It was Friday, NOVEMBER 04, 2023. it was the JUBILEE Day. It was a crystal beaming day with an impeccable weather stainless of dark clouds, as all jubilant aura feels the atmosphere and the euphoria is fervidly expressed in palpable manners.

All were gathered at the Claretian University of Nigeria’s field for the Celebration of the Jubilee Holy Mass led by Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, CMF, of Makurdi Diocese at 10am, flanked by Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese and Most Rev. Hilary Nanman Dachelem, CMF of Bauchi Diocese. In attendance also was the Father General of the Claretian Missionaries, VRF Mathew Vattamattam, the Visitor to the occasion. What a great atmosphere as Bishop Anagbe, in his homily (accessed here), went by history of the Claretians Missionaries of Nigeria.

The Claretians berthed in 1973, hit the road running in casting the nets of Vocation and today, joyfully harvesting the great fruits of her short Missionary enterprise in Nigeria. The Prelate mentioned that, at the last count, the Nigerian Church has come to recognise the solid formation programme of the Claretians by electing him the first Nigerian Claretian Bishop, followed by Bishop Hilary Nanman Dachelem, CMF. The homilist enthused cheerily that the Trinity is complete with the forthcoming Episcopal Consecration of Msgr Simeon Okezuo Nwobi, CMF, the Auxiliary Bishop-Elect of Ahiara Diocese come December 19, 2023. In coded language, the homilist prophesied that one day, the Nigeria Claretian Bishops will be SEVEN Sacraments.

The celebration proceeded with the Special Jubilee Prayer and the Jubilee Anthem.

The celebration was blessed with a brief presence of Most Rev. Dr Anthony J.V. Obinna, the Archbishop Emeritus of Owerri. In a thanksgiving song to God, he applauded the Claretian Missionaries for their manifest presence in Owerri right from the inception.

Furthermore, at 12pm, Bishop Dachelem was invited to bless the Jubilee Essays published in attractive book form. This led to an interim fund raising. Then after the Mass, the Jubilee trees were planted and Fr. Christian Mary Ihedoro’s Library was blessed. Hence, the celebration advanced at once to refreshments and other social activities.

The Father General, began the presentation of awards to the winners of the following competitions which formed part of the initial preparations in the parishes: Choir, Quiz, Essay and Art exhibition. Tributes were paid and awards given to members of the Claretian Family, Priests as well as Lay Claretians and members of the Claretian Vocation Movement.

The following are noteworthy:

  1. Tribute to Fr. Polycarp Opara – 1st Claretian Priest ordained in Nigeria.
  2. Recognition of 1st Claretian Set received 50 years ago in 1973.
  3. Recognition to some Lay Claretians and to some workers who have served the Claretians in the training of priests for over 25 years.

Thus, the celebration came to closing remarks and prayers led by the Jubilee Chairman VRF Prof. Philip Ogbonna, CMF.

To God be the Glory!

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