24 September, 2020
Written by Second Year Novices, Jos, Nigeria
The “JAMAS” as we fondly call our predecessors, Josephine Asoloko, Anastasia Kommeh, Maureen Abadom, Angela Odoh and Sharon Iorapuu, radiated with celestial bliss as they processed to the altar of God on 14th September, 2020 to make temporary profession of vows to God. It was a long-awaited day for them and a dream fulfilled and so like King David, they danced amidst gladness and joy.
They were the first to receive the “canonical blessing” of Sr. Helen Ebede, our Province Leader, who took over the leadership position on 14th August, 2020, exactly a month from the SHCJ African Province Leadership Team hand-over ceremony. Was it a coincidence? Was it planned that way? One would think that since it was Sr. Helen’s first time of receiving vows, there could be some hitches here and there. No! She did it so excellently as if she had been a province leader from childhood.
Prior to the D-Day, the night of 13th September, which we call, “parents’ night’, prayers were offered for the sisters to be professed and the parents were enlightened more about the life their daughters were embarking on, and they were given opportunity to ask questions about the religious life. We did not invite the children choir neither did we invite any other group nor individuals. Only three members from each family of the “JAMAS” were invited. However, three out of the five families were able to send in their representatives as they live closely. Some of the parents who came gladly stood in as parents for the other two as we now belong to one large family of God. The novices and the organist, Mr. Augustine Chibueze, prepared seriously for the singing.
The liturgical celebration was presided over by Msgr. Cletus Gotan, with nine co-celebrating priests; In fact, some were not invited but as they wore their wedding garments, they were welcomed to the banquet.
As the procession began, the “JAMAS” filled with gladness, matched majestically with dancing steps that rhyme to the rhythm of the processional and entrance hymns to the temple of God and closely accompanied by Sr. Helen Ebede, Sr. Veronica Ufomba; the Novice Director, and the priests. The master of ceremony, Sr. Chinyere Oliobi welcomed all and sundry whilst briefly explaining the history of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. After the Liturgy of the Word, it felt so apt for Sr. Helen to perform her first canonical duty as the Province Leader by receiving the vows and investing them with the emblem of the Society. The heavenly hosts came down, joined us and sang with us, and we sang as melodiously as we never did before. The liturgical celebration came to an end and the vows were signed after the post communion hymn.
Sr. Margaret Ogunlade, coordinated the reception session. There were prayers and ushering in of the newly professed by the novices. The novices made a rendition of welcome songs, and all made merry. As it is customary to SHCJ, African Province, a fun-filled social night was organized where the families of the newly professed, the Sisters and the novices presented their various cultures, mostly with dance, riddles and jokes. There was light refreshment and this brought the ceremony of the profession to a successful and joyful end.
In all, the ceremony was fantastic and superb and we thank God for the good weather and for making the program a success. May God bless the newly professed and give them the graces they need in the journey they have begun.
Long live the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and congratulations to all!!!