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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Schoenstatt Fathers inaugurate their first school in Nigeria

By: Fr. Claudius Uwaoma

I am delighted to write a few notes on a historic event in the life of the Schoenstatt Movement in Nigeria which we witnessed last week. It was a sunny Friday the 20th of October that we gathered in the premises of our new school to officially inaugurate the Sancta Maria College (SMC). The College is located in Lagos State, Nigeria about two kilometers from the parish Regina Caeli, church in Bogije, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, that is run by the Schoenstatt Fathers.

The inauguration ceremony started with the celebration of the holy mass with our students, their parents, and our staff. A good number of our parishioners and our neighbours came as well to celebrate with us, all elegantly dressed in their festive wears.

Father Alexandre Awi and Father Pablo Pol with students from the school

The mass was officiated by Fr Alexandre Awi Mello, superior general of the Schoenstatt Fathers, together with Fr. Pablo Pol (the in-coming Provincial of the Father Province), Fr. Kingsley Okereke (the Delegate Superior of the Nigerian Delegation) and a number of other Schoenstatt Fathers. Among other activities that marked the inauguration was a cultural dance display and a welcome song by our students, and a dancing competition by their parents.

The desire to form a new man

School activities had begun earlier on the 11th of September at SMC with 15 students in the first junior secondary school year (JSS I), before the inauguration. Usually there are six levels (six years) in secondary school. But we opted to begin with the first class only, in order to make for organic growth, so that in six years the levels would be complete. So far our students, their parents and the teachers are happy with our pedagogical style.

Dances and presentations marked the opening day

SMC is the first, and so far the only school we Schoenstatt Fathers run in Nigeria. And it was not just opened that Nigeria may have one more school. No! SMC promises to offer a holistic formation that, in the thinking of Fr. José Kentenich, focuses on a creative blend of the three Hs: Head, Heart and Hand. We want to form a new catalytic breed for a new Nigeria. SMC offers us the Schoenstatt Fathers in Nigeria an opportunity that guarantees and maintains more stable contacts with our students, their parents and their teachers and so creates a good apostolic field for us.

Although SMC, like the biblical mustard seed, began in a simple, insignificant way, we are hopeful that in a few decades many policy makers in Nigeria will talk about it as their alma mater with sentiments of joy and gratitude.

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