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Apostolic Movement

The first Schoenstatt Family Group in Nigeria seal the Covenant of Love

By: Fr. Jude Eze / Ijeoma Ugwu

29th of October, 2023 was a history making day at the Victory Shrine of our Lady of Schoenstatt in Ibadan, Nigeria; as the first couple group of the Schoenstatt Family from Lagos sealed their covenant of love. This group of families came together from different parishes in Lagos through the instrumentality of Fr. Jude Eze, ISch a Schoenstatt Father working in a parish in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, who accompany the group. The Covenant of Love was received by Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, the general superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers.

This family group is made up of 9 families from different states in Nigeria but all resident in Lagos. This families as it were are: Roland and Josephine Ogwuni, Francis and Jacinta Akabueze, Pascal and Chisom Odinde, Anthony and Anita Ezembamalu, Frankline and Chinelo Ozofor, Okechukwu and Chinonye Nwabufo, Ifeanyi and Ijeoma Ugwu, Chuks and Chinonso, and Ambrose and Victoria.

Out of the 9 couples, only six sealed the covenant of love at the victory Shrine in Ibadan; the remaining couples recently migrated to the United Kingdom, however, they are also preparing to seal the covenant of love at the shrine in Kearsley, Bolton, United Kingdom. Though separated by distance these couples remain united with their group back home in ideal and mission.

The Covenant of Love captivated them

Since the last two years, this group of families had been meeting regularly both physical and virtual to understudy Schoenstatt, reflect and share their spiritual journey, and for retreats and prayers. They felt a strong sense of camaraderie and unity, and their desire to deepen their relationship with Mary and Jesus grew stronger each passing day.

As they became more immersed in the teaching of Schoenstatt, they learned about the profound significance of the covenant of love, a special bond between themselves and the Virgin Mary. The idea of sealing their covenant of love with our Lady of Schoenstatt captivated their hearts and minds. And they desired to consecrate themselves and their families to her, seeking her guidance, protection, and motherly love through out their lives.

The first visit to the Shrine: a 3-hour drive

Filled with anticipation and excitement, the group decided to make a pilgrimage to the victory Shrine in Ibadan, the only Schoenstatt Shrine in Nigeria were they intend to seal the covenant of Love; with their families in tow, they embarked on their journey, travelling for about 3hrs from Lagos to Ibadan with hearts full of devotion and gratitude.

As they entered the Shrine for the first time, on the 28th, the group was greeted with a gaze from the Blessed Mother radiating grace and love and a smile from our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament who had already been exposed smiling at each one. Immediately, all went in silent admiration and adoration of the love and grace flowing from our Lord Jesus Christ and the Mother Thrice Admirable.

After a moment of silent adoration and encounter with blessed mother they received a special blessing from Fr. Alexandre Awi, the General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, who had early met with the group at the hall.

The first group of Schoenstatt Families in Nigeria is born

The following day, It was the 29th of October 2023, a day they would cherish as the birth of the first Schoenstatt family group in Lagos, a day when they would all gather at the Victory Shrine in Ibadan to seal their covenant of love with the Blessed Mother. filled with anticipation, eager to embark on this new chapter of their spiritual journey, the group converged for the Holy Mass with the worshiping community of the Schoenstatt Fathers scholasticate in Ibadan.

Since the covenant of love strengthens our baptismal and marriage covenant, during the mass, in the presence of other members of the Schoenstatt movement, they renewed their baptismal promises and marriage covenant, pledging once again their total readiness to live for Jesus Christ and each other united in Love. Thereafter, the Holy Mass continued.

After the post-communion prayer was a procession to the Shrine led by two of the couples carrying the MTA Auxilia. Then came the life changing moment for the couples, they sealed their covenant of Love with the Mother Thrice Admirable. as they concluded their covenant prayer, a sense of deep peace and overwhelming joy enveloped their hearts; Mary takes possession of their hearts and home. It was an incredible moment of fulfillment for the couple.

“For us – say Paschal and Chisom Odinde – making the covenant of love in the Schoenstatt Shrine was a profound spiritual experience. It provided us with a source of grace and inner strength to navigate life’s plenty challenges. One aspect we cherish immensely was the sense of community that we have while we made the covenant of love with other members of the Schoenstatt family”.

Founder Generation: Dreams for the future

Ijeoma Ugwu dreams of a large Family Movement group in Nigeria: “As more families in Nigeria embrace this covenant, the impact of their witness and commitment to faith will be felt not only within their homes but also in their communities and beyond. The Schoenstatt Movement continues to be a beacon of hope, offering families a path to spiritual growth, unity, and lasting love”.

With the first step taken, the group which sees herself as a founding generation have resolve to remain steadfast and fruitful in the covenant of love they have sealed with the MTA. They are resolved and committed as a group to share the message of the covenant of love to other families, reminding them of the trans-formative power of Mary’s love and education while serving as testament to the beauty of the covenant of love in family life.

They have as their group Ideal: “Conquered by Love from the Shrine, we move to change our world.” They left the shrine at about 3pm after saying together the divine mercy and a prayer of thanksgiving to MTA, with hearts full of hope, knowing that they had embarked on a journey of faith that would shape their lives and their community for years to come.


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