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“My parents gave me the name Valerian … everywhere I go, many people take up the name.”

Those were the words of Most Rev. Valerian, the Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese on the occasion of the celebration of his feast with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Nkpor, Anambra State on 15th December, 2015. 

He said that growing up he never knew or met anyone that has that name but parents give the name to their children after staying at a place or others take it as their Confirmation names.  While growing up he researched about St Valerian and discovered he was a Bishop and Martyr.

The Prelate presided over the Holy Mass in which the IHM Sisters prayed particularly for him and his intentions.  He concelebrated with Fr. Samuel Nwadike, the Chaplain of the IHM Complex, Nkpor.

After the Holy Mass, the Archbishop had an interactive section with the Sisters.  It was during this period that he explained more about the Year of Mercy and the privileges that it offers.  “The Pope feels we need God’s mercy.  It is appropriate to ask for divine mercy considering the situation of things in our world today”, he said.  Among other things, he explained that this is the only Jubilee in history without celebration of any anniversary or one recalling any event.  It simply refers to the attribute of God’s Mercy.

Going further, the Prelate revealed his pastoral plan and the place of IHM Sisters in it.  The ‘Big Plan’ is to make a new generation of human beings in the State which could spread.  He pointed out that Catholicism is no longer deep notwithstanding the number. The plan focuses on the area of Education and Medical care.  He said, “I look forward to when Priests and Religious will fill all the Secondary Schools in the State”.  If IHM will be injecting into the School System, we’ll influence the next generation.  A new generation will emerge and the old emphases.”  You can help me realize this, he concluded. 

At the end of the interaction, the IHM Sisters entertained Archbishop Valerian outside the Villa Mater Christi IHM Sisters Retirement Home.  After the presentation of kola, the Archbishop cut the feastday cake flanked by the Superior General, Mother Mary Claude Oguh, the Chaplain and other Councilors.  Sisters presented him feastday gifts and entertainment continued.  The IHM Novices sang a feastday song while Cor Mariae Girls’ Secondary students presented an Indian dance, culture parade and entertainment song. The Postulants danced a cultural dance. 

The day proved to be one of a Father with the daughters of the Archdiocese. To God be the Glory!


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