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THE HISTORY OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE FATHERS OF JESUS THE SAVIOUR (Saviourites)
With his letter of 21st February 1990, Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel M.P. Edeh, C.S.Sp requested the then Bishop of Awka, (now late) Emeritus Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Albert K. Obiefuna for permission to found “The Brothers of Jesus the Saviour” in Awka Diocese. It was intended to begin as a religious Congregation of Brothers with the explicit intention that: “After their first religious profession, some of the Brothers who are considered to be spiritually, academically, morally, physically and psychologically fit for the priesthood can proceed to become priests”.
On 26th June 1991, the diocesan Bishop of Awka Most Rev. Albert K. Obiefuna granted Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel M.P. Edeh, C.S.Sp the permission to initiate the preliminary Acts which will eventually lead to the full realization of his dreams, Deo Volente. The Bishop expressed the hope that the pious Association of men which he permitted to be inaugurated would be given a juridic status with the canonical erection when the conditions for such an important juridic act are fulfilled.
Consequently, the Novitiate House of the Congregation “in fieri” was canonically inaugurated in July 1991. The canonical inauguration of the Novitiate House was done by Most Rev. Dr. Albert Obiefuna. The Novitiate house is located at Km 47 along Enugu-Onitsha Express way at Ugwuoba. The Novitiate is a spiritual formation centre of the Congregation where candidates undergo formation in readiness for their first religious profession in accordance with the Constitution of the Congregation and Canon Law.
On the 9th of March 1992, the Congregation began a two-year Novitiate formation programme for the foremost members with Rev. Bro. Dr. Godfrey Eze Nwokem F.M.S as the first master of Novices and Rev. Frs. Isaac Madu C.S.Sp, Philip Agu C.S.Sp, Hyacinth Icheoku, Lawrence Eke and Charles Ikeme as the team of formators.
After a successful completion of the two-year programme under the watchful eyes and guidance of these erudite formators, nine out of many others were judged worthy to make their first religious profession in the Congregation. The Congregation's continued growth in all aspects and the increasing demand for priests to help in the pastoral works at the Pilgrimage Centre, Elele informed the decision of the Bishop of the diocese, the Provincial Superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers (the Founder's Congregation), the Father Founder and other members of the formation team to send some of the newly professed brothers to the seminary to advance to the Catholic Priesthood.
Formation continued and on 8 July, 2000 five surviving pioneer members, Nicholas Chukwuemeka, Jude Okenyi, Patrick Idah, Stephen Ani, and Jude Nwokolo had their final profession in the Congregation at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Awka. This was the first Solemn Profession made in the Congregation.
The trend continued as members are professed after their Novitiate experience. Qualified members are sent to the Seminary to continue their Priestly training. The Saviourite Scholasticate (of both Theology and Philosophy Departments) New G.R.A Trans-Ekulu Enugu, Spiritan School of Philosophy, Isienu Nsukka and the Spiritan International School of Theology, Attakwu, Enugu are the Seminaries approved by the Congregation to train their members for the priesthood. In the course of their Seminary Formation, members are sent on Apostolic work experience to have a feel of the Pastoral Ministry. Reports are written on seminarians both by the Pastors of the various parishes they had worked and the Seminary authorities to enable the Congregation's team of Formators ascertain the true characters of individual seminarians. Based on these reports from the Seminaries, Parish Priests and the general observation of conduct in the various communities; members are either dismissed or encouraged to renew their vows and to continue in the Seminary. Therefore, candidates go through rigorous, careful and prayerful screening before they are presented for final profession, diaconate ordination and priestly ordination.
The first diaconate ordination in the Congregation took place on the 2nd April 2002 and was done by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese; Most Rev. Dr. S.A. Okafor. The first four Deacons of the Congregation were Rev. Nicholas Chukwuemeka, Rev. Jude Okenyi, Rev. Stephen Ani, and Rev. Jude-Mark Nwokolo. These first four Deacons of our Congregation eventually completed their Seminary training and were ordained as Catholic Priests on the 17th August 2002 at St. Patrick's Cathedral Awka by the then Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese and now the Catholic Bishop of Okigwe Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Solomon Amatu.
The Congregation has had other Priestly Ordinations; the second Priestly Ordination was that of Rev. Fr. Josephat Ezenwajiaku at St. Patrick's Cathedral Awka, on the 19th August, 2006. The third Priestly Ordination was that of Rev. Fr. Donatus Asomugha and Rev. Fr. Franklyn Ezeorah by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Francis Okobo at St. Theresa's Cathedral Nsukka on the 7th July 2007. The fourth Priestly Ordination was that of Rev. Frs. Jude Nzeakor and Paul Obi-Mario Obiorah at the Pilgrimage Centre Elele, on 6th April, 2010, by Most Rev. Dr. Francis Okobo, (Bishop of Nsukka Diocese). The Fifth Priestly Ordination was that of Rev. Fr. Oliver Udaya on 30th April, 2011, at St. Theresa’s Cathedral Nsukka by Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Kasuja (the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria) and the Ordination of Rev. Frs. Elias Okorie, Charles Akaile, Francis Nwakile and Aloysius Obi at the Pilgrimage Centre Elele on 4th June, 2011 by Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese.
