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IHM OFFICIALLY OPENS A YOUTH’S RELIGIOUS FORMATION AND COUNSELLING CENTRE

Mater Christi Youth’s Religious Formation and Counselling Centre (MaCYREFACC), Amawbia, in Awka diocese owned by the Sisters of the Immaculate heart of Mary, Mother of Christ, was officially opened and blessed on December 13, 2014.

The Centre is in response to the founding intention of the Father Founder, Archbishop Charles Heerey, CSSp. who stated, among other things, that IHM Sisters are founded for the greater glory of God, the greater sanctification of its members, the special care of the sick … the training of women for marriage and other sacraments, and the education of children in schools…” (Decree of Erection, 7th Oct., 1937).

The Centre is precisely to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Institute in 2012, maintaining the goal of the foundation but in an established place.  It comprises a ready School Block for Music Academy and Counselling Centre that will cater for psychotherapy and counseling services for the people – priests, religious and the lay faithful.  Spiritual direction, family therapy and all sorts of psychological assessments and evaluations are offered.  A multi-purpose hall, an administrative block, a guest house and hostels are yet to be constructed.

The occasion started with a Holy Mass at the Centre.  Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus C. Ezeokafor, the bishop of Awka diocese, presided over the Holy Mass and concelebrated with the Dean of Amawbia deanery and other priests from the diocese.  Msgr. Hypolite Adigwe, director for Evangelization and Cathechesis for Nnewi diocese and Fr. Daniel Onuorah of Onitsha Archdiocese were also there for the celebration.  The members of the Central Administration and Sisters from different Regions were in attendance.

In his homily, the bishop referring to the injunction of God in the Scripture, “Go and conquer the world” said: “What we are doing here is conquering the world”.  We (the Church) start and others follow.  It is a thing of joy.  The IHM Sisters have arrived and are determined to conquer”, he continued.  He pointed out that their labour is not in vain, rather, what he was seeing is a sign of hope, visible in the number of young ones coming up – the Postulants of the Institute.

He stressed that the Centre is not a Retreat Centre but a place to train people for tomorrow.  Speaking on the feast of the day, the memorial of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, he recalled that she bore witness to God.  Therefore, it’s not a coincidence the celebration of the day.  He said that the work in the Centre is to bear witness to God supporting the person and persons who beared witness to God.

Bishop Ezeokafor emphasized the importance of forming good consciences that will bring about good citizens of the nation.  Turning to the Sisters he said, “It is a beginning but a hopeful beginning.  The sky will be your limit, with prayer and hard work.”   He prayed that God may make the place what it is supposed to be and bless the work of their hands. 

Sir Tony Emeka Nnacheta, the Anambra State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, ably represented the Governor of the State, Chief Willie Obiano.  Speaking he said, “I always knew that the Sisters were up to something.  For some of us who had the privilege of attending Catholic Schools, we can’t help thanking enough.”    “As a government, we’ll see a way the Ministry of Youths and Sports can work with the Institution by the end of the year.”

After the Holy Mass, the Bishop led in the blessing and opening of the departments that are already constructed: the School Block for Music Academy, Counselling Centre, the Convent and the Chapel in the Convent.  He also unveiled the Foundation Stone.  A benediction in the Chapel was used to mark the end of first part of the ocassion.  There were group photographs after that.

Reception followed suit.  There was opening remark by Bishop Ezeokafor and Sir Peter Chikeluba, the chairman of the occasion, presentation and blessing of kola nuts  and the welcome address by the Superior General.  The Postulants presented a welcome song and a cultural dance.  Professor Ifediora Mary Eugene Nwanya, the leader of St Mathew’s Catholic Community, Amawbia,  led the catholic community- CMO, CWO, CGO and CBO to the ceremony.  There were donations towards the completion of the Centre.

The President General and Vice President of Amawbia Town Union came from their meeting towards the end of the celebration.  The president expressed their joy about the project and prayed that whatever God has planned in their town in the Centre may be completed in the next year.  He said it is what will benefit the people of Amawbia to save souls and humanity.  “The whole Community is totally behind you,” he promised.

The Superior General, Mother Mary Claude Oguh and the superior of the community, Sr. M. Frances Ezeakunne thanked all. Sr. Mary Beth Anumba, IHM said the closing prayer.  Everyone went away happy and satisfied with the happenings of the day.

 


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