|Nigeria – Cardinal Onaiyekan visited the Salesian Parish in Abuja|
|Nigeria – In pursuit of reconciliation, justice and peace|
|Sierra Leone – 25 years educating children and young people|
(ANS – Ibadan) – During the celebration of Mass on the 4th of February, the Superior of the “Blessed Artemides Zatti” Vice Province, Fr George Crisafulli inaugurated the new Delegation of the AFW Vice-Province for the Salesian Houses in Nigeria, as he installed Fr Michael Karikunnel as the Provincial Delegate.
The confreres had arrived on the evening of 3 February and met in small groups to share and discuss on different topics (Youth Ministry, Economers, Formation, Education and Evangelisation.) In the morning a general Assembly was held in which the topic of Salesian Identity was explored and reflected upon. The Statutes of the new Delegation were then explained by the Provincial and handed out to each confrere by the new Delegate Fr Karikunnel.
The Mass was said in the chapel, it was a moment of faith and entrustment into the Providence of God. Fr Michael made his profession of faith before the Provincial as he was entrusted with his new responsibility: “I entrust you Fr Michael and the entire Nigerian Delegation to Mary Help of Christians. May she always be for the Nigerian Delegation what she was for Don Bosco: a Mother, a teacher and a guide!“
In his homily Fr George spoke about the exercise of Christian authority, recalling that “Jesus teaches us openly that the first has to be last and the last first; that the one who longs for power has to make himself weaker, the one who is in authority must not make his power felt on those he govern; on the contrary, he has to make himself a “servant”, like becoming a slave of others. That is the logic of the Gospel, the logic of Bethlehem, of Nazareth, the logic of the Cross. We pray that service will be the hallmark of this Nigerian Delegation!”
The Salesians first came to Nigeria in 1982 when they opened the twin foundations of Ondo and Akure in Ondo State, while in 1989 a third house was opened in Onitisha. In 2005 a Post-novitiate was opened in Ibadan in 2005 and in 2008 a new Salesian presence was opened in Abuja, the political Capital of Nigeria. After the Provincial Chapter in 2011, the time was ripe to consolidate the Salesian presence in Nigeria and a process of consultation and discernment was set in motion. A new Salesian presence was set up in Lagos, the commercial capital, in September 2011.
Fr Karikunnel is a missionary from India who first came to Ghana in 1992 where he was a pioneer of the Salesian presence in that country in Sunyani and in Ashaiman. In 2005 he moved to Nigeria where he was Rector and Principal in Ondo, and last September he moved to Lagos to start our new foundation there.
The Provincial presented his vision for the new Delegation: “I dream of a true Salesian Nigeria, whose face is the black face of Don Bosco, the true face of Don Bosco, always smiling, always welcoming, always kind and inviting everybody to be part of this wonderful adventure of becoming holy.”