History was made in the Vice-Province of Nigeria on Saturday 11th, September 2021, as four new missionaries of the Most holy Redeemer made their commitments at the beautiful Liguori House chapel. Fr. Jude Anyaegbu, CSsR, the Vicar of the Vice-Province, received their commitments on behalf of the Vice-Province. Frs. Hilary Pamkatai, CSsR (the Second Consultor of the Vice-Province) and Kingsley Sampson Ebhodaghe, CSsR (EVPC/COREAM Liaison Person), were the two principal concelebrants at the mass. All the confreres working directly with our lay collaborators were also present. About 26 lay collaborators, including Lady Judith Agu (the President of the Shared mission commission both in the Vice-Province and for COREAM), were also present.
It was a truly moving celebration as the four pioneer missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer knelt before the Vicar to make their commitments. Helen-Mary Aghoghi, Reginald Ozemoya, Emmanuel Ezenandu and Judith Agu, who made their commitments, have been working closely with the Redemptorists for many years. They will continue their training under the guidance of Fr. Michael Emerue, CSsR.
The lay collaborators in the Vice-Province comprise the Confraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Friends of the Redemptorists, the Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry and the League of St. Gerard Majella number about 24,000 members.
The members of the shared mission commission naturally come from these four groups. Our Unit has enjoyed a good relationship with people who feel attracted to our spirituality, such as the Oblates of the Redemptorists and all four lay groups mentioned above over the years. But this would be the first time in our history as a unit to receive the commitment of lay missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer.
After the mass, the day continued with talks given by invited guests such as Anne Walsh (Chair of the General Commission for Partnership in Mission), Fr. Noel Sottima, CSsR (COREAM Co-ordinator), Fr. Michael Oyanafor (Chancellor of Benin Archdiocese and Oblate of the Redemptorists), Fr. Michael Emerue, CSsR, and Fr. Kingsley Ebhodaghe, CSsR. Frs. Noel and Oyanafor both joined via the Zoom network.
Though the hurricane prevented Anne Walsh from joining us live, the participants listened to the video presentation that she had sent ahead of time as an alternative. Anne gave the keynote address, which was centred on the “Directory for Partnership in Mission”. The talk was received well by the participants.
The event was the first in what is planned to be a permanent feature in the life of the Vice-Province. We pray for growth in our lay collaboration, and we wish the new lay missionaries every grace and blessing in their ministry as missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer!
Fr. Godwin Abbah, CSsR