Rev. Br. Valerius Sandow Celebrates Silver Jubilee
It was with gratitude and great joy that the Presentation Brothers, West Africa Province gathered on the 3rd of December 2021 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Religious Profession of Br. Valerius Sandow with a thanksgiving Mass at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Navrongo.
The celebration was well attended by his family members, friends, well-wishers, the Sirigu youth, students and staff of St. John Bosco College of education, many religious women and men. In attendance was the Congregation Leader of the Presentation Brothers, Rev. Br. Francis Xavier Agoah and Br. Barry Noel from Ireland.
The ceremony started at 10 AM with a Eucharistic celebration and the chief celebrant was His Excellency, Most Rev. Alfred Agyenta, Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese and was concelebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Lazarus Anondee secretary-general of the Ghana Catholic bishops’ Conference, the Vicar General of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese. Very Rev. Fr. Lawrence Azure and many other priests from the northern ecclesiastical province.
In a homily, His Excellency, Most Rev. Bishop Alfred Aygenta reminded the jubilarian Br. Valerius of the need to look back and review his life journey with Christ as a religious Brother whether he had lived his vocation with commitment over the years and in conformity with the doctrines of the Church and the Congregation by the Presentation way of life. Looking back over the past twenty-five years to look back with gratitude and celebrate the goodness and ask for pardon in the areas you have failed. Twenty-five years of devotion to God and the Church is not an easy task and therefore, it is worthy of congratulations, celebration and most importantly, thanksgiving to God.
He noted that the thing that provoked many people in our society today is religious life because it’s a radical way of living. It is provocative because our society is against Christian virtues, values and beliefs. The disciples left the father, their profession to live a life of a radical choice and anyone who makes this radical choice like the disciples is in trouble with society. The radical choice for God through the living of the evangelical counsels of obedience, consecrated chastity, poverty and self-discipline are important but this is provocative to others in our society today. Our society celebrates individual freedom; therefore, it is difficult for one to surrender himself to legitimate authority and this becomes offensive to many.
He lauded Br. Valerius and asked him to be a sign of encouragement to others, be of support and guidance to your brothers and sisters in the Church with faith. Look to the future with hope and determination to do more for the Church, that He who calls you in faith will bless His people through you. ‘Let the joy, light up the place and draw more and more young men to follow you on the mission of Christ’
The Church expects the Religious to contribute generously to the salvation and sanctification of their sisters and brothers through your various apostolic works.
Bishop Alfred then congratulated Br. Valerius and his formation mate Br. Barry Noel for twenty-five years of grace and service to God and humanity, urging them to continue to attach themselves to Christ and to be more fruitful in the years ahead.
He thanked the parents and prayed for the souls of departed parents ‘may God give them peaceful rest’. He also thanked the teachers and formators who have helped and contributed to shaping Br. Valerius’ journey thus far.
The Congregation Leader, Francis Xavier Agoah in a goodwill message, applauded Br. Valerius for his commitment to education and formation ministry of young adults with fidelity to his vocation has been exciting and fruitful though not entirely without challenges. We are proud of you and blessed to be your ‘Brother’ in Edmund Rice.
In a brief, Br. Valerius thanked all present and said the past twenty-five years had not been easy but with the help of God and the support from his colleagues, families and friends, the Presentation family network he had been able to reach this far.
Br. Barry Noel and Br. Valerius formation mates look alike and very well match