Claretian Missionaries - East Nigeria Province

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CLARETIAN MISSIONARIES: SERVANTS OF THE WORD

April 27-30, 2017

Impelled by the love of Christ, we are aware that God has called us to a special service in the Church, through the life and charism of St. Anthony Mary Claret our father founder. As Sons of the Heart of Mary, we are Servants of the Word, called to listen to the word as Our Mother Mary and to spread the love of Christ whom we encounter daily in the Word and in the Eucharist (cf. CC 12). We listen to the word, allow ourselves to be transformed by the word that we may reflect Christ in the community and beyond. The missions offer us the opportunity to share the word with the people of God who thirst for Christ as the deer thirsts for running streams (cf. Ps 42:2). As part of our services to the local church, the Ghana Mission has launched a Bible Formation Programme for the Youths.

The four day event which kicked off on April 27, 2017 at the Queen of Peace Parish Buipe happens to be the first of its kind. The missionaries who animated the programme sincerely appreciate the General Government for sponsoring the programme. Indeed it was an occasion for the young people to appreciate, understand and assimilate the Word of God.

The first day marked the arrival of a massive crowd of young people from three stations of the Parish; Queen of Peace Parish, St. Stephen’s Bornymamu and St. Paul’s Outstation Lito. They had the evening prayer together at 6:30pm followed by supper, and a brief meeting.

The Opening Mass on 28th April, 2017, was presided over by Fr. Gregory Iwu CMF (the parish priest of Queen of Peace Parish). The concelebrants included; Frs. Paul Kasu (one of the facilitators) and Anadu Hilary Ifeakandu CMF (the Youth Chaplain of Queen of Peace Parish Buipe). During homily, Fr. Gregory Iwu urged the youths to make effective use of the opportunity to encounter Christ in the Word and allow themselves be transformed by the encounter. Later in the day, a talk was delivered by Fr. Paul Kasu, (from Damongo Diocese) on the topic: “Youths and the Use of Bible in the Modern World”.  Fr. Kasu stressed on the proper approach to the Bible. He underlined the fact that we are servants of the word and must not try to manipulate the word of God for ulterior motives. He underscored the need for bible sharing using lectio divina method which begins with reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation and action. Finally, he highlighted how youths can make use of modern gadgets (mobile phone like Apple phones, smart phones and android phones) and social platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype, and Facebook to promote and evangelize themselves, the world and their fellow youths.  Later in the evening of the same day, the youths watched a film that corroborated the purpose of the event.

Fr. Olisaemeka Oranebo CMF took to the stage on 29th April, with a talk titled “Fan into Flames the Gift you Received”. Drawing his theme from Timothy in 2 Tim 1: 6, he called on the young people to discover their gifts through discernment, prayers, meditations, contemplation of reading the word of God and hard work. Fr. Olisa also stressed the importance of using our various gifts for service in the Church which is the mystical body of Christ.

The third talk was presented by Fr. Matthias Tang (the Diocesan Youth Chaplain; Damongo Diocese) on the topic “Foundation Once Destroyed, What Can the Just Do:” He began by tracing the background of the Psalm 11 in the Scripture (2 Samuel 13) (the case of David and his son Absalom). He also underscored the practicality of this topic in various human lives experiencing such as in politics, family, faith, and church, and he  encouraged the youth to trust in God since it is only through their trust in  God that salvation and help could come. He pinpointed the need for upright living as young Catholic youths since such could go a long way to restoring moral and religious values.  He finally emphasized on the need for youth to build on strong foundation which is Jesus Christ and by extension the Church which is the mystical body of Christ.

Finally, the last presentation was on the topic “Radical Christianity” delivered by Fr Cyriacus Asiegbu CMF (Mission Coordinator, Ghana). He began by showing a movie on how Moses and Aaron radically led the people of Israel out from the land of captivity in Egypt. After the video clip, he began his presentation by defining terms “radical and Christianity” and then pinpointed some radical personalities from the Bible both from the Old Testament and New Testament who radically followed God. For instance he enumerated some personalities like Moses, Abraham, John the Baptist and the disciples of Christ who radically followed and served God. He admonished the youth to live out their Catholic faith radically having Christ as the model of their faith.  He also exhorted them to live beyond “faith tepidity” or “faith mediocrity”.  The presentation was concrete, and graphical. At the end of his presentation, an inspiring video clip was shown on how to live out our faith radically following the footsteps of Christ, the apostles, martyrs and holy men and women of God.

The workshop on Bible Formation for the Youth came to an end on 30th April 2017 with the thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Rev Fr. Cyriacus Asiegbu CMF.  Frs. Iwu Gregory and Anadu Hilary Ifeakandu concelebrated. During the homily, Fr. Asiegbu underscored the intimate relationship between the breaking of the Word and breaking of the bread in other words the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist as we read from the gospel of Luke 24: 13-35 (two disciples of Jesus going to Emmaus who recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread). He emphasized on the need to have recourse to the Word of God if we want to understand what happened to Jesus and what happens to us every day.  He exhorted the youths to adequately make use of this opportunity to grow more in their knowledge of the Word of God and also thanked the congregation for organizing such a wonderful workshop for the youths.  Each participant received a copy of African Bible (Catholic version) and a copy of Catechism of Catholic Church (CCC) all as gifts from the Congregation to enhance their knowledge of the word of God and Church doctrine. In the words of our Father Founder St Anthony Claret; “If you can’t send missionaries to a particular place, at least send some books to the place”.

In all the participants were about 96 comprising youths from Buipe, Lito Bornymamu. The Claretian vocation is but one expression of religious life, committed to bringing the Word of God to all peoples. Claretians are people of prayer ready to respond to what is most timely, urgent, and needed to build God’s Kingdom of love and justice. The event came to an end with group photography after the Eucharistic celebration.

FR ANADU HILARY IFEAKANDU, CMF

QUEEN OF PEACE PARISH, BUIPE, GHANA

1st May, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, 2017