The Catholic Diocese of Uromi is blessed with the presence of many religious Congregations and Institutes. These Congregations and Institutes are a blessing not just to the Church alone but also to the whole of Esanland. The communities where religious Congregations and Institutes are present can count their blessings. The members of these Congregations and Institutes offer ceaseless prayers for the Church and for the community and the world, teach catechism in Churches, educate our children in the schools they run, provide health care services in hospitals, attend to our elderly and provide many other services according to the specific charism of their Congregation or Institute. One of such congregations present in the Diocese of Uromi is the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. This Congregation has a religious house in Ogwa. The sisters of Notre Dame run St. Joseph Nursery and Primary School, Ogwa and administer Our Lady Health of the Sick Hospital Ebelle.
Having found hospitality in Uromi Diocese, a place where they have been fruitfully exercising their apostolate for close to a decade, it was necessary to chose Uromi Diocese as venue for the Silver Jubilee and Final Religious Profession of their Sisters. While SrAgatha Christie Isi Okoebor, SND had her Silver Jubilee of Religious Profession of vows, Sr Lucy Anaele, SND and Sr Rachel Inusa, SND made their Final Religious Profession of vows. The two-in-one celebration was hosted by the Chief Shepherd of Uromi Diocese, Most Rev. Donatus Ogun who was personally present to preside at the Mass which took place on Saturday, 25th August 2019 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Ogwa.
The Bishop congratulated the Silver Jubilerian, SrAgatha Christie Isi Okoebor, SND and rejoiced with Sr Lucy Anaele, SND and Sr Rachel Inusa, SND as they made their Final Religious Profession of vows. In his homily, he reflected on the purpose of the Consecrated Life as a gift from God to the Church and to the world. “Consecrated Life or Religious Life is the close imitation of the very life of Jesus so as to make the life Jesus lived visible again in the world and not just in the Church.” He added that the body of Christ, the Church, is to give witness to the ideals of the Kingdom. He therefore exhorted the Sisters who were making their Final Religious Profession of vows to use their gifts to build the congregation and the Church. As for the entire members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Bishop exhorted that they cling to the inspiration of their holy Foundress, Saint Julie Billiart as this is the foundation of authentic renewal which the Holy Spirit seeks to always bring about in the Church and in the world. The Bishop thanked the parents of the sisters and their parishes noting that the emergence of vocations to the priesthood and religious life is a testimony to the rootedness of the Gospel in the parish. If the Gospel is not rooted in the parish, there will be no vocation.
Reflecting on the readings for the celebration he asserted that God is thirsty and hungry for souls. As a Church, we must create an environment for people to come to God.
He expressed gratitude to the Parish Priest of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Ogwa, Very Rev. Fr Francis Okha and Ogwa Community for making the community a safe haven for the Notre Dame Sisters who live and exercise their apostolate in their midst. He called for vocations to the consecrated life from the community.
May God continue to bless the Church with holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
May He grant to our Silver Jubilarian and to our finally professed sisters the fullness of happiness and peace in their consecration to Him. Amen