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News & Events - Jesuits of North-West Africa Province | Society of Jesus

Gratitude Magazine March 2015 Edition

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-Tersoo Gwaza, SJ

In the gospel of John, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me” (Jn 10:14). The question is who is a shepherd? Another question follows, why is Jesus referring to himself as the good shepherd?  Apparently, the concept of a shepherd was common during the time of Jesus. Jesus uses the symbol of a shepherd to address the Pharisees hekima Janwho excommunicated the blind man that Jesus cured on the Sabbath in the previous chapter (Jn 9:1ff). He however refers to himself as the “Good shepherd” because during his public ministry, the blind regained their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the hungry were fed, and the dead were raised back to life.  This is what a shepherd does to the sheep. However, above all, Jesus went further to offer his life for the sheep. This heroic act automatically qualifies him as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (Jn 10:11).
Now, the key question is how could we become “good” shepherds to the sheep in our global village that is characterized by materialism and secularism?  Actually, materialism and secularism have become the greatest “wolves” among the sheep. Many of the sheep are lost because of their insatiable appetite for material wealth. Some sheep have gone astray and lost their faith in God because of secularism. Many of the flocks are injured because of globalization – the survival of the fittest and the mighty. Other sheep are sick because of poverty, injustices, illiteracy – poverty of the mind, tribalism/division, violence, anarchy, just to mention but a few.

To answer the question, on the 25 November 2015, the successor of St. Peter whom Jesus handed over the sheep unto his care, who happens to be our Jesuit companion and our shepherd, Pope Francis landed in Africa, to be precise, Nairobi, Kenya. Before His Holiness left Italy, the journalists asked him a pensive question regarding the insecurity in Kenya, Uganda, and Central Africa Republic, which were his destinations to do what Jesus himself would have done, that is to visit the troubled sheep. Pope Francis response was rather shocking to them and many others. He said, “I am afraid of the tiny insects, the mosquitoes in Africa, but I am not afraid of the insecurity.” His response was indeed a sign of a true shepherd who will not allow wolves and bandits in shells of insecurity to prevent him from getting to know the sheep by names and to “smell like the sheep”.  

From the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport the pope was driven in a very small car to the State House in Nairobi to address the government officials. Many of us were moved by his humility and simplicity of his choice of a small car. Moreover, one would expect him to visit Africa with a private jet, given the fact that in Africa, some pastors own two to three private jets. On the contrary, he came with the Italian air. Some people, particularly non-Catholics wondered why the shepherd of over two billion followers could not have a private jet. He is a shepherd who wants to experience what his sheep experience. He wants to be with them. His message to the Kenyan government was that of peace, unity, transparency, accountability, fight against corruption, poverty, respect for human right and dignity, care for Mother Earth, and many more.

hekima jan1On 26 November 2015, His Holiness celebrated Mass at the University of Nairobi grounds. Hundreds of thousands of the faithful attended the Mass. Christians from different denomination and non-Christians also attended. His homily was about Christian unity. At the end of the liturgical celebration, the Pope presented a gift of chalice to his eminence John Cardinal Njuwe, the archbishop of Nairobi. Surprisingly, there were no monetary offerings except the symbolic gifts and of course, the bread, and wine.   After Mass, the pope met with priests and religious men and women. He encouraged them to be faithful to their calling and lead by example. Earlier on in the morning, he had met with Christian leaders from various denominations and other religious groups. Again, his message was peace, unity, and harmony. The following day, Pope Francis visited St. Joseph the worker parish (a Jesuit run parish), in the slum of Kangemi. He loves the poor and the less privileged and I witnessed to that on that particular day. His message was consoling and life giving to the poor. He touched and blessed the poor, the disabled, and many others. Some of us were blessed to have a handshake from him and the Jesuits in attendance took also a group photo with him.  

