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Spiritan Diary

JUNE: Special Month for Nigerian Spiritans

 History, says the sage, is who we are and why we are the way we are. The “Province of Nigeria” has been split into four different circumscriptions. This is a fact of history, today and future. This necessary split, however, does not in any way render extinct our collective personality as “Nigerian Spiritans.” I opine therefore that one of the practical ways of keeping our collectiveness alive is by remembering the past, for the challenge of history is to recover the past and introduce it to the present. We must bear in mind too that although the tapestry of our history as Nigerian Spiritans may seem so full of tragedy when viewed from the front, yet it has countless comic scenes woven into its reverse side. 

It is to this fact that I delved into our Spiritan archives and discovered how powerfully significant the month of June is for all of us Nigerian Spiritans, our present reality of a four-pronged union notwithstanding. The dates and events that occurred in these dates will speak for themselves. All we have to do is to appreciate the past, learn from the past and live the past presently with eyes optimistically fixed to the future. For, the present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.

·June 1, 1967: The beginning of the civil war in Nigeria. Subsequently, approximately 280 Irish confreres are displaced and later find work in other circumscriptions, including Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, PNG & Australia.

·  June 6, 1920: The Prefecture of Lower Niger is raised to a Vicariate and Joseph Shanahan is ordained its first bishop at Maynooth in Ireland.

·       June 6, 1965: Ordination to the priesthood at Isienu of the first four Spiritans who are products of the Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala, by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Superior General.

·       June 14, 1951: The first two Nigerians make their profession in Ireland as Spiritans: Frs. Godfrey Okoye and Anthony Nwedo.

·   June 22, 1959: The Prefecture of Otukpo (Benue State) is raised to a   Diocese with Bishop James Hagan in charge. He resides in Otukpo.

·     June 23, 1984: At the West African Superiors’ meeting at Dakar, the three circumscriptions in Nigeria (the Province, Makurdi and Kwara-Benue) resolve to cooperate more closely with each other.

·     JUNE 25, 1965: A Spiritan scholasticate is opened at Isienu in the Diocese of Enugu.

·  JUNE 25, 1965: Nigerian Spiritans, Frs. Denis Ononuju and Francis Okonkwo, are appointed to work in Sierra Leone – the first Nigerian Spiritans to do missionary work outside the country.

·    JUNE 29, 1924: Bishop Shanahan founds the first Seminary in Southern Nigeria in the town of Igbariam. In 1951 this Seminary took the name of the Bigard Memorial Seminary after Jeanne Bigard and her mother, Stephanie, who together founded the society of St. Peter the Apostle. This Seminary will be run by Spiritans until 1970.

·    June 30, 1968: Fr. Donal Murray of the English Province takes over as Bishop of Makurdi.

Conclusion
Let us not forget that that the word “history” contains the word “story”. It is interesting to know, for instance, that on June 25th 1965, Frs. Denis Ononuju and Francis Okonkwo opened the doors of missionary adventure for us by been the first Nigerian Spiritans to experience missio ad extra. How pleasant it is to, from time to time, rewind the story of our history! 

Chibuike OJILERE, CSSp
Director of Communications
Foundation of Nigeria South-West

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15 responses to “Spiritan Diary

  1. emeka

    June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    this is great

     
  2. Fr Augustine ONYENEKE C.S.Sp

    June 16, 2011 at 7:07 am

    [From Fr Augustine Onyeneke C.S.Sp]

    Congratulations to the Spiritan Nigeriasouthwest Foundation for this beautiful and fascinating website. As a powerful instrument for world-wide publicity one should jealously guard and carefully verify “official information” to be posted on it.

    It is important for reports of historical events to conform to the truth of their subject matter, to avoid creating other problems for other people/records in the future. In that light I draw attention, as a Nigerian Spiritan elder, to the following records on the SPIRITAN DIARY of this website that need to be corrected:
    a) Information on the Religious profession dates of Bishop Nwedo and Bishop Okoye in Ireland should be corrected for the records. They professed in 1951 but months apart –February and September, Nwedo first and Okoye later. Kindly refer to: The Missionary Vol. 7, No 1: December, 2001 – May, 2002 (page 7) of the now reorganized PROVINCE OF NIGERIA for the following information:
    “Some of the diocesan clergy ordained in the Onitsha area began, in the late 1940s, to request to be admitted to Religious life. Fr Michael Iwene Tansi (ordained 1937) now blessed opted for the Cistercian monastic life. Others wanted to be Spiritans. When their requests were granted they had to be taken to Ireland for the novitiate of the Irish province in Kilshane, from where they became part of the Irish Provincial Spiritan group. These were, Father (later bishop) Anthony Nwedo (ordained in 1947) and professed as Spiritan in February 1951, Father (later Bishop) Godfrey Okoye (ordained 1947) professed as Spiritan in September 1951 and Fr. Moses Orakwudo (ordained in 1948) and professed as Spiritan in September 1954”
    [The Missionary Vol. 7, No 1: December, 2001 – May, 2002 page 7]

