THE VICTORIA MATRIS DELEGATION IS NOW ERECTED
The erection of this new delegation, the Victoria Matris Delegation, gives us joy here in Nigeria. The official and juridical erection of our new delegation was on the 7th of May. At the mass, celebrated by Fr. Kingsley Okereke, the new Delegate Superior, he referred to this day as a historical day. At the homily, Fr. Kingsley spoke about the significance of this day. This day, he said, takes the Sion Community back to the 7th of May, 2017 when we gave the Blessed Mother a crown in recognition of her love and her presence all these years. This crowning, Fr. Kingsley said, was an expression of gratitude and the recognition of Mary’s inestimable place in our history; an expression of our self-surrender to her and our willingness to be her loyal instruments; and an expression of our trust and confidence in her.
Continuing, he gave a beautiful historical trajectory of the journey so far and the efforts made so far. Among the many names, special thanks go to Frs. Alfred Kistler, Klaus Desch and Roman Hanronska (who started out the foundation of this mew Victoria Matris Delegation), while we also thank Frs. Franz Brügger, Juan Pablo Catoggio, Antonio Nin Mitchell and Pablo Pol. This new delegation, Fr. Kingsley further said, confers a new status on us, gives us a face and confers some level of autonomy and independence in the Sion Community. It however comes with its challenges and its burden. He further invited all, the fathers and students, to be ready to march and face the new reality with hard work, with zest and with mission consciousness.
Then came the 18th of May, 2021, with the arrival of the Pater Familias, Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio, when the delegation erection was formalized and celebrated. Fr. Juan Pablo, together with all the other fathers and students, celebrated the mass on this day. During the homily, Fr. Juan Pablo, providentially re-echoing what Fr. Kingsley said on the 7th, made clear that the 7th recalls Mary’s crowning some 4 years ago while the name Victoria Matris is a confession of Mary’s role in the history of the Sion community and in Schoenstatt in Nigeria.
The Pater Familias further said, at the homily, that the covenant has remained God’s chosen medium of ‘being-with’, ‘being-in’ and ‘being-among’ his people. This is clear in the Old Testament and fulfilled in Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The fulfillment of this ‘covenant-relationship’ choice had the Blessed Mother as a very vital agent. Mary, at the annunciation event and through her fiat, become the dwelling-place of God among us and hence began this new world and is the perfect realization of God among us and we in God. This annunciation event, a covenant event, happens always in our covenant lives, in each covenant of love that is sealed and in our shrine. In our shrine, Mary wants to work, among us, the miracle of transformation which makes us purer covenant children, men and women who are in God and have God in them. Mary wants to take charge of us, of our lives, of our being, and of our new delegation. She, in whom the new covenantal world was erected, has been formed into ‘the excellent covenant woman’ and is ready to form us into covenant men as well.
Further taking cognizance of the time, Fr. Juan Pablo presented the image of the sleeping Joseph as a gift to us and invited us, as the Holy Father did, to emulate St. Joseph who relaxed in God and who in his dreams heard his voice. Let us, he said, relax in God and be open to hear his voice.
With the homily done, some documents were signed and the new delegation officers, Frs. Kingsley Okereke (Delegate Superior), Claudius Uwaoma (First Councilor) and Joseph Chochos Kunav (Second Councilor), were instituted by our Pater Familias.
Towards the end of the mass, the new Delegate Superior, Fr. Kingsley Okereke, thanked all present and pledged that our community life and style and our apostolate would be his top areas of priority. This mass was attended by our fathers working in Nigeria, our students and friends and well-wishers.
At the end of the mass, at supper, we had the opportunity to hear the congratulatory messages of some groups and members of our Sion Community.
What does this event mean for us here in the Sion Community in Nigeria?
First, it is a thing of joy and pride that we now have a face in the Sion Community and have some level of independence.
Second, it is a sign of growth.
Third, it is an opportunity to pledge our support, allegiance and love to our new Delegate Superior and his councilors, a support that is very vital to the success of his God-given task.
Fourth, it is an opportunity to renew our fidelity and commitment to the Blessed Mother and to her mission.
Fifth, it is an invitation to be ready to go the way of the cross. The independence that we are joyful about is actually realized in a kind of ‘being-in-dependence’, a dependence on the guiding light of Mary and the Covenant of Love, on our mission, on our apostolate, on our structure, on our institute and on our form and norm.
The way of the cross refers to the willingness and disposition to undertake the duties, challenges and requirements that come with this new status.
May the Blessed Mother be with us to help and guide us, Amen.
By: Okpala Michael I.