The Provincial Chapter is the instrument that represents the Province and expresses the participation, joint responsibility and communion of the whole Province. It is a gathering where the chapter members, representing the Province, act collegially in its name within the competency assigned to it by the Constitutions (cf. CC 122, 126). The VII Provincial Chapter of the Claretian Missionaries of East Nigeria Province was announced on January 8, 2016 by the Provincial Superior VRF Simeon Nwobi, CMF. And on the memoria of St Bernardine of Siena, May 20, 2016, he issued the “Circular Letter of Convocation of the Chapter”. The Chapter members were convoked to in these words:
The theme for the VII Provincial Chapter; “Strengthening Missionary Community as Basis for the Joy of the Gospel” is adapted from that of the recently concluded XXV General Chapter of the Congregation titled: “Witnesses and Messengers of the Joy of the Gospel”. One reason for the choice of the theme of the General Chapter was to respond to the two encyclicals of Pope Francis: “Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’, in addition to the fact that the year 2015 was a year dedicated by the Pope as a “Year for the Consecrated Life”. Another reason is to revisit one of the previous General Chapter themes: “Mission of the Claretians Today”. Each Province and Delegation in the Congregation is expected to reflect the General Chapter Document in their Chapters and Assemblies according to what they consider ad rem to their situations.
On the 20th of June 2016, the 39 chapter members converged at the Claretian Institute of Philosophy Maryland Nekede to begin the Chapter journey. The recently elected General Superior: VRF Mathew Vattamattam, CMF was the Chapter President. It was a moment of review, discernment and planning for the future. From the first day to the sixth day (20 – 25 June, 2016), the chapter members were engaged in a thorough process of fraternal assessment of the activities of the Province in the past sexennium and charting of a way forward. It was a moment to listen intensely to the Lord, to the Church, to the Congregation and to those whom we serve as regards our witnessing to the Lord of the harvest. Among the special invitees to the Chapter who had time to address the chapter were – Most Rev Wilfred Anagbe, CMF (Bishop of Makurdi Diocese), VRF Daniel Onyeayana (Major Superior of Nigeria West Delegation), Sr. Anna Daszkowska (Superior of the Claretian Missionary Sisters in Nigeria) and some members of the Lay Claretian Movement.
Part of the discernment and planning was the election of a new Provincial Government to steer the activities of the Province for the next six years. Consequently, the Chapter members re-elected VRF Simeon Nwobi, CMF as the Provincial Superior. The following confrères were elected as the Consultors and Prefects of the different Prefectures: Fr. Perpetus Igwe (Vicar/ Prefect of Spirituality), Fr. Nathaniel Eke (Prefect of Economy), Fr. Kenneth Oguejiofor (Prefect of Formation), and Fr. Anthony Azinta (Prefect of Apostolate). The Provincial Superior also designated Fr. Stan Ekwujuru as the Provincial Secretary.
In his concluding address, the president of the Chapter did not stop at underlining the observable growth in the Province but interpreted it as products of God’s merciful love and commitment of the missionaries. He therefore called on the missionaries to remain humble servants and bearers of the merciful face of the Father in the world. The chapter was concluded on Saturday 25th June 2016.