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Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Mother of Christ Celebrate Diamond Jubilee of Foundation with the Youth

The second day of the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the foundation of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Mother of Christ brought together youths, students and pupils. It began with the celebration of the Holy Mass presided over by Most Rev. John Ayah, Catholic Bishop of Ogoja and the Chairman, CBCN Youth Committee.

In his sermon, Bishop Ayah thanked the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ for steadfastly weathering the storms for the past 75 years of their existence. According to him, the Sisters, in keeping with the desire of their Father Founder, Archbishop Charles Heerey,CSSp, have brought healing and succour to the orphans, the needy, the hungry, women and children, and many today are well placed in the society because of the good work of the Sisters. He reminded all that healing is an important aspect of life. Though sickness is part of life, it is usually accompanied by health, except that which ends in death. Christ himself gave the Church the sacraments with which she heals and rejuvenates her children.

Bishop Ayah also spoke about the plight of many youth in Nigeria today. Many of them are harassed by difficulties of various kinds and degrees. Some are jobless and easily become miscreants in the society. Some politicians, instead of helping the youth positively, use them to achieve their political ambitions, exposing the young ones to unnecessary risks while keeping their children safe in good schools overseas or within the country. He warned that Nigeria is sitting on a “time bomb” which if not “defused” could explode soon, thereby abandoning the youth to their fate. He challenged all leaders – religious and civil, to act quickly to avert this danger. He thanked the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters for their thoughtfulness in trying to build a Youth Catechetical and Skill Acquisition Centre as this would go a long way in curbing the evil in the society by proper formation of the youth. According to him, the Church has the challenge to touch the lives of the youth and make them messengers of peace and love. This is because the Church needs them to carry on the light of faith till the end of time.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Barr. Dr. Obinna Uzor thanked the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the notable work they have done in the Church and society for the past 75 years, touching the lives of the poor in particular and paying particular attention to the training of the youth, women and children. He pointed out that the work of the Sisters needed a lot of resources which they do not have. He pledged to support the building of the Youth Centre which would cost about N200 million and urged all who love the youth and the society to do the same.

Mother Mary Claude Oguh, the Superior General of the Immaculate Heart Sisters, in her address recounted briefly the efforts of Archbishop Charles Heerey towards proper upbringing of the youth and children by building schools and colleges which are renowned today for giving solid education like Christ the King College Onitsha, St. Charles College Onitsha, the Queen of the Rosary Colleges Onitsha and Enugu, All Hallows Seminary Onitsha, Bigard Memorial Seminary Enugu, just to mention a few. Archbishop Heerey believed that ‘only the best is good for God’ and therefore worked strenuously to provide the best for God. Mother Mary Claude added that to mark the Diamond Jubilee, the Congregation is embarking on a Youth Catechetical and Skill Acquisition Centre to take care of the proper formation of the youth in Nigeria.

The highpoint of the occasion was the lunching of the Youth Centre Project by the chairman, Chief Obinna Uzo, His Lordship, Hon Justice Peter N. C. Umeadi, Chief Judge, Anambra State, Dr. Edozie Okay Aroh, Hon. Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Anambra State, and other important dignitaries that attended the celebration. Trophies were also given to the Schools who performed very well during the Diamond Jubilee Inter-School Sports held in March 2012.

Sr. Mary Endalene Mozie, IHM addressed the youth on the dangers of immodest dressing. She pointed out among other things that such mode of dressing can expose the girls to incidents of rape, and urged parents and teachers to help the children live good moral lives.

There were lots of dances from the schools, the Catholic Youth of Nnewi Diocese and the Youth Alive Development Initiative also from Nnewi Diocese. The Cinderella Opera was performed by the Madonna International Secondary School, Owerri; while the Students of Cor Marie Secondary School, Aba performed the Sound of Music.



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