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IH of FoundationM Sisters celebrate Grand Finale of Diamond Jubilee

The Grand Finale of the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Foundation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ, took place at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha. The celebration which drew dignitaries from all works of life began with the celebration of the Holy Mass at 10.30am by the Archbishop of Onitsha and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke. Also present at the Mass were Most Rev. Gregory Ochiagha, Bishop Emeritus of Orlu Diocese, Most Rev. Martin Uzoukwu, Bishop of Minna Diocese, Most Rev. Anthony A. Adaji, MSP, Bishop of Idah Diocese, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, the Executive Governor of Anambra State and a host of other Dignitaries.

In his sermon which was centred on gratitude, Archbishop Valerian recalled that the Jubilee was designated by God himself as a year of favour when injuries and hurts are forgiven, freedom granted to captives and slaves, debts are forgiven and special prayers are offered for and by the people. According to him, it is a period of rejoicing and thanksgiving to God, but also a time to take stock, a time to look back on the past, a time of renewal and a time to recall the initial zeal, purpose, vision and mission, and begin again, forgetting all the mistakes associated with youthful exuberance and forging ahead with courage.

For an Institution, he said, Diamond jubilee is only a foundation, an opportunity for the Institution to lay a solid foundation which would sustain it for the many years ahead. Archbishop Okeke asked the Immaculate Heart Sisters to rediscover the initial vision and mission of the Father Founder, Archbishop Charles Heerey who is also his predecessor; and to rediscover the zeal and sacrifices of the Foundation members, Mother Mary Bernadette Anyogu and Mother Mary Magdalen Oranu, who embraced the religious life when it was a taboo to do so in Igbo land. Keeping such memories alive would assist the Congregation to justify the sacrifices of the past and achieve the dream and aspirations of Archbishop Heerey. He urged the people to assist the Sisters through prayers, solidarity, material and financial support so that they will be able to carry on the work they are doing in the Church and society.

After the Mass, the second phase of the celebration was held at the Basilica square. The activities included the launching of the Jubilee package in support of the Diamond Jubilee projects which are the building of the Youth Catechetical and Skill Acquisition Centre, Amawbia and the Home for the Elderly at Nkpor. There was also the cutting of the Silver/Golden Jubilee cake by the 21 sisters celebrating their silver jubilee and 3 Golden Jubilarians. The Diamond Jubilee cake was cut by the Superior General, Mother Mary Claude Oguh, her Council and the past Superiors General present at the occasion. The Sisters thrilled their guests with the “Ejemili” dance.

This concluded a week-long celebration which featured mission exhibition, lectures, award ceremony, unveiling of the diamond jubilee project, special day for the Youth, encounter with the major religious bodies that contributed in the initial formation/foundation of the Congregation, the planting of the Jubilee trees and other interesting activities.




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