Monday, July 29, 2013

Deacon Bill's Nigerian experience

As you know, Deacon Bill spent part of the summer in Nigeria observing and providing service to Catholic schools run by the Brothers of the Christian Schools (FSC's).  He worked primarily in Naka, Benue State and Ondo, Ondo State (Central Nigeria). The majority of students in Naka are from the Tiv tribe and those in Ondo are primarily Yoruba.  Both tribes are substantially Catholic.

Here are some photos from his recent visit.

Most of the villagers of Naka, and most of the students when not boarding at the school, live in round mud huts such as these:


Here is a photo of the road leading to the school.  It is traversed by foot, motorcycles and the occasional car.  It is the rainy season now so it is usually very muddy.  About 3km down this road was St. Therese's Parish where I attended daily and Sunday Mass. There were about 100 villagers for daily Mass. There were two Sunday Masses the 6:30am in English and the 10am in Tiv.
Here are some photos of Deacon Bill with students at the schools:

In addition to working with the secondary school (they use the JSS and SSS system - middle school and high school ages) students, Deacon Bill gave theological presentations to six Postulants of the Brothers of the Christian School.  Postulants are those considering a vocation as a Christian Brother.  If they choose to continue and if they are approved for admission, they will become Novices and spend about seven years in Nairobi, Kenya.  Here he is with five of his postulant students:

Nigeria has many vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. One seminary Deacon Bill visited had 800 seminarians (in one diocese alone!!!).  Permanent deacons, however, are new to Nigeria and Africa in general.  There are three permanent deacons in Nigeria currently.  When Deacon Bill asked how many of his students wanted to become priests or sisters, virtually every hand went up.
The Church in Nigeria is very grateful for the European and American Catholic missionaries who established the Church in Nigeria.  While it may seem that Nigeria has priests to spare, the fact is that the population of Nigeria is growing so quickly that many of the parishes have three and four "outpost" parishes they service. Most of these outposts are not financially able to become independent parishes yet, but undoubtedly will do so in coming years.

Pray for the growing Church in Nigeria! 
Feel free to contact Deacon Bill if you want to discuss his visit in more detail -