30 September, 2021
The Society of the Holy Child Jesus, (SHCJ), African Province 2021 celebrations, which began, with the tripled celebration of 175 Anniversary, Silver Jubilee and Profession of Vows in Nigeria, had finally reached its beautiful climax in the ancient city of Nandom, Ghana, West Africa.
The splendid concluding celebration was the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sr. Florence Naapire, SHCJ, which took place at her home Cathedral Parish – the iconic architectural edifice called the St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Minor Basilica, Nandom, in the Catholic Diocese of Wa, Upper West Region of Ghana, West Africa, Saturday 25th September 2021.
The people were full of joy for having one of their very own celebrated in their own ‘Ancient and Modern’ Basilica, constructed by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), in 1936. The entire layfaithful turned out in their colourful traditional attires with African drums and flutes and other musical instruments of joy and proclamation. Led by the Local Ordinary, Most Rev. Richard Kuuia Baawobr, M.Afr., and a host of priests and religious, the liturgy was enculturated to a desirable mix – with children, youth and adults participating actively.
It was a unique celebration and the Chief Celebrant showed great generosity to the SHCJ, especially with his time and physical presence. He handed over the microphone to Sr. Florence to take a share in the delivering of the homily and to tell the people why she chose the readings for the Day and why she decided to make such a final commitment to God. Sr. Florence did that beautifully in both the English Language and in Dagare (the language of the people). The Bishop concluded the homily by encouraging the family members and the people to support Sr. Florence with their prayers and give her freedom from financial and material demands to enable her fulfil her commitment of love of God and his people, service to God and humanity. He also reminded the youth of the necessity for them to discern for their vocation in life and for their parents to accompany them with prayer and goodwill.
Thereafter, Sr. Florence Naapire made her Perpetual Profession of Vows, which was received by the SHCJ Society Leader, Sr. Veronica Openibo, in the company of Sr. Helen Ebede, the SHCJ African Province Leader. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, a grand reception was held at the St. Theresa Hall of the Minor Basilica. Both local and continental delicacies competed for attention. The occasion also offered the SHCJ a nice opportunity for vocation drive as the SHCJ Vocation Banners were mounted in front of the Basilica and young people came around, asked questions and the Sisters proffered answers for them.
The SHCJ Society Leader, and the Province Leader with some members of her team took sometimes off the daylong ceremony and paid a visit to the family of Late Sr. Mary Assumpta Aamagr, SHCJ, who also hailed from Nandom. They interacted with the family members and prayed with them.
Indeed, the SHCJ, African Province Nandom 2021 was a remarkable way of ending the season of professions for the year.