16 September 2016
The instructions on the paper read “The two sisters will move forward to the Altar, the rest of the sisters will stand and stretch their hands over them”. We had gathered in the Chapel at Keffi Street, with representatives from the 5 communities in Lagos, Nigeria (Keffi Street, Obalende, Ajegunle, Abeokuta and Lekki) to have a send off prayer service on Friday 9th September, 2016 for Srs. Veronica Openibo and Cecilia Nya, before they departed for Rome.
Veronica would be serving a second term as Society Leader and Cecilia was going for her first term, having just been elected onto the Society Leadership Team at the recent General Chapter. Sr. Ify Atuegbu said the closing blessing on the two sisters, while those present stretched their hands in blessing over them, having completed the earlier part of the beautiful Farewell Prayer Service organised by Sr. Ann Schulte for the occasion.
This prayer service came more or less in the middle of what turned out to be a three part farewell celebration for the two sisters! Earlier, there had been a special farewell meal, with the cutting of the cake, which had the words, “Dear Sr. Vero and Sr. Ceci with love from the Community” written on the top! Torrance, Sr. Vero’s nephew, joined us, he works with UAC, but was not above trying their rival’s ice cream!
A sort of unexpected part three of the farewell celebrations came on Saturday, the day of their departure, when Sr. Teresa Okure had managed to arrange that one of her current students Fr. Anthony, who is a visitor at Falomo Parish, should come and say Mass for us at 11 a.m. We let the other communities know, so once again the 5 communities were represented.
This was our farewell Mass for Srs. Veronica and Cecilia. We had a lively Mass using the musical instruments, with Sr. Teresa giving the homily. Fr. Anthony had come with another visiting priest at Falomo, from Ekiti Diocese, so they both joined us for another farewell meal!
A last prayer was said and the bus set off with the two sisters, and those accompanying them, while we all waved a final good bye! They truly had a royal “send off ” from us all!