His was an indication of a shepherd who mingles with the sheep and leads them to find greener pasture in God’s kingdom. He left Kangemi and met with hundred thousands of the youths across Kenya at Safaricom stadium, in Kasarani. His message to the youths was about hope. He encouraged them to resist tribalism and corruption. He said corruption is like eating sugar. It is sweet, but at the end, either the individuals or the nation would suffer diabetic. It leads to insecurity, lack of infrastructures, unemployment, and thus paralyzes the nation as it is happening in many parts of Africa. The pope held hands with the youths, those who were close to him, and asked the Kenyan President, and top government officials including the opposition leaders, and all who were present at the stadium to do the same as a sign of unity for all Kenyans. It is vital to note that Pope’s message was not limited to Christians, but to all Africans. It was indeed a grace-filled encounter with our shepherd who knows his sheep by name. The sheep also know him because he smells like his sheep. The lost sheep are gradually returning to the sheepfold. It is not surprising that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian writer once said, “Pope Francis has brought me back to the Catholic Church.” The wounded, he has bandaged. The astray, he has shown them the way back home. He has given hope to the hopeless. His blessings and handshakes brought healing to many. His simplicity and humility won the hearts of some who were carried away by materialism. This is precisely what Jesus would have done in Kenya and Africa if Jesus were to be physically present with us today.

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The Jesuit community at Hekima printed T-shirts with the photo of Pope Francis on it and distributed to all Jesuits and collaborators to mark this historical event. A big banner was placed outside of Hekima University College to welcome His Holiness to Kenya. Small pamphlets were also printed and shared among many at Kangemi parish, particularly those who do not know much about Pope Francis and the Jesuits. We planted a tree at Hekima also to mark the visit. What can we learn from our shepherd, Pope Francis? The first lesson for me is detachment from material things. The spirit of indifference to material things exhibited by Pope Francis reminds me of our father founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. His great humility and simplicity undoubtedly wins him the title “The Peoples Pope.” When I think of Pope Francis’ visits to Africa, his message of peace, unity, and the spirit of dialogue as he removed his shoes and entered the Mosque in Central Africa Republic, I remember Francis Xavier in India. When Pope says Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters, I see great hope for religious tolerance and dialogue that Vatican Council II advocates for. When I think of Pope Francis love and care for the poor and the less privileged, his visit to the refugee camp in Central Africa Republic, he reminds me of St. Peter Claver who became a slave of the slaves.

May Sts. Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, and Peter Claver continue to intercede for Pope Francis and indeed to each one of us so that we too may become true shepherds who would know our sheep by their names and the sheep would recognize our voice. May we have the grace to smell like the sheep that are entrusted to our care by the good shepherd Jesus Christ who did not only smell like the sheep but willingly lays down his life for the sheep.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance!



-Hiifan Ikyondo, S.J.

TITCJ 1he story of a man who wanted to ascribe his purported healing to a conference he attended gave this testimony during one of the sessions: “Pra…i…se, the L...o…r…d, be…fore...before, I use…d to sta...mmer, but af…ter the pra…yer  to…day, I… no …. noo dey sta…mer again. Pra…ise the Lord”. Thanks to the director of communications, we no dey sta…mmer  again. Our account of testimony from this part of the mission land is certainly different from the man who obviously needs help with his speech impairment.

As the civil year of 2015 gradually comes to an end, ours is a tale of beginnings as far as the academic year at L’Institut de Théologie de la Compagnie de Jésus (ITCJ) is concerned. Prior to the official commencement of the academic year 2015-2016, the Jesuit community received and offered a week of in-house orientation to 13 new scholastics. The highlights of the week included faith sharing, an encounter with staff of the institute, a visit to Centre de Recherche et d’ Action pour la Paix (CERAP), a Jesuit apostolate and the Cathedral of Saint Paul after a brief stopover at the Marian Shrine, Abidjan.

 For returning Scholastics like Maximus who went to Cameroon for French immersion during the long vacation, the annual Ignatian week scheduled for all Jesuit scholastics was their starting point into the mood of the academic year. It was a week of reflection on Jesuit Obedience and its appeal on Jesuit concept of mission. The week was a special moment for me to test my level of comprehension after two months of intensive French lessons. Fr. Dossou Aristide, SJ who facilitated the Ignatian week used some letters written by Saint Ignatius of Loyola on matters of mission and obedience to invite participants to personal reflection. One would expect nothing less from a Jesuit after been schooled on obedience especially when its fruits led the scholastics to Kotobi where again; I had my second reality check of the language in the context of a guided retreat.  

