Brief History of Publishing Ministry of The Delegation West Nigeria
The Claretian Missionaries Delegation West Nigeria celebrated 10years of her foundation, precisely, on October 24, 2017. Consequently, the publishing apostolate (in any platform) in the Delegation has a young story.
However, it is pertinent to mention in these brief paragraphs that the Delegation was created from the previous Nigerian Province, nowadays re-named Claretians East Nigeria where all the members contributed immensely to establish the Organism and her numerous publishing activities.
Nevertheless, the Claretian PublicationsWest Nigeria Delegation, made its first publication in 2012 with the booklet titled, Servants of the Word.Later, it became a popular series with the same nomenclature reechoing the identity of the Claretian Missionaries as Servants of the Word.That became its distinctive signature.
The series comes handy, easy-to-read, of about 20 pages in colours with four or five contributors in diverse themes bothering on the Bible, Catholic Church and her doctrines, faith, morals etc. At various times, it took as themes issues of the time or items reflective of the life and calendar of the Church such as: Marian Year, Year of Mercy, Reconciliation, Missions, The Youth, Marital Life etc. The distribution is within the jurisdiction of the Delegation.
The publication took birth in the hands of Fr Gregory Ezeokeke, cmf. He, it was who, as the incumbent secretary of the Delegation initiated it. This trend continued with Fr Emmanuel Ubi, cmf who succeeded him in the same portfolio.
The appointment of Fr Joseph Iwobi, cmf, as the personnel in charge of publications in the Delegation, witnessed the first production of the Servant of the Word under the auspices of the Claretian Publications, qua tale, of the West Nigeria Delegation. There have been nine publications since its debut sold in the parishes and institutes of religious life, especially, in the areas administered by the Delegation.
Added to the above, the Delegation’s Publication Office, through the liaison and support of Very Rev Fr Henry Omonisaye, cmf (then Major Superior) and Rev Fr Alberto Rossa, cmfimported500 copies ofChristian Community Bible(PU Gold Emboss) and600 copies ofOpen Mind, Faithful Heart by Pope Francis.
In 2015, the Office was able to get some sponsors who paid for 100 copies of the Bible donated to the Prison Chaplaincy in the Lagos Archdiocese, Nigeria. We introduced the Bible to our schools in order to inspire spirituality based on the Scriptures. The rest were sold in the parishes in spite of the high cost.
It is important to relate here that the popular Claretian Bible Diary Nigerian edition that debuted in the middle 90s is an integral ministry of the entire Claretian Missionaries of Nigeria. At the inauguration of the West Nigeria Delegation this collaboration has continued. However, with the 2016 completion of the Delegation Communication House Isolo,also responsible for publications, new Directors Frs Marcellinus Rebecca Igirigi, cmf and Joseph Iwobi, cmf were appointed. In tandem with the Province of East Nigeria, they are to redefine the statutes and operations of the Bible Diary Apostolate to suite the two organisms in a collaborative manner toactuate the dreams.
– How is the Delegation involved in this ministry –
As clearly stated in the Claretian Publishers’ Directory, the Major Superior and Government have the sole ownership of the Ministry. Consequently, they are the ones that approve the personnel working in the House. Without doubt, therefore, the Delegation Government, as in our case, is totally involved and interested in seeing the growth of the Claretian Communication House in all positive directions as strong,effective and efficient practical means of living our prophetic missionary life and announcing the Kingdom in this part of the world.
– Who are the target audience –
Catholics in all places where the Delegation members are missioning –West Nigeria and South Africa. The Claretian Missionaries West Nigeria Delegation territorial jurisdiction encompass 2 out of the 6 geopolitical regions in Nigeria. They are 4 in the North-Central, 2 in the South-South and all the South-West. Hence our publications for now deal exclusively on Catholic themes (like the Bible Diary, Servants of the Word series etc.), our audience, consequently, are Catholics, both in particular parishes we minister and other places of Catholic worship/gathering, here in Nigeria and South Africa.
– How many books published –
9 editions of the series – Servants of the Word.
– What projects do you have at present –
The Distribution and sales of the 2018 Bible Diary in Nigeria and South Africa.
– Are you working with other Claretian Editors –
Yes. Work with CLACOM (Claretian Communications) EastNigeria Province.
– Or with other publishing houses –
Not yet. It is in the plan.
– Challenges and difficulties.
Good percentage of the populace are not literate and there is aversion to books (worse, bulky religious ones). Most parishioners buy our materials as a way of “support” for the love of the Claretian Missionaries rather than for personal readings (gains) and knowledge.
The above is exacerbated nowadays by attraction to easy, fast and considerably cheap online materials (digitalization).
The country is vast and movement can be cumbersome due to bad road networks. The House believes in direct (Sunday-Mass-Parish) marketing instead of bookshops/stands.
Funds – lack of sponsorships for publishing projects due to non-viability. Most previously, big and thriving publishing outfits have folded up in the country due to lack of funds and sterile market.
Finance is always an issue even in paradise.