13 August, 2022
The long-awaited day, Saturday 13th August 2022 opened with a very clement weather, though it had been raining in Jos. Our celebrants, their families, friends, Religious from other congregations, Priests from Jos and neighboring dioceses, invited guests and SHCJ Associates in their uniform joined a good number of SHCJ Sisters, the Province Leader and her Team, immediate past Society Leader, Sr. Veronica Openibo, immediate past Province Leader, Sr. Philomena Aidoo all in glowing colours at St. Murumba’s Parish, Jos.
Most Rev Dr. Matthew Ishaya Audu, the Archbishop of Jos who doubles as an Associate of SHCJ, was the principal celebrant and he concelebrated with a bevy of priests who filled up the sanctuary for the Mass. He gave a very compelling and soul-searching homily educating all about the true meaning of the vowed life. There was an invocation of the Holy Spirit as well as the entire company of the Saints led by the cantors and the choir.
This ushered us into the climax of the Mass which had each of sisters Lydia Alphonsus, Uchechukwu Diyoke, Sylvaline Etoh, Vivian Iboi, Francisca Igwe, Maureen Odineze and Ifeoma Omeh pronounce Perpetual Vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience to the Lord, promising to live and die in the SHCJ. The Province Leader, Sr. Helen Ebede, who represented the Society Leader, Sr. Pauline Darby received their Vows and commended them earnestly to God. The entire congregation which was agog to see this happen broke into joy and applause but more joyful were the SHCJs, especially the perpetually professed sisters who immediately made a lifelong covenant with the seven new perpetually professed sisters.
The Silver jubilarians; Sisters Patricia Duru, Stella Okpunor and Veronica Ufomba renewed their Vows after 25 years of a life of grace. Next was the renewal of Vows by our Golden Jubilarian, Sr. Cecilia Nya who thrilled all by her vitality and cheerfulness at fifty years of Religious life. The elated congregation especially the SHCJs could not stop clapping and praising God for these blessings.
The Society Leader, Sr. Pauline Darby, in a letter that was read to the Congregation by Sr. Oyidu Okwori, a member of the SLT, congratulated all of us and urged the seven new perpetually professed sisters to spend a long time into the future deepening their relationship with God and God’s people, continuing to grow in wisdom and grace as did Jesus. She reiterated that challenges lie ahead, as in any way of life – and reasons for gratitude and rejoicing. Sr. Pauline charged them to make each day a new opportunity to love and serve as Cornelia asked of us. Next, Sr. Justina Chikezie, gave a vote of thanks on behalf of the Province Leader. It was indeed a very uplifting worship experience.
The Sisters and all invitees returned to the Convent for the reception at the beautifully decorated Centre for Renewal Hall, Jos. Our celebrants, their families and invited guests were well entertained. During the reception, SHCJ History Book was unveiled by our Province Leader, Sr. Helen Ebede, supported by Sr. Henrietta Adindu, the Editor in Chief as well as the PLT members present; Sisters Gifty Abane, Margaret Akpan and Justina Chikezie. The History Book was presented by Professor David Jowitt and launched by families of celebrants, Associates, friends and well-wishers. We thank God for the joyful celebrations and thank the entire Society for the support and prayers all the way. A hearty congratulation to us all! God Alone!