Sequel to the opening assembly held on 27th September 2015 which also marked the 12th anniversary since the establishment and inception of students into ITCJ, we have since been on the move looking ahead. We began the year with Dr. N’Teba Anicet, SJ as the new Dean who replaced Dr. Béré Paul,SJ while  Atsikin Augustin, SJ, is the new registrar. With a record intake of 30 students in first year and for the first time as well, there are more non-Jesuit students comprising 16 religious and a lay student. The institute continues to champion her initiative for Africa-context based theology in the light of African lived experience and of course, the universal mission of the Church.
This year, ahead of the 50th anniversary of Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation 18 November 1965, ITCJ’s approach to theology took a unique dimension with an inaugural Biblical Conference held on the 30 September, 2015 in honour of Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of the Arch-Diocese of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Cardinal Monsengwo who is not just a Scripture scholar but also the first exegetist in Africa was present at the conference to instil a sense of passion for Sacred Scriptures. The appropriate timing of the conference and its relevance to the vision of ITCJ was exemplified by the guests in attendance. We had for instance the privilege to host the Bishop of Grand-Bassam Raymond Aura, who was a former professor of our great institute until he was named Bishop in 2010, the Bishop of Yopougon Diocese, Salomon Lezoutié  and the Congolese Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, Isabelle Ibuola Ngangeli were there to offer their moral support. 


Meanwhile, ITCJ continues to put into perspective her overall vision in line with Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP).  Central to this approach here are assigned tutors to each student, scheduled class presentations by students and compulsory research papers. The institute has also organized a conference on Pope Francis Encyclical letter Laudato Si.  The speakers at the conference who were mostly Jesuits gave in-depth expose on the significance of the Encyclical in all facets of human life and endeavour. Back in the classroom, where minds are shaped through thorough reflection and in view of the historical proclamation of the year of mercy by Pope Francis; a seminar course is been taught in this line. The course is entitled: Works of Mercy according to Saint Cyprian of Carthage. Similarly, Maximus and I are part of two other seminar courses that have significant bearing in the life and mission of the Church especially in Africa namely: Dei Verbum and the Challenges of Evangelization in contemporary Africa.

A slight shift from academics has enabled us to embrace the liturgical year of 2015-2016 gracefully and with new responsibilities in the community. Maximus and I were privileged to be part of the newly instituted acolytes and lectors on the 5th December, 2015 at a Mass celebrated by the Rector, Fr. Christian Yvon Elenga, SJ. It is with this ambiance of spiritual renewal, hope and vigour that the liturgical year and season of advent bring that we are ready to pause and celebrate at Christmas. Yes, we no dey stammer again because Christmas is our miracle here.




Update from Arrupe

-Ocholi James, S.J.

The journey so far has been one of great excitement and refreshment in the midst of academic, spiritual and social activities.

The  55th independence anniversary of Nigeria  was celebrated in a grand style. The event began with a Holy Mass at the college chapel presided by Fr Evaristus Ekweme,S.J. In attendance were the Nigerian Ambassador, and other well-wishers living in Zimbabwe. The Mass was followed by refreshment and the cutting of the independence cake in joy and celebration.

All studies without play make Arrupeans dull philosophers. Arrupeans vowed to top Usain Bolt during this year’s six kilometers Marathon. Eventually, while Sabonnette Community emeged first, Mtima Community came second, and Tansi Community was third.  The annual Dean’s Cup, held in a spirit of healthy competition and struggle for victory, followed after the marathon. The tournament featured volleyball, soccer, and basketball.

One of the desires of every Arrupean is to visit one of the tourists sites in Zimbabwe. This semester, many first year students with some older students embarked on a field trip to the famous Great Zimbabwe. While the trip was a course requirement for some students, for others, it was a day-off from the regular routine of studies. Above all, many students had a nice rock-climbing and sightseeing experience. The trip lasted ten hours, to and fro.

At the end of a long semester came the First semester examinations. Arrupeans, as usual, burnt the candles both sides in studies. The end of the examination was a big relief to students, after fourteen weeks of intense academic works. While some partook in the examinations, others work assiduously to prepare and defend their dissertations.

