Two Brothers Professed Final Vows
Two Presentation Brothers, Br. McSimon Azenda and Br. Daniel Obiagbafuna made their Final Vows of Religious Profession in St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Gboko Diocese, Benue State, Nigeria, on the eve of the Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. Br. McSimon hails from the Local Government Area of Gboko, Benue State and Br, Daniel comes from Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State also in Nigeria.
His Lordship Most Rev. William Amove Avenya Bishop of the Gboko Diocese who presided over the Profession Mass and was concelebrated by Very Rev. Fr. Boniface Ayoo Cssp Vicar for Religious in the Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Mgbanngun the Cathedral Administrator and other Priests from the Gboko Diocese.
The profession ceremony was attended by many Presentation Brothers from Ghana and Nigeria and the West Africa Province leader Br. Emmanuel Aminenta. In attendance was Br. Kevin Mascarenhas a member of the CLT and delegate of the Congregation Leader who received the vows on behalf of the Congregation Leader. The colourful celebration was also attended by a cross-section of religious women and men from the diocese which included: the Dominicans, Missionary Daughters of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, The Eucharist Heart of Jesus, Jesus the Redeemer Sisters, Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis, Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, The Vocationist Sisters, Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus, Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception, Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus and the St. Rose of Lima Secular Sisters, family members and relatives, friends and well-wishers.
In the homily, Most Rev. Bishop William acknowledged that the celebration was important and unique ‘This is a historic event, it is the time in the history of the Cathedral Church to host such an important occasion’ and he expressed gratitude to the Presentation Brothers for their long-time mission and dedicated ministry for the education of poor youth at the periphery of society such as the Bunde community in Gboko.
He thanked and congratulated Brothers McSimon and Daniel on their self-giving to the Congregation and for the service of humanity. He exalted them to emulate the example of Abraham who willingly obeyed God’s call to go to the unknown land. You are called to mission, to be missionaries for Christ and to serve humanity with love and passion, positive passion. He enjoined them to be connected to Christ who called them out from the many for His Mission and that disconnected from Christ they will be unable to serve and live as religious men in community. You are to spend time with the Lord in prayer, to listen to Him in silence for His guidance and directions.
He said ‘the call to religious life and to follow Christ more closely is a call to foolishness, to be fools for Him so that He Jesus who calls you can make you into something good, fine and precious tools for service to humanity by profession the vows of Poverty, obedience and Chastity’ he warned them to hold fast to the evangelical counsels. He asked them to let their yes be ‘yes is yes’
The vows are enabling counsels, difficult but most functionable over the years. Poverty is collective richness, having nothing for yourself, yet owing everything in common. The vows are freedom, to make you readily available for the mission of Christ and service to your brothers and sisters wherever you are most needed in line with the charism of the Presentation Brothers. He then called on young men to discern the vocation of the Presentation Brothers way of life. ‘The Brothers are professional, working in many fields for the salvation of their sisters and brothers, and in particular through education and youth ministries’ he added.
A group photo with the Bishop William Avenya with the Brothers and Priests after the Profession ceremony, outside St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Gboko Diocese, Benue State.
Br. Daniel, Br. McSimon’s mother and Br. McSimon decorated with the Tiv Traditional attire