The Pontifical Mission Societies PMS) Nigeria, continue the activities marking the Extraordinary Mission Month celebration with the gathering of over 250 delegates of Holy Childhood Association (HCA), from all the Archdioceses and dioceses in the country in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State; for the 2019 national HCA programme. The theme for the celebration was: Singing the Mission. In the words of Rev. Fr. George Ajana, the National PMS Director; the extraordinary mission month has become pertinent that “our children, members of the Holy Childhood Association should be part of it,that is why we are joining the Universal Church in Singing the Mission. This is our own little way of participating in “Baptised and Sent; The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”
Declaring the programme open, Bishop John Ayah urged members of the Holy Childhood Association to embrace and grow true Catholic way of life, so that they can grow in the faith and impact Christian values on the society. He noted that the Holy Childhood Association is a medium where Catholic children all over the country participate and learn more about being missionaries for Christ.
The Bishop continued: “The Church has come to stay in our own land, within our own cultural milieu and so in that way we can interact within our own culture and so we speak in a language we all understand ourselves, express ourselves within the cultural setting we find ourselves and through that way we manage to bring Christ to our brothers and sisters
Bishop Ayah thanked the priests, religious and animators who have accepted the apostolate of working and nurturing the children. He added: “You need to be very dedicated and down to earth to be able to work with children”. He stated further that the fathers have to become like a biological fathers to the children and in like manner, the Rev. Sisters like their biological mothers.
The local ordinary of Uyo Diocese urged them to lead the children to God, teach them to Know and honour God in their lives. He advised them not to be too hard on them, nor be too hash on them but to understand them. They are all growing children, very intelligent children with very sharp ears and study minds.
In his own address, the PMS National Director, Rev. Fr. George Ajana disclosed that the Holy Father, Pope Francis has declared that this year 2019, the faithful shall celebrate the Extraordinary Missionary month October 2019; and Catholics all over the world are expected to participate actively.
He added: “The extraordinary mission month has become pertinent that our children, members of the Holy Childhood association should be part of it, that is why we are joining the Universal Church in “Singing the Mission” this is our own little way of participating in “Baptised and Sent The Church of Christ on Mission in the World”. He added that the society of the Missionary Childhood Association in a special way leads children to discover the missionary spirit and teach them to help children of their own age around the world through prayer and small material sacrifice.
The opening ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State Moses Frank Ekpo and the Secretary to the State Government Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem along with chaplains and ….. of the various Archdioceses and dioceses
The programme, strongly supported by the Bishops of Nigerian dioceses, lasted from August 1-3, 2017 with the participation of almost 300 children and their mission animators (school teachers, priests and women religious) from 45 dioceses in Nigeria gathered in Benin City Archdiocese for 2017 HCA National programme at St. Paul’s Minor Seminary Benin-City with the Theme: Blessed Virgin Mary is my mother.
The Archbishop of Benin City officiated at the opening Eucharistic celebration, concelebrated with the PMS National Director and about 20 priests in attendance. In attendance also were many Religious women and HCA animators who came with their children.
Activities to Mark the event included: Holy mass, Quiz competition, Mission Rosary, Marian Year celebration, Games and Mission cake event,
The result of the quiz competition showed that Awka Diocese came 1st Seconded by Sokoto Diocese, while Warri Diocese took the 3rd position.
After the quiz competition followed the Marian Year celebration. It was started with Mission Rosary Procession where the children prayed 20 decades of the Rosary. After that, songs in honour of our Blessed Virgin Mary followed, then the crowning of the Statue of Mary closed with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Diocesan co-coordinators of all the Pontifical Mission Societies in the country have mapped out strategies to enhance the evangelization apostolate of the Church in Nigeria. This decision was taken at the annual joint national meeting of all the coordinators of the pontifical societies in all the Ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the country. The meeting which took place at Pinnacle Hotel, Sokoto, was presided over by the National Director, Very Rev. Fr. George OlusegunAjana. The meeting began with an opening Mass with the local ordinary of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah presiding.
During the meeting the directors focused on how to enhance the roles of their various societies with a view of helping the Church to counter the various challenges facing her apostolate in the country.
The coordinators agreed on the importance of promoting “joint meetings for PMS diocesan coordinators to enable them to get to know one another and also to strategize, plan and synchronize activities to avoid parallel programming and ensure that all groups in the local Churches are formed in the missionary dimension so that all baptized Christians become missionaries.
To reach this goal, PMS missionary priorities for 2018 include: appointment of the Diocesan coordinators for the four alms of PMS in every diocese; collaboration with Religious Congregations in dioceses; meetings for PMS coordinators in dioceses; diocesan seminar on mission animation for priests, religious and laity; retreats and initiatives of missionary animation in seminaries as well as encourage Mission Congresses at various levels.
During the meeting, the new HCA National Coordinator Sr. SilverlineOP was introduced while the out-going HCA National Coordinator Sr. M. BennetAzukaEzeokoli IHM presented her handover note.
At the social evening, which took place at the Bishops Court, Sr M. Bennet was appreciated for her 18 years of selfless services to Catholic children of Nigeria. And was given a Merit Award by the PMS National Secretariat.