Furthermore, just a week after the examination, the spiritual Father, Fr Roland von Nidda, S.J., having noticed that we have become puffed-up with academics, organized a Christmas triduum to remind us that we are still Christians. This year’s triduum was facilitated by Fr Gilbert Banda, S.J. It was another opportunity to recognize again that reading and writing are important only if they serve to make us more human. Also, this moment offered an opportunity for some of our Scholastics who have not had the annual retreat to experience one.

The presence of the delegate for formation, Fr Ehi Omoragbon,S.J. was well appreciated. For some of us, we had another opportunity to dine and wine on assorted Nigerian diets with him.

Finally, the babies of the semester were Charles Obi, S.J. Joseph Ikeh, S.J. Lotanna Obiezu, S.J, and Vitalis Chukwunonso, S.J. We wish them blissful birthdays and blessings on their family who gave them to the  Society.

Have a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year.


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News from Arrupe



-Francis Aziza, SJ

As the month of October slowly winds up, we continue to number our blessings and with joy we reflect upon the graced history of our experiences in this special month. On the final day of September, we paid a visit to the home of one of our major benefactor and parishioner at the West Africa mass Mr. Chikwanha

arrupe gThere could have been no more befitting way to begin the month of October than with a commemoration of Our Lady Queen of Nigeria. Wednesday, October 1 was a great day of celebration for us as we here in the Arrupe community joined our hearts with all Nigerians to mark our 54th Independence anniversary. It didn’t take much time for others in the college and in our communities to notice the celebratory ambience which radiated amongst us. We proudly adorned our traditional attires to the admiration of all who saw us. We joined our fellow compatriots, the Nigerian community here in Zimbabwe for an independence celebration organized by the Nigerian Embassy. It was a very colourful and elegant occasion and it was a time of joy and happiness for all of us. We had something to be happy and to celebrate about after several weeks of listening to the sad tales coming out of Nigeria about Ebola. At the occasion, we got to hear once again the Nigerian national anthem which we have missed for so long. We also got to meet so many of our people, to speak freely in our local languages and, once again, to eat our local dishes. It was indeed a very memorable day of gratitude and thanksgiving to God.

On Sunday, October 5, we celebrated our monthly West Africa mass with our guests at the college chapel. Fr Jerry Aman, SJ was the chief celebrant at the mass. His homily focussed on the importance of being attentive and listening to the word of God as God speaks to us every day of our lives.

Saturday, October 11 was the day for the annual Arrupe College mini-marathon and fun walk which drew a great number of participants from within and outside the college. It provided a great opportunity for fun and exercise.

On Wednesday, October 15, we had our mid-semester assembly where the entire community gathered to evaluate the first half of the semester and to plan for the remaining part of the semester. The assembly was graced by the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Marek Zalewski, the Papal Nuncio to Zimbabwe. At the end of the assembly, we had mass in which the Nuncio was the chief celebrant.

We continue to carry on with our mission daily with the grace of God to support us. The semester is far spent and we are gradually approaching the period of examinations and the conclusion of the first semester of this academic year. We continue to pray for God’s grace and the strength that we need to serve God better.

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   Some of the brothers cuting Independence Cake        Some of the brothers with a friend at the occasion


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             The Arrupe Marathon



-Valentine Ossai, SJ

Most of us arrived to begin our theology here around July. Mayaki came a bit late though, but the good news is that we are all here and trying to find our feet in this important stage of our Jesuit formation. On arrival, the second year theologians organized an orientation for us and made us feel at home. Tersoo and Mike were on the ground making sure that we are all comfortable while Jado and Reginald were still on their Arrupe Month. After the community orientation, we went for our annual retreat which was grace-filled but the cold temperature at Nyahururu Retreat Centre was killing. Thank God we all came back alive. We had our province election and Mike was elected as the province co-ordinator. Jado as his predecessor did a wonderful job.independent hekima pix

The academic year kicked off around August. We are already far into the second half of the first semester. The Independence Day celebration was wonderful, we all wore our traditional regalia in solidarity with our fatherland: Nigeria. On the 3rd of October, some of us went to Tangaza College here in Nairobi to celebrate together with the larger Nigerian Community in Kenya. The celebration was splendid. We are trying to get our rythm with the academic and lifestyle of Hekima and Kenya in general. Honestly, it has not been an easy transition from regency to theology but we will continue to keep hope alive. Asante.



