr. Kingsley Onyekuru, C.Ss.R, led 74 Confreres in perpetual vows and 35 students in a triple celebration at Liguori House, in the city of Ibadan, beginning from Monday, 28th September to Friday, 2nd of October 2015. The vice province celebrated consecrated life, ordination anniversaries and perpetual vows.
Most of the confreres arrived on Monday, including the facilitator of the seminar, our own Fr. Anayo Nna, who flew in from the USA. Being the very first time a Nigerian-born Redemptorist was going to address the entire Redemptorists in a seminar, there was palpable excitement as there was anticipation, partly because he would be speaking directly to our successes and challenges, being part of the vice province.
Tuesday, 29th September Mass of thanksgiving for confreres celebrating 10 years of ordination was led by Fr. Henry Omeike at 7am, with Fr. Anthony Thompson giving the homily. At 9am Fr. Anayo Nna proceeded with moderation of the seminar captioned “Reawakening Our Redemptorist Identity in Light of the Year of Consecrated Life;” helping confreres to reflect on what it means to be part of the mission of “plentiful redemption” of the Redemptorists.
Wednesday, 30th Mass in thanksgiving for confreres celebrating 15 years ordination was celebrated by Fr. Pius Babatunde (Director of Students) with Fr. George Okoroigwe providing homily. Second day of seminar teed-off at 9am. Moderator Anayo Nna, guided confreres through the path of rediscovering zeal for Redemptorist mission of preaching plentiful redemption in the Nigerian church. He wants us to celebrate our missionary successes which are numerous, as well as cooperating in working through our challenges while being faithful to our Redemptorist identity.
The punchline of his message is that solution to our challenges must come from us because we understand the situation in more real way. He observed that the Nigerian society is set on “tribal default,” which according to him; is not a problem in itself, looking at many thriving societies in other climes with huge diversities. Rather he would want each confrere to respect the other and to build on the strengths of what each person brings to the mission of the Redemptorists.
Wednesday night jubilant confreres were gathered in celebrating life shared as consecrated Redemptorists; where also ordination anniversaries of the following confreres were celebrated: Fr. Richard Thiele(60 years); Fr. Dan Aigbona, 1st ordained Redemptorist (18 years); Fr. Callistus Nwachukwu, former Vice Provincial (15 years), Fr. Pius Babatunde, Director of students (15 years) and Fr. Joterio Aghoja, Vicar of the vice province (15 years); Fr. Michael Emerue, Consultor (10 years), Fr. Desmond Ebulue (10 years), Fr. Remigius Okere (10 years), Fr. Joseph Yusuf (10 years), Fr. Charles Uloko (10 years), Fr. Henry Omeike, vice provincial secretary (10 years).
Thursday October 1, Nigeria’s 55th Independence Day celebration the Redemptorist family received in guest religious men and women, priests, friends and family members of five Redemptorist confreres admitted to perpetual vows. They are Faustinus Igwe, Isaac Ikpere, Michael Nzekwe, Thadeus Egwu and Paul Goerge Ekanem. Very Rev Fr. Kingsley Onyekuru flanked by Fr. Jude Anyaegbu, 2nd Consultor and Fr. Fidelis Okpanachi received the vows of these confreres. Fr. Benjamin Ometan, confrere working in St Francis parish located in Boko Haram primed area of Northern Nigeria preached the homily. He declared that it was risky to be a Redemptorist. He narrated the story of celebrating Mass and a bomb going off at a nearby Pentecostal church and every single person in the Mass scampered to safety with him being left alone in the church. Later in the day, he and another Redemptorist, ferrying a church member hit by bullet in the head to the hospital were able to surmount tough security checks mounted by government security forces in response to the crisis, only by the grace of the Redemptorist habit which they were wearing. Lying on his bed at night and reflecting on the incident, reality of how dangerous it is to be a Redemptorist was dawned on him. He thought to himself, “I could have been blown off by the bomb or fallen to the bullets.” Message of his homily is that the way of the cross leads to redemption; as followers of the Most Holy Redeemer, we must embrace the way of the cross with our Redeemer.
In the perpetual vows Mass gifts were presented to confreres celebrating their ordinations as well as to Mrs Charity Nwachukwu, who has worked as cook at the student house for 25 years. Many confreres and guests left for their stations and homes after eating and drinking in celebration of the vows.
Friday, 2nd October Fr. Richard Thiele celebrated Mass of Thanksgiving and homily was preached by Fr. Dan Aigbona. This marks the end of a beautiful week of celebration.

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