Education is the bedrock of development. Every child has a right to it because it is essential for personal advancement. Education is, in fact, one of the fundamental rights of every child. As a Church, the Catholic Church all over the world has made and continues to make substantial contributions towards the advancement of the human person in the education sector.
In Esanland, children with special needs have not always been adequately catered for as far as their educational needs are concerned. To change the narrative, the Diocese of Uromi invited the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, a religious group that has competence in the education of children with Special needs, to come and exercise their apostolate in the Diocese.
The Sisters were made welcome with a cheerful heart and with open arms by the Bishop, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and Laity of Uromi Diocese. They arrived the Diocese of Uromi on Monday 10 September 2018 and were warmly received by the leadership of the Diocese. At the formal Welcome/Housewarming Ceremony which took place at St Francis Convent (situated within the Divine Mercy Pilgrimage Centre) Usugbenu Irrua on Wednesday 19 September 2018 the faithful of the Diocese of Uromi expressed great delight at the coming of the Sisters into the Diocese. The Dean of Irrua Deanery, Very Rev. Fr Peter Alli, in his Address at the occasion remarked: “We are specially blessed with your presence.” On his part, the Vicar for Religious, Uromi Diocese, Very Rev. Fr Wisdom Obiajunwa, SDV asserted that it is a thing of joy to have this religious group in the Diocese. All who spoke wished the Sisters a fruitful apostolate in the Diocese.
The Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Rev. Sr Benedicta Onotunji, OSF thanked everyone for the warm welcome, hospitality and kindness shown them. It is in the light of this that she asserted: “From the little I have seen, (I can say that) we have made the right choice to accept to come and work in Uromi Diocese.” On her part, Sr Clementina Akinyosotu, OSF, a member of the St Francis Covent remarked: “Since we arrived, it has been a very good welcome. Thanks so much for welcoming us.”
The Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, Most Rev. Donatus Ogun appreciated all the Priests, Consecrated Persons and Laity who came for the ceremony. He informed everyone present of the purpose for which the Sisters have been invited to come and work in the Diocese; to care for children with special needs. They are to run the St Gabriel Special Education Centre at Ugbegun. He noted that by their presence, the Diocese is institutionalizing the care of Children with Special needs with an educational Centre. The Bishop was so pleased with the enthusiasm with which the faithful of the Diocese came in high number to welcome the sisters affirming that the presence of the sisters will enrich the Diocese.
We wish our dear Sisters God’s abundant graces and blessings. We pray that they may have a very fruitful apostolate as they serve God’s people, especially children with special needs. Amen
By Staff Reporter