 -By Isidore-Splendour, SJ

Ordained Jesuits in Formation of the North-West Africa Province of the Society of Jesus came together as brothers, to share reassuring experiences of their ministries from the 13th to 17th of October, 2014. It took place at the Jesuit Centre, Benin City, Nigeria. The encounter was a platform to remind us of our “Leadership and Ignatian Heritage”, a theme that was skillfully facilitated by Fr. Fidelis Udahemuka, S.J. of the Eastern Africa Province.   

The three solid days encounter was very engaging, enriching, and Ignatianly empowering, thanks to Fr. Uda’s spiritual cum managerial expertise. The days were laden with various activities ranging from Mass, faith sharing, pragmatic evaluation of various articles, evening prayer, and sports.ojif 1

In his presentation, Fr. Uda maintains that what sets leaders apart is an attribute that put them in a position to show the way for others. He explained that leaders are better than others at pointing the direction. As long as one is leading, one always has a goal or mission at heart. It may be a goal arrived at by group consensus or the leader acting on inspiration. Leaders, thus, ought to hinge their leadership on rendering maximum service, selflessness, commitment and dedication to service in the world, and building God’s Kingdom.

We concluded this workshop that enhanced our union of hearts and minds with the intense passion to do more to God’s greater glory and for the happiness of humanity.


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The Facilitator of the OJIF Fr. Fidelis Udahemuka,SJ of the Eastern Africa Province



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     Some members of the OJIF with their facilitator and delegate for formation after the OJIF meeting



-Ujah Gabriel Ejembi 

The bi-annual Review of theology and culture of the students of ITCJ, entitled «Akwaba», recently published its tenth edition devoted to the topic:  “Views focused on African theology”.  A conference of reception was organized on Wednesday 08/10/2014.  During this conference, the authors of this edition presented brief outlines of their major arguments.  This reception was followed by a conference given by Dr. Bienvenue Mayemba SJ, director of the Chair Baraza devoted to African theology.  This conference was entitled “Memory and Promise of Theology in Africa:  the contribution of the Chair BARAZA of African Theology to ITCJ”.  itcj 1

Dr.  Mayemba exposed its projects and objectives by stressing the importance of such a reflection on Africa in the context of modernity.  Baraza wants to be an intercultural turn carrying the memory and the reality of the African people.  This memory has a promise which is projectitcj 2ed into the future.  The goal of Baraza is to promote African theology in a contextual way.  The ambition is noble but it poses already the crucial problem of funds.  

In addition, this 25 October, ITCJ organized a conference-debate on the recent synodal documents.  Six experts helped the participants to understand Relatio synodi from the point of view of the Church-Family of God in Africa.  Our team of experts were:  Mrs Akossi-mvongo Marguerite, Psychologist of couples and family life; Frs. Béré Paul, S.J., Doctor of Biblical Sciences, expert in the processes of a synod, ITCJ; Djro Djro Basile, Doctor of Pastoral theology, rector of the Major Seminary of Anyama;  Edjo Nicolas, Doctor in Canon Law, UCAO/UUA;  Elenga Yvon Christian, S.J., Doctor of Systematic theology, rector of ITCJ; Soedé Yaovi Nathanaël, Doctor of Moral theology, executive President of the Association of African Theologians (ATA).

Mrs Marguerite Akossi estimated that it is necessary to privilege ministry of reception, listening, understanding and the implementation of suitable strategies which make it possible to live the Gospel in the families and to return to the families their role of socialization and structuring of the individuals and their values. Fr. Djro Djro Basile invites us to remain faithful to the pastoral processes: see, judge and act.  Our context exposes the crises in the families which we serve and this context awaits an effective answer from us.  The enriching conversations after the brief presentations by our experts clearly showed the pressing need for the engagement of each one to save the family.

Fr. Michael Lewis has appointed Fr. Foutchantse Vincent to join the team of formators in ITCJ.  Vincent was the former superior of the Jesuit communities in Abidjan.  He comes along with the experience of an elderly Jesuit and will support the community as a spiritual father.  Vincent would also be available in reading the theological reflections of Jesuit students, particularly, those of us with language difficulty.  

