The Concluding days of the International Conference for Redemptorist Lay Partners in COREAM, held in Nigeria, were quite eventful.
The 3rd day began with the formation for both professed Redemptorists and Lay Partners on the 5 Themes of the Sexennium. The Formation Session was anchored by Fr. Godwin Abbah, 2nd Consultor, Redemptorist Vice-Province of Nigeria. Anne Walsh, the Chair of the General Commission for Partnership in Mission, also had a Session with the delegates, which gave an overview of the work of the General Commission for Partnership in Mission. The Chair of the Commission for Partnership in Mission, COREAM, Lady Judith Agu, took delegates through Formation on the Directory for Partnership in Mission and the Ratio Formationis for Partnership in Mission.
There was a break-out session where Participants met in groups to deliberate on the five themes for the sexennium and the Proposed Strategic Action Plan for the growth of the Partnership in Mission in COREAM. The Plenary Session on the Strategic Action Plan was quite interactive. The zeal and commitment of the Lay Partners to work with the poor and most abandoned in their respective Units with a focus on the missionary priorities of the Congregation was encouraging.
On the last day of the Conference, Formation Continued on Mental Health taken by a renowned Psychologist, Prof. Chioma Asuzu; another session was devoted to training on Child safeguarding and Protection of vulnerable adults by Fr. Mike Emerue, Vice-Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Vice- Province of Nigeria. The COREAM Coordinator, Fr. Noel Sottima, also gave delegates an overview of the Restructuring and the Reconfiguration process. He charged both professed and Lay Partners to go into the reconfiguration process with openness of heart, trusting in Christ the Redeemer. He also enjoined the Lay Partners to work together as members of the Conference and to build a wider Redemptorist Family beyond borders.
At the end of the Conference, delegates during the Evaluation Process expressed satisfaction with the Conference, which was quite enriching. They also appreciated the Congregation for this period of Formation and Integration.
The Closing Mass for the Conference was on the Feast of St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori. The Chief Celebrant, Fr. Michael Emerue, noted that there was no better way to close such a gathering than to celebrate our Founder, St Alphonsus, who gave us the gift of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and taught us from the very beginning, to work closely with Lay Partners. The highlight of the Feast Day Mass was the Admission of a new Candidate, Patrick Onyemaechi, as a Lay Missionary of the Most Holy Redeemer with the renewal of Commitment by the 4 Lay Missionaries in the Vice Province of Nigeria.
Commendation Awards were presented by the Commission for Partnership in Mission to 4 Units in COREAM: the Vice-Province of Nigeria, the Vice-Province of Afrique de l’Ouest, the Vice-Province of Matadi and the Region of Zimbabwe for their Commitment and promotion of Partnership in Mission in their respective Units. The former Vice-Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Vice-Province of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Joterio Aghoja, also received a Meritorious Service Award from the Commission for his promotion and commitment to the growth of Partnership in Mission during his Tenure of Office.
Attendance Certificates were presented to all the delegates who danced joyfully in thanksgiving to God for a very successful and knowledge-enriching Conference. The Communique and the Strategic Action Plan for the Conference, which will help the growth of Partnership in Mission in COREAM, were adopted and would be shared with all the Units for implementation.
Rejoicing in Hope, it all ended with a beautiful evening of Gaudeamus, which provided all delegates another opportunity to celebrate and get to know each other better.
This Memorable experience will remain indelible in our hearts. Our deepest gratitude to the Congregation for this opportunity.
Lady Judith Agu, LSM
President, Commission for Partnership in Mission, COREAM