Nigeria: Lagos Archdiocesan Confraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help celebrates its annual feast

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On Sunday, 7th July 2024, St Peter Catholic Church Ejigbo Lagos, Nigeria, was filled to the brim with over three thousand members of the Confraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and devotees and lovers of Our Mother Mary from the Archdiocese of Lagos and beyond. It was the occasion of the annual celebration of the feast day of our Mother of Perpetual Help.

The celebration began with a Rosary Procession and was immediately followed by the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, presided over by the Vice Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Vice Province of Nigeria, Fr. Michael C. Emerue C.Ss.R, and concelebrated by his Vicar, Fr. Noel Eshikena C.Ss.R, the Associate National Chaplain of the Confraternity in Nigeria, Fr. Kingsley Ebhodaghe C.Ss.R, and the Lagos Archdiocesan Chaplain, Fr. Paul Adegoriola C.Ss.R.

In his homily centred on the theme of the celebration “Mary our Ever Faithful Mother,” the Vice Provincial Superior maintained that Mary is ever faithful and recounted many occasions in the scripture where she manifested her faithfulness. He said that as devotees, we are called to imitate her faithfulness in the journey of our faith and in the vicissitudes and vagaries of life. He further stated that we should reflect on the ‘why’ we joined the Confraternity and to examine if the ‘why’ are the same presently or if it has given way to other personal desires. He said that to remain faithful, we must remain consistent with the ‘why’ we joined the Confraternity and keep at it until it becomes part and parcel of our everyday life. He maintained that we need to learn from Mary on how to remain faithful and consistent, as consistency always triumphs over intensity. 

In addition, he charged us to DESIRE holiness and to make a firm RESOLUTION towards it in line with the admonition of our Patron Saint, St Alphonsus Maria De Liguori. He said that, more often than not, we tend to desire holiness without making the corresponding resolution for it. He further stated that resolution serves as a check and an evaluator of the life we are called to live.

He also stressed the need to rekindle love among members of the Confraternity and that since we have one Heavenly Father, we should continue to see ourselves as brothers and sisters, forbearing one another in love and bearing each other’s burdens with charity.

In conclusion, he cautioned that it is not enough to be a member of the Confraternity, that it is not enough to wear beautiful uniforms, that it is not enough to want to touch the miraculous Icon of our Mother of Perpetual Help but that we should imitate her wholeheartedly and live by her virtues. He further charged us to take her home just like John the Beloved did at the Foot of the Cross, as she is ever faithful for the many times we may run out of wine and be confused in life.

The Mass did not end without a joyous open thanksgiving led by the Archdiocesan Chaplain, Fr. Paul Adegoriola C.Ss.R, and accompanied by members of the Archdiocesan Executive Council and all the Deaneries where we have the Confraternity in the Archdiocese.

Before the end of the Mass, the host Parish Priest, Fr. Augustine Okhuelegbe, graciously thanked the Vice Provincial Superior, members of his Council, and the Archdiocesan Chaplain for choosing the Parish to host the annual feast day celebration. He further said that hosting the feast day in their Parish is a way of evangelization and that our coming will spur them to intensify efforts in spreading the devotion of our Mother of Perpetual Help in the Parish and beyond.

Immediately after the Holy Mass, the celebration continued with a lively reception which featured a pep talk by the Redemptorist Vice Provincial Vicar, Fr. Noel Eshikena C.Ss.R and the Archdiocesan Chaplain. There was also the cutting and sharing of cakes as it is our custom, presentation of petitions and flowers to our Mother of Perpetual Help, picking of apple fruits signifying fruitfulness, intercessory prayers, presentation of Icons to friends of the Confraternity, cultural display, choreography, feasting and special appeal to invited guests to support our work of evangelization. 

Conclusively, the feast day celebration has come and gone, and we hope to continue to live in imitation of the heroic virtues of Our Mother of Perpetual Help so as to continue to bear witness to the Most Holy Redeemer in our wounded world.

Written by Bro Francis Ihedioha, Archdiocesan Secretary, 
edited by Rev Fr Onyeno, Peter Chijioke, CSsR from Redemptorist Media and Communication Secretariate