In the month of November, ITCJ will be hosting an international conference on “Theology in the City”.  

Until then, Maximus, John, and Ujah extend our fraternal love to you all.




-Itiade Cyril Adegbulugbe

My internship started on the 2nd of September 2014.  I would get to the Curia at around 8:30 am with Fr. Peter Chidolue, whom I would meet up with at the chaplaincy. When I arrive, we would go to the residence for breakfast.itiade 2

The atmosphere was very welcoming and friendly. I’d eat lunch around 1pm after the Examen, the lunch witiade 1ould almost always be a “swallow” with a different soup and fruits every day.

For the first week or so I was working with Fr. Peter’s assistant Miss. Nkechi, with an occasional job here and there for Mr. Godwin. The next week was focused on the fathers’ offices. I enjoyed working in the I.T department with Br. Collins. The remaining weeks were spent rotating between all the departments; helping Fr. Ugo, the Socius, with presentations, the treasurer with folders, vocation office with applicants’ forms, to mention but a few. Mr. Godwin seemed to always have one job or the other for me to do.

While I felt I missed out on some holiday fun, I enjoyed working with all the staff. I specifically asked my parents to get a paying holiday job for me but they handed me over to the Jesuits for “volunteer” work. I ended up using muscles not intended for use till I returned to school.

The experience all together was an eye opener to the many abilities I have that I didn’t know existed.

Oh! Wait! I did not introduce myself at the beginning of this rather short reflection of mine. My name is Itiade Cyril Adegbulugbe, a student of LJC and currently in my senior year of school.








News From Canisius


-Nana Kofi Agyapong


It is three days to the main event and the entire faculté de philosophie St. Pièrre Canisius seems already tired of the long wait. Messages have gone round, invitations sent and necessary preparations made. It is the opening ceremony of the academic year 2014-2015, the first of the new rector of the faculty, P. Jules Kipupu, SJ and as such, we look forward to making it a blast.

All said and done, the day has ultimately come, 15th October, 2014. Here, the activities commence with the opening prayer by the rector then the singing of the Congolese national anthem. Now, it’s time for the rector to give his opening speech. The hall rests calm as everybody turns his maximum attention towards him. In his opening and maiden speech, P. Kipupu expresses his heart-felt gratitude to P. Bernard Muhigirwa, SJ for the six years he spent as rector of the said faculty and wishes him well in his new assignment. He further entreats the student to work tirelessly so as to excel in their studies which is the primary objective and to imbibe the Ignitian pedagogy which remains the watchword for us as students and educators. Soon the rector will round up his speech and we will proceed to the chapel for the Mass of the Holy Spirit.canisius 1

“Ntoto mvimba a beto telama aa beto kumisa Mfumu ee yandi nzambi ya ba nzambi kele kota aa” (All the earth, proclaim the lord, sing your praise to God). Drums rolling, bodies moving, choir singing, the Mass of the Holy Spirit. The Mass is presided by R. P. Minaku José, SJ, provincial superior of central Africa Province, with the rector, the dean and many other Jesuit priests concelebrating. Fr. Rector in his homily, urged all and sundry to seek to enter into God's project of love. That is; God who calls us out of love also invites us to participate in his calling by loving another. He continues that, to respond to this project of God does not only imply that we demand the aid of the Holy Spirit but also be in constant communion with Him.

Now is the most awaited moment of the whole celebration. Is history going to repeat itself or we would hear a new stocongo photory? Both teams seem to have had sleepless nights developing strategies to out-power the other. Rumors have it that one of the teams has sent spies to the training grounds of the other to discover its strongholds and weaknesses. There is only one message from the rector: “que la meilleure équipe gagne”… may the best team win! Referee Nelson, SJ from West Africa Province blows the whistle and the much awaited football match between the new and continuous students kicks off. Less than two minutes into the game and the new students are already down by a goal. Now we are into the last five minutes to the end of the game and there is no doubt that history is going to repeat itself for the new students have seen the back of their net dance six times. Referee Nelson finally blows the whistle to bring the whole game to an end and the final score is six goals to one in favour of the continuous students. We must admit that the first of Nana Kofi’s two goals is worth competing for the best goal of 2014-2015 soccer season for not even Cristiano Ronaldo has been able to score a goal of this kind.

