31 October, 2018
By Sr. Sarah Egbai, SHCJ, Headmistress, Cornelia Connelly School of the Holy Child Jesus
The activities of the day began with the Holy Mass at 10 am by His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, the Catholic Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese, and Chairman of the Education Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria. A pupil, Miss Ajayi Ibukunoluwa Audrey, aged 4 years, from Basic 1 class, did the first reading. During the homily, she was applauded and also got a prize of N1,000.00 from the Bishop who was thrilled by her her confidence! He also expressed his happiness at this new school and his hope for great things in the future.
The Province Leadership Team together with Basic 2 pupils led the offertory procession. Among the concelebrating priests were the Abeokuta Catholic Diocesan Director of Education, the Vicar for Religious, the Parish Priest from a nearby parish, as well as the Chaplain of the SHCJ Community, Abeokuta. Over 25 SHCJ Sisters were in attendance from different Communities. There were also sisters from various congregations and the Oblates of St. Joseph Novices, who sang together with children during the Mass.
Immediately after the Mass there was the Sod Cutting and Tree Planting ceremony at the temporary site of the school. This ritual was performed by the Province Leader, Sr. Philomena Aidoo, The Bishop, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, and Chief Alhaji Fatai Ogundipe, the Baale Lala (a traditional ruler).
Other activities followed. Among these were a welcome song by the host pupils (Basic 1 & 2) and a cultural display by the pupils of St. Bernadette of Lourdes Nursery and Primary School, Abeokuta, Ogun State. The pupils of St. Peter Catholic Nursery/Primary School, Abeokuta were also present at the event. In his speech the Bishop Commended the sisters for bringing education for the children in this part of Abeokuta where there is no school. He pledged his support and co-operation with the sisters for the growth of the school.
The chairperson of the occasion, Lady Henrietta Orjiako, thanked the sisters for taking the initiative to start such a school in this part of the country. She testified to the hard work of the sisters through her nieces, who graduated from Holy Child College, Lagos. On behalf of her family, she pledged her support to the school and urged everyone to support the sisters. There were speeches by different people. The Guest Speaker, Mr. Stanley Aikulola, Director of Education from the Ministry of Education, Ogun State, spoke of the importance of education for children, and encouraged the parents to play their part in the education of their children. Some funds were collected for the support towards the building of the school. The ceremony closed at about 12:30 pm, then everyone departed, happy at having been part of a successful ceremony for the Official Opening of the new CCSHCJ school in Abeokuta.