From May 4-13 the General Consultors, Frs. Michael Ogweno Yogo and Giuseppe Adobati visited the Passionist Mission in Nigeria founded and supported by the Italian Province of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.
The Visitation began on Sunday, May 4 with the formation house in Owerri where the two Consultors were given a traditional Nigerian welcome (to welcome the guests it is necessary that the Family and the Guests be dressed in the same way.)
During the Visitation Frs. Michael and Giuseppe visited the two houses where the Passionists live (in the south of Nigeria). They are Owerri (formation community where there are 7 non-professed students of philosophy) and Umukabia (a parish). The 3 Nigerian ordained Passionists work in these two communities. Frs. Kennedy Okeafor and John Okafor are in Owerii and Fr. Anthonymaria Iyebu is in the parish of Umukabia.
The two communities belong to two different dioceses; one is Owerii and the other is in the diocese of Okigwe. The Passionist Mission in Nigeria began in 2010 in the diocese of Okigwe with the parish ministry in Umukabia and, in the summer of 2013, the formation house in Owerii was opened. This, the second house, got its official recognition from the Archbishop of Owerii on April 10, 2014 when, in the presence of the Vicar General of the diocese Msgr. Kevin Akagwa, the Eucharistic presence was officially allowed in the chapel of the house.
During the course of their visits, the General Consultors were able to meet with the two bishops, Msgr. Anthony J. V. Obinna (Archbishop of Owerri) and Msgr. Solomon A Amatu (Bishop of Okigwe). They also met the Director of Students of the Philosophate of the Claretians in Owerii (where our students study) and the Director of the Theologate of the Nigerian Missionary Society of St. Paul in Abuja (where Confr. David Ukpabia, the young Nigerian Passionist who made his novitiate two years ago in the Vice-Province of Congo SALV, study). They also met the directors of the two diocesan seminaries as well as some priests and friends of the Nigerian Passionists. The General Consultors could not meet with Fr. Anthonymaria Iyegbu as he was away in Italy at the time for some practical business. However, they had met with him in Rome.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa (170 million inhabitants), is one of the richest and most developed countries in Africa but also one of the most turbulent ones for reasons of internal conflicts and socio-religious tensions which makes it one of the most unsafe places in the world. At the same time, it is a place where Christians, in particular Catholics, are expanding and developing, thanks to the presence of young vocations to priesthood and religious life.