Feast Day celebration of St Clement and First Lay Partners Assembly in the Redemptorist Vice-Province of Nigeria

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Lady Judith presents on the Directory for Partnership in Mission and lessons from St Clement

It was a beautiful celebration of the Feast of St Clement Maria Hofbauer in the Redemptorist Vice-Province of Nigeria on the 15th of March. The Celebration started with the First Assembly of Lay Partners in the Vice Province with over 70 delegates drawn from the various forms of partnership that exist in the Unit.

The arrival of delegates and Opening Mass was on Friday, March 15, 2024. The homily delivered by the Vicar, Fr. Noel Eshikena, C.Ss.R., espoused the virtues of St Clement and our journey together as partners in mission. Delegates were taken on a tour of the Student Community at the Redeemer House, and we enjoyed an evening of songs and interaction with the large student community.

 The next day, March 16th, was a beehive of activities with sports, a time of prayerful discernment, and confessions. With the formal declaration of the Assembly opened by Vice-Provincial Superior, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Emerue, C.Ss.R., delegates were taken through hours of formation. The first paper was on Missionaries of Hope in the footsteps of the Redeemer, the role of lay Partners, presented by Fr. Godwin Abbah, C.Ss.R., the 2nd Consultor of the Vice-Province.

Thereafter, Fr. Kingsley Ebodaghe, C.Ss.R., took delegates through a spiritual journey in the footsteps of St. Clement. The Vice-Provincial Superior, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Emerue, presented on the topic of Leading for Change, the Structure of Leadership for Lay Groups. The presentation highlighted the qualities of a good leader and provided insight into the Vision of the Vice-Province. The hierarchical structure of Leadership at all levels of the Congregation was well articulated.

Lady Judith Agu, Chair of the Commission for Partnership in Mission, made two presentations on lessons from St. Clement and explained the Directory for Partnership in Mission in simple, practical terms. Two breakout sessions allowed delegates to express themselves and devise a Work Plan for the growth of Partnership in the mission of the Unit. At the end of the Assembly, the Communique and Work Plan were formally adopted by the delegates comprising both Professed and Lay.

The Climax of the Feast Day celebration was the conferment of the Status of Redemptorist oblate with the approval of the General Government on two distinguished and well-deserving dignitaries who have contributed over the years to the growth of the Vice-Province. It was a very emotional moment when the certificates of conferment were presented to Prof. Isaac Ugbokolo, present with his amiable wife, Dr. Mrs. Ugbokolo and Prof. Chioma Asuzu, who was well represented by her Husband, Pro. Michael Asuzu.

At the end of the beautiful Feast Day Mass celebration, all delegates and guests shared a Table together, with music from the multi-talented Student Musical Band in the spirit of St. Alphonsus. It all ended with so much joy and laughter that delegates voted for an Annual Assembly of Lay Partners in the Vice-Province.

In commemoration of the year of Community life, the 5 Lay Missionaries in the Unit took time to appreciate the workers in the community with gifts as a reminder that they form part of our large Redemptorist family. There was also a Charity visit to a home for poor and abandoned children in honour of St. Clement, who cared for poor and abandoned children.

The Unit appreciates the prayers and goodwill messages of the General Government, the General Commission for Partnership in Mission, the Consultor for Africa, Madagascar, the COREAM Coordinator and all Redemptorist Confreres and lay partners.

It was indeed a very memorable Feast Day Celebration and a successful Lay Partners Assembly.

Lady Judith Agu
Chair, Commission for Partnership in Mission
Redemptorist Vice Province of Nigeria.

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