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The men and  women Religious of Onitsha Archdiocese anticipated and celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord on 1st February at Our Lady of Fatima  Parish, Woliwo Onitsha on Saturday. 

Since the year 2000, the 2nd of February  has been marked and celebrated as the Day of Consecrated Life. Many Religious Men and Women of different Religious Institutes working in the Archdiocese were present for the celebration.  The day commenced with the blessing of candles and procession into the Church.  A concelebrated Holy Mass by priests from Religious Congregations and Institutes followed.  It was presided over by the Vicar for Religious, Fr Jude Oboshi (BSS) who represented the Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev.Valerian Okeke. 

A Daughter of Divine Love Sisters and a Brother of St Stephen did the readings.  The Postulants of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ Congregation during Mass.  During homily, the priest urged all to consecrate themselves to God and reminded all that the lighted candle represents Christ, the light of the nations.

Before the last blessing, Sr. Maria Rosa Ezeanyika (Sisters of the Needy), who represented the president of Women Religious in the Archdiocese, read out the Communiqué of the recent meeting of the Major Superiors General held at Umuahia.  The theme was on New Evangelization in Nigeria.  Later, each Congregation joyfully sang and danced up to the altar with their different gifts which included fruits of all kinds.

Fr James Ibeh, CSSp, the Provincial Bursar of the Holy Ghost Congregation and the president of the group, expressed his joy for the day and thanked everyone for coming.  "Your presence is a blessing", he said.  He thanked the Parish Priest, Fr Valentine Ezeh CSSp,  and the worshipping community who accepted with joy for the meeting be held at the parish.  He enjoined every Religious present to offer a Hail Mary for them.  He also thanked the IHM Sisters for accepting to oversee to the Choir; the Postulants rendered it excellently.

Again, Fr Ibe said that this year's celebration is special with the presence of two Major Superiors - Mother Mary Claude Oguh - the Mother General of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation and Sr Mary Veronica Madu - Provincial of the Handmaid Sisters.   He said, "We've been longing and waiting for them to come and be with us."

Afterwards, everyone went to the Parish hall for entertainment where the president said the opening prayer.  The Parish Pastoral Council represented by Mr Godwin Nnatuanya (Chairman CMO), Sr. Mary Placida Idigo (IHM) and other members presented Kola to the group.  The Parish Choir, and the Youth (CYON) presented songs and a play.  The IHM Postulants also entertained the Men and Women Religious with  songs, a play and a dance.

Furthermore, Fr Martin Ilozue CSSp shared his vocation story and mission in the Philippines.  He mentioned that the Catholic faithful is about "800 million" and the priests looking after them are about "9 million". 

Fr Uboshi and Mother Mary Claude Oguh thanked everyone for coming and enjoined communities to be generous in accommodating other Religious from other parts of the country who will be attending Golden Jubilee celebration of the National Conference of Womwn Religious (NCWR) on 22nd February.  All were happy to have attended the celebration.


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