It has been a beautiful day and we remain grateful to God for it. We ask for his presence and that of the Holy Spirit throughout this year. And now with a heart full of joy and gratitude we say the academic year 2014-2015 has finally began!







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Nana Kofi Agyapong, SJ and Michael Oluwadare, SJ with P. Jules Kipupu, SJ the new Rector of St. Pièrre Canisius College




-Alex Irechukwu,SJ


As I can recall, a lot happened this October at the Saint Peter Faber Jesuit Community, Brighton, all of which brought us great joy and consolation. For virtually all of us here, the semester got off to a slow but good start. Slow? Yeah, slow! You heard me right. Emeka returned to the community very much exhausted after eleven weeks of intensive Clinical Pastoral Education program at St Louis University Hospital, and Ese spent a good chunk of his summer studying elementary biblical Hebrew at Harvard Divinity School after a short visit to Nigeria. As a man given to generosity, Ese teamed up with six other returning members of the community to welcome and orient the community’s new arrivals who today credit the orientation team for their smooth and pleasant transition to the mission of theology studies with ordination in the horizon. You may check with Andy to find out if I have erred on the side of truth in my account. Andy’s arrival increased the number of ours in the Commonwealth by one and the visibility of the province even more so. As for Alex, he returned just on time for the beginning of the school year having spent a seemingly mini sabbatical in Nigeria.

Fall classes began in the first week of September, on the 2nd to be precise, and members of the community having been encouraged by the rector during his semesterly exhortation to diligently and faithfully apply themselves to the mission of theology studies having been hard at work both academically and pastorally. A week into the semester, members of the community joined the entire Boston College community for the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, September 11. The university’s president Rev. William Leahy, S.J., was the principal celebrant and was assisted by scores of concelebrants, Jesuits and non-Jesuits.
With the semester in full swing, preparations for this year’s diaconate ordination gathered momentum and reached a crescendo in the first week of October. Then came the long awaited day, surely for Ese and Alex, who now recall the eleventh day of October with a great sense of joy and gratitude. Talking about joy, it pervaded the community and the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Chestnut Hill, the venue of the ordination liturgy, beautifully celebrated by Most Revd. Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R, the archbishop of Indianapolis. Reflecting on the Concluding Rites of the Mass wherein the deacon dismisses the assembly using any of the words of dismissal, archbishop Tobin reminded the ordinands that their mission as ministers of word, sacrament and charity entails, among others, helping the Church bridge the gap that exists between the Eucharist and the world. According to him, the deacon is the sacramental sign of the Church’s own diaconal nature in the world and ought to model the link between the Eucharist and Justice. Taking the archbishop’s words to heart, Ese and Alex have committed themselves to active pastoral ministry during the weekends with Emeka and Andy leading the way.

The weekend of the ordination was one of great reunion with some of our brothers currently on mission in the US. We were graced with the presence of Frs. Chijioke Azuawusiefe, Kevin Odey and Udochi Ugorji. Moreover, Fr. Provincial, Very Revd. Jude Odiaka, was on hand for the occasion and his annual visitation with us. We sincerely thank these our brothers for the joy they brought our way and more importantly for sharing our joy. On this note of gratitude, Alex and Ese wish to thank you all for your companionship and prayerful support over the years especially in the months, weeks and days leading to their ordination. They kindly solicit your fervent prayers and assure you of theirs.

