The "New hope of Sion" - Five new deacons in Nigeria
The 10th of December, 2016 has providentially entered the annals of the history of the course Nova Spes Sion ("New Hope of Sion") and the Nigerian Schoenstatt Fathers Community. On this day, the five members of this course were raised to the clerical state of the Diaconate. This diaconate ordination is a precursor to their priestly ordination which is slated to be on the 6th of May, 2017. In this year, the Nigerian Community will be celebrating 25 years of the presence of Schoenstatt in Nigeria. This same priestly ordination of 2017 will bring the number of Nigerian Schoenstatt Fathers to twenty-five.
Entrusted to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The ordaining prelate of this diaconate ordination was the Catholic Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Nigeria, Most. Rev. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo. The five ordinands were: Rev. Raymond Odo, Joseph Edosonwam, Stanley Obijiaku, Patrick Ogbonna and Henry Dike. The ordination event was held in the Community's facilities in Ijokodo, Ibadan and was attended by the parents, family members, friends and well-wishers of the ordinands. At the mass, the Bishop began his homily by entrusting the, as it were, to-be ordained deacons, to the special and ever-care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in whom the Schoenstatt Fathers Community have their special mission and devotion. He further exhorted the deacons to be dutiful in their work of being ‘the’ disciples of charity and the proclamation of the word of God. He emphasized the need to focus more on what ought to be done. For if what ought to be done is done, what ought not to be done will necessarily not be done. He thanked the parents, benefactors and benefactresses for their support and further enjoined the students to remain focused in their journey towards ascending the clerical state.
In the presence of the General Superior, Fr Juan Pablo Catoggio
The mass began and ended with joyful rejoicing as this was about three years since the last ordination. The success and fruitfulness of this ordination event finds its instrumentality in our Paterfamilias, Fr Juan Pablo Catoggio who was with the Nigerian Community for two years before his election as General Superior and who was also the moderator of the five day preparation retreat for these five deacons. The Nigerian Community expresses her unalloyed gratitude to him and renews her indebtedness to him as a gift to us.