8 March 2017
By Stella Envulu, SHCJ and Elizabeth Mgbaramuko, SHCJ
The Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Most Rev. Michael Apochi has officially commissioned the Holy Child College, Asa, Otupko in Benue State, Nigeria; calling it a “Great blessing to the Diocese”.
The ceremony started with the Holy Mass with a host of priests concelebrating. In attendance were a good number of sisters of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ), other religious brothers and sisters, parents and invited guests. As the procession began, the student choir beautifully sang the song ‘Let us build a house where love can dwell… All are welcome.’
In his homily, the Bishop invoked God’s blessings on the new establishment and enjoins all to pray that what is “established today” will bring holistic education, strong Catholic faith, personal and social responsibility that will transform the students into people of integrity, leading to an overall development of the people and the Diocese. The bishop expressed gratitude to his predecessor over their collaborative spirit with the SHCJ and the good legacies they have led and sustained with the SHCJ throughout their long stay in the Diocese and which has given rise to “this great initiative”.
Recalling a bit of history, the Bishop said that since the takeover of schools by the governments, education in Nigeria especially in the North and more especially in Benue state has suffered greatly.
Bishop Apochi expressed great optimism that this SHCJ’s new school will bring about formation of the heart and sound education of the mind and body. He concluded that the quality of the students and the structures speak eloquently.
Afterwards, the Bishop did the tree planting, cut the ribbon and unveiled the College’s plaque and goals. Present at the event were the Principal, Sr. Antoinette Opara, the Vice Principal, Sr. Stella Envulu, the Province Leader, Sr. Philomena Aidoo, a member of the Province Leadership Team, Sr Ify Atuegbu and a few priests and Religious.
In her welcome address at the reception, Sr. Antoinette Opara, expressed gratitude to God for making this miracle — the new College — happen. She thanked all who made this day a reality. Special mention was made of Sr. Martina Maduagwu, SHCJ, the Province committee for Holy Child College, friends and all who had contributed in different ways to the realization of the dream. She also thanked the Pioneer parents who took the risk to entrust their children into our care.
The chairperson of the Education Commission of the Diocese, Sr. Julie Ogbole, SON, on behalf of the Education Secretary, expressed unfathomable joy to God for bringing the Holy Child College to Asa, Otukpo, through the SHCJ sisters. She added, ‘We are proud of your good works.’ May God bless this new beginning.
Among the activities that gave the ceremony colour were the French drama which depicted briefly how the sisters nursed the idea of starting a ministry in Otukpo Diocese, a western dance by the Holy Child College students, cultural dances by Holy Child Model Nursery/Primary school pupils and Holy Innocents College students.
The ceremony ended with a vote of thanks by Sr. Stella Envulu.