In the spirit of the ordination and the desire to build bonds and foster friendship among Jesuits of the larger Boston College community, our community played host to Jesuits from Boston College High School and Boston College on Friday, October 17. As you would imagine, it was a large crowd of men as diverse as the world. To be sure, there were men from virtually all the continents of the world. The event, which started with Mass at 5:30PM, continued long into the evening seeing the birthing of new friendships and renewal of old 5
Pic: Some Members of the ANW Province during the diaconate ordination of Rev. Ese and Rev. Alex

Next was the semesterly Town Hall of the community, which took place on Monday, October 20, beginning with mass at 5:15PM. Having been asked by Fr. General to reflect on the formation of Jesuits during their course of studies and to propose possible changes in the Society’s program of philosophical and theological studies, we spent this semester’s Town Hall in conversation about what we are doing in formation that is preparing us well for mission in light of the changing realities of the 21st Century, the challenges we are confronted with and ways to better navigate them so as to serve the greater glory of God. Leading us in these discussions were Daniel Corrou, S.J. of the New England Province, currently in his first year of the M.Div., and Juan José Etxeberria, S.J. the immediate past provincial of the Loyola province in Spain, currently on Sabbatical at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and residing with us at Faber.

As I write, the minister has asked members of the community to turn all their clocks and watches back one hour on the night of Saturday, November 1, as the use of Standard Time begins at 2:00PM on Sunday. The minister’s announcement is a reminder to us of the prolonged dark hours that marks this time of the year but also of the coming of Advent. Thus, in anticipation of Advent, we wish you all a pleasant end of the Church’s liturgical year and a prayerful Advent.

Lastly, we would like to solicit your prayers for Bostonians who grieve the death of Mayor Thomas Michael Menino. Mr. Menino was until January the Mayor of Boston and the city’s longest serving mayor having served almost 21 years. Reacting to the news of Mr. Menino’s death, Seán Cardinal O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston has this to say, “It was a blessing for me to have known Tom and his wife Angela since the time I arrived in Boston and to share in their faith and their good works. They always held providing support and assistance for people in need as a priority.” May the soul of Thomas Menino and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.



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Our newest deacons with Udochi Ugorji, SJ after their diaconate ordination


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                    With friends after diaconate ordination


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Emeka Asogwa, SJ and Alex Irechukwu, SJ with some nuns at Boston

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         Click here to view pics of the diaconate ordination at Boston
         in a beautiful animated slides




Update from St. Joes

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION                                                                                                

- Reginald Nwakolobi, SJ

st joes 6 1As you know, the 1st of October is Nigeria’s Independence Day. If it was taken lightly in some places, it is worth mentioning that the Agape community could not have passed up the chance to celebrate it. While St. Joseph Catholic Church, Benin City may be deeply involved in religious activities; she is not less interested in civic responsibilities. In other words, there was a ceremony in the parish to mark this year’s Independence joes 3

The colourful celebration began with a mass in the late morning. One could see in the distance people arrayed in green and white to match the colours of the Nigerian flag. After the congregation had stood at attention in the state-of-the-art church, the national anthem was intoned by the acting parish priest, Fr. Ben Ebogu, SJ and was sung loudly by everyone in unison – accompanied on the piano. There was an uplifting homily delivered by Fr. Chukwuemeka Orji, SJ who coincidentally was marking his thirty-fourth priestly anniversary. The mass was followed by other activities such as free medical examination for people born before the independence, march past by different Church societies, and a football match between the Christian fathers and the Christian mothers among others. Fr. Ben led the kick-off. You might be wondering who won the match, all that can be said for now is that after the final whistle, the Christian mothers were seen punching the air in triumph.

Just before the marching parade, a group known as the Agape Marshal, as they stood in lines smartly dressed, hoisted three flags up the poles. The three flags were the Nigerian flag, the Catholic flag and of course St. Joseph’s parish flag. There was a feeling of excitement as people sang and danced for Nigeria at fifty-four. The faithful looked concerned not only by the interesting order of events to mark the celebration, but also by a willingness to foster patriotism among Nigerians. In addition, St. Joseph’s Widows, an association that has made remarkable progress in the parish over the years, launched their multipurpose liquid soap. The parish Jesuit community received a number of the products as gifts. It was worthwhile celebrating this year’s Independence Day at St. Joseph’s. When the ceremony was over, we imagined that those who had attended the occasion went home resolved to be better citizens.


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The acting parish priest, Fr. Ebogu, SJ about to dribble

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                                                          The CWO of St. Joseph Church Saluts their acting parish priest 


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Fr. Benedict Ebogu, SJ with some children of the parish during the Independence Day celebration

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Fr. Benedict Ebogu, SJ receiving flags during the Independence Day celebration


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