The celebration began with Mass in our Chapel at 12.00 noon. The Mass was concelebrated by our Parish Priest, Rev Fr. Godwin Orudje and Rev Fr. Charles Emore from our neighbouring Parish. We were joined by the staff from the convent and Mary Aikenhead Centre. Five of the elderly and sick people whom we serve with Meals on Wheels also participated. They were informed during our visits to their homes and they indicated their interest in attending the Mass.
The community was delighted to hear that they wished to attend and so Sr. Rita drove to their different houses and brought them in for the Mass. They were very happy to come out of their environment and socialize with others especially the sisters. One could notice the beaming smiles on their faces. One of these was Esther who could hardly walk without support. We were pleased to have some of the Friends of Mary Aikenhead with us. Ten of the registered members were inaugurated after communion.
Fr Charles in his homily spoke well of the Sisters and the Charism of our Congregation. He encouraged our friends and co-workers to emulate the life of Mary Aikenhead. He laid emphasis on the work of the Sisters in Warri Diocese and especially Okpara Inland, among the poor and taking our services to the remotest villages through Primary Health Care services. He encouraged everyone especially the ‘Friends’ to emulate the lives of the Sisters by giving a helping hand to their needy brothers and sisters.
Sr. Justina Nelson enlightened the people about our aim of starting the Friends of Mary Aikenhead. She spoke briefly about the life of Mary Aikenhead and encouraged them to emulate her life in their different situations. She said that our aim is not for fund raising. You don’t need to be a millionaire before you can help a poor person. No matter how poor you are, you are richer than someone else who may need your help. You can use your talent or your voice to assist another vulnerable person.
Rev. Fr Orudje also expressed his appreciation for the activities of the Sisters in Okpara Inland. He said, “The sisters work quietly and minister to the poor without public show or advertisement as some others will do”. He encouraged the people to assist those who are less privileged than they are and to imitate the life of Mary Aikenhead. He said that “The rich too are poor and need to be helped. In their riches, they don’t know how to be generous, the rich also cry.” He blessed the Friends before the closing prayer and prayed for the sick people.
We had refreshments, cut the birthday cake and gave out the Novena prayers. The people departed in a very happy mood. AMDG
Sr. Justina Nelson