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Closing of the Year of Spirituality

04/02/2009: Nigeria

The Spirituality Commission of the Marist Province of Nigeria set aside the evening of Monday 15th December to the afternoon of Wednesday 17th December, 2008 to mark the closing of the Year of Spirituality in the Province. The venue was the diocesan pastoral and Retreat Centre, Orlu, Imo State. Large numbers of Brothers and representatives of our Lay Marist fraternities turned up for the great occasion.

On the morning of the16th, the bishop of Orlu diocese, His Lordship Rev. Dr. Augustine Ukwuoma, presided at the Eucharitic celebration. Br.Fabian okeke and Br. Elias Iwu helped the participants deepen thier appreciation of Our Spirituality. They highlighted and emphasized the salient features of our Marian and Apostolic Spirituality.

In an interactive session, the Lay Marists and those living in the communities where Brothers work shared their impressions of the Brothers and our spirituality as they observed the Brothers live it.

In the evening, the participants proceeded to the Marist Formation Centre, Orlu for a novelty football match between the professed brothers and our postulants. It was a graced moment of fraternal sharing. The football match ended 3-3.

On the morning of the 17th Dceember, to keep the year of spirituality ever green in our hearts and minds, we planted a symbolic tree in the Postulancy House. The Provincial Brother Christian Mbam, reminded the participants that Our Spirituality should continue to grow like the symbolic tree.

the emeritus Bishop of Orlu diocese, His lordship Gregory Ochiagha prisided at the closing Eucharistic celebration. Given his close relationship with the Brothers that spans so many years, he had so much to share about the Brothers. He thanked God for our presence in his diocese. he challenged us to continue to remain faithful to the spirit of our founder.

In his closing address, the Provincial, Br. Christian Mbam traced the growth of our understanding of the Marist Spirituality. He emphasized that Fr. Champagnat bequeathed to us spirituality which is unique to himself and to us, He referred to this spirituality as Marcellinean Spirituality.

He further said that when the Year was launched in the Province, we planted rose bushes. He said that the rose has beautiful and admirable flowers. But has very strong spikes. To reach the flowers of the rose bush, one needs to negotiate the spikes. It is one way asserting the adage “No cross, no crown.”

He thanked all for being part of the closing execrise. He urged all the participants to work towards the vitality of the Province.

Finally,the participants left for their respective communities and homes after a fraternal lunch.

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