    A cloned copy of the feature article: A New Spiritan Province Of Nigeria, – Steps In Its Development by Fr A Onyeneke C.S.Sp will be sent to the web-master by e-mail for more information.

    b) The events set for Isienu June 1965 need to be corrected. The Isienu Scholasticate (House of Theology) could not have been established on June 25 1965 whereas it had ordinations there on June 6 , nor were the appointments to the missions of the two priests (Francis and Denis) to Sierra Leone on June 25. Note that Fr Isaac Eze was appointed to the District of Kabba (of Canadian spiritan missionaries) then as to a “foreign mission” though in Nigeria.
    I happen to be one of the Candidates of the Isienu 1965 June 6 ordination. The Scholasticate opened its academic year of January to December 1965 (as the cycle ran then) at Isienu. After the June 6 1965 ordination, we continued in the Scholasticate to December 1965 to complete our fourth year of theology, when appointments were then announced at a special ceremony of our “consecration to the apostolate” (now no longer in use) in December 1965.

    Fr Augustine Onyeneke C.S.Sp, Leamington Spa, UK ,June 16, 2011

     
  3. Edward Marchessault, C.S.Sp.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:48 am

    You guys have a wonderful web site. I have added it to my favorites.

     
    • Chibuike Ojilere

      February 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Jambo Ned, thanks for the nice compliment. Best wishes in your amazing work in Massailand. Bwana akupenda.

       
  4. Fr Evaristus Obioha C.S.Sp

    June 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Nice of you.Thanks for the good work you are doing.keep it up and may the good Lord be your strength.FR.EVARISTUS

     
  5. Awange Richard

    June 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    A wonderful presentation of our history in the month of June. Thanks very, much dear Wowo: the novices must hear this!

     
  6. IGWE KINGSLEY

    September 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    GOOD DAY FATHER, AM KINGSLEY FROM ABUJA NIGERIA. AM VERY VERY INTERESTED IN YOUR CONGREGATION . I WANT TO KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS TO APPLY. I JUST FINISH SECONDARY SCHOOL. PLEASE I NEED IT URGENT. MY PHONE NUMBER IS 07035403202. EMAIL de.pastor@yahoo.com thanks

     
  7. EZE EMMANUEL CHUKWUEMEKA

    October 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    GOOD DAY FATHER, AM EZE EMMANUEL FROM NSUKKA ENUGU STATE NIGERIA. AM INTERESTED IN YOUR CONGREGATION . I WANT TO KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS TO APPLY. I JUST FINISHED SECONDARY SCHOOL. PLEASE I ALSO NEED YOUR CONTACT. MY PHONE NUMBER IS 08066974723, EMAIL mickymekus@yahoo.com. THANK YOU.

     
  8. Egbochukwu Jude

    February 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Fr my name is Egbochukwu Jude am a Nigerian,but i live in Ghana,i jst finished my secondary school,i want to know more on how to join the province in Ghana,i will be waiting for a good reply

     
  9. Egbochukwu Jude

    February 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    My name is Egbochukwu Jude am am a Nigerian,but i live in Ghana,i just passed out from secondary school,i want to know how i will join the province in Ghana,i will be looking forward for a reply

     
  10. Abah Leonard

    April 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I will like to join this congregation. Please,how do I join?

     
  11. Abah Leonard

    April 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I will like to join this congregation. Please,how do I join? I’m a Nigerian and in Benue state.

     
  12. Fr. Agorchukwu Isaiah Nnamdi, CSSp.

    July 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    What are you saying?….this is wonderful! my hands are up for you for this great research that is so informative. more of this sturf, my brother.

     
  13. Augustine Elochukwu Udoye

    May 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Fr. am very much interested in your congregation, tell me the requirement to apply…… here is my phone number 08064315182

     
  14. Michael Matthew

    October 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Greeting Fr, I am a graduate of mechanical engineering and i have an intense desire of be a priest( i.e a spiritan priest) since my secondary days and still fill with that desire. I did write to the spiritans severally. And since i’m a science student, i retook GCE(waec) inorder to get my crk and others; since neco is not accepted. But after mailing my application i got no response. And am still pray to get one. I will be please if i get one. My email: mcubicocheikwu@gmail.com . Thanks

     

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