Mustard Seed Flourishes in Nigeria

The Redemptorist Nigerian mission commenced on September 30th, 1987, when four Redemptorist arrived on the shores of Lagos Lagoon to begin their work in Satellite Town, Lagos. In the spirit of St. Alphonsus, those early missionaries worked tirelessly to spread the Gospel to the poor and most abandoned. By 2008 the Nigerian Mission became the Redemptorist Vice-Province of Nigeria.

The Redemptorists are in Nigeria to respond to the spiritual and temporal needs of the people, particularly those who find themselves abandoned by society: prison inmates, the homeless, orphaned children, street children, and the list goes on. In the 30 years since the Redemptorists arrived in Nigeria, our congregation has had a lasting impact on both the Nigerian church and the larger society.

Most of the parishes where we work are very poor. But working together with our parishioners, our priests and brothers have been able to transform the life of the people and the Church.

We do not just work for the people; we give them maximum attention at all times and that has been a unifying element between us. Our priests are ever ready to do their parochial work and that spirit has turned our churches into homes for the people of God. Our parishioners have access to the priests anytime for spiritual direction, counseling and confession.

Some of our parishes operate what we call ‘widows’ accounts, where funds are kept to help women who have lost their husbands in war. These funds enable the women, many with children, to provide their families with basic necessities.

We also conduct ‘neighborhood meetings’ or ‘town hall meetings’ to encourage good relationships among the tribes and address common issues that have to do with specific localities.

We work extensively throughout Nigeria with its youth, to help these young people chart a course in life that celebrates the divine in them which they in turn can bring forth in others.

Today, the mustard seed that was planted 30 years ago at the Archangels parish in Satellite Town has grown to the level that it can provide spiritual shelter for many people in the Nigerian church. What follows are brief descriptions of some of the church and social ministries the Redemptorists have fostered through our Nigerian ministries.

The Orphanage

For the past few years, we have been operating an orphanage home. It is connected to St. Fabian’s Catholic Church, located on the Mbora estate in the Jabi area of Abuja. The home and church belong to the archdiocese, but the archbishop asked that the Redemptorists manage the home. The orphanage has been modernized, and the children receive good basic health care in an environment that is both safe and secure.

We also help to take care of a group of young, street boys living in Nazareth Home located in Ibadan. Most of these boys were rescued from the streets and from a life filled with vice and crime. They now take part in more constructive activities such as vocational studies to help in their rehabilitation and possible return to society as responsible young men. Some of these boys have gone on to university and graduated.

We try to create an environment that is both welcoming and stable. Although we have had to cut back on the educational curriculum, due to a lack of funds, we have great hopes for these boys, and would encourage the readers of Hope to keep all the children we help in their thoughts and prayers.

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