The Congregation of the Fathers of Jesus the Saviour (The Saviourites) is fast growing and quickly making its mark as well. The priests of this Congregation though few have made some contributions to the on-going missionary apostolate of the Church. This experience is in line with the vision of the Founder who himself is a missionary of the Holy Ghost Congregation.
Rev. Fr. Jude Nwokolo one of the pioneer priests of the Congregation has worked at St. Paul Catholic Church Achalla. He had one year mission/pastoral experience in the remote town of Achalla, Awka Diocese from October 2006 to October 2007.
Rev. Fr. Jude Okenyi, also one of the pioneer priests of the Congregation is currently working at St. Anselm’s Catholic Church, 89 WestHill DartFord DAI 2HJ Kent, England as the parish Vicar. (2007-till present)
THE APOSTOLATE AND SPIRITUALITY OF THE CONGREGATION
<...The Congregation of the Fathers of Jesus the Saviour, similar to every other religious Societies or Congregations in the Catholic Church has her apostolate which she carries out, this is the apostolate of Caring. This apostolate of Caring stems from the vision the Founder had when he set out to begin this Congregation.
Caring, as the fundamental apostolate of the Congregation, has to do with the holistic care of the sick and suffering people of God by the members of the Congregation. This apostolate is carried out religiously by the members, thereby effecting positive changes in the lives of the people they care for. As a holistic approach to caring, the apostolate seeks the complete well-being of an individual, for it undertakes the care of the Physical, the Psychological, the Spiritual, the Social and the Educational aspects of the individual....>
On the physical level, the Congregation endeavours to assist the suffering people of God through material aids. The Congregation renders assistance to the suffering in the society; for these people stand out as the physical Christ who comes regularly knocking on our doors, asking for help whom when the door is opened to let him in, enters and pours down blessings upon the house owners. This physical help also involves the setting up of small scale businesses for the financially incapacitated individuals who have no one to turn to.
Another means through which the Congregation helps individuals physically is by enrolling the individuals in skills' acquisition institutions, who at the end of the training period, start off their own trade or profession. It is proper to mention here that the Congregation has been able to train several young people in some skills' acquisition institution, and who today are now comfortable business-smiths, plying their trades in different parts of the country and beyond.
As regards the psychological aspect of the caring apostolate, the Congregation armed with her learned Clerical members embarks on re-instating the psychological well-being of suffering people. There are members trained to revive the drooping psyche of individuals who have lost hope of survival within this world of misery. In order to rescue psychological dis-balanced victims, the Congregation not only refers the victims to a doctor, it also makes sure that the victims are properly attended to by the medics and most times would pick-up the bills.
Furthermore, the Congregation provides a condusiveenvironment for the psychological patients; good shelter and proper feeding services are rendered to them as well. The destitute Centre in the Pilgrimage Centre, Elele is a typical example of the apostolate of Caring of the Congregation. Here the poor and the down trodden are collected and their feeding, clothing, shelter and health are superlatively taken care of. In Madonna University Teaching Hospital (MUTH) a health institution owned by the Congregation; meticulous medical attention is constantly given to patients. As a result of this attention, numerous patients have been cured of their ailments and have returned back to their normal state of health, both of mind and body.
The third Caring apostolate which the Congregation undertakes is the spiritual well-being of individuals. Here, the Congregation has for its source of strength Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The members draw strength from Jesus the Saviour through constant adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. With this, the members are then able to go out to solve the spiritual problems of the people. Apart from solving the people's spiritual problems, the members are able to draw people to God.
The social aspect is another part of the caring apostolate which the Congregation emphasizes and undertakes. The Congregation encourages and fosters social services which is aimed at upgrading the lives of the suffering people of God in the society. The members through their way of life influence the people who interact with them and guide them to the practice of fraternal love within the society.
Finally, the Congregation also cares for the suffering people of God educationally. In a world where good education has been relegated to the background, the Congregation edges out to care for the people in their academic pursuits. Today due to corruption, many of our educational infrastructures have encountered setbacks, thereby producing graduates who lack the finesse of their disciplines. The Congregation embarked on the establishment of Educational Institutions ranging from Primary, Secondary to Tertiary levels.
The basic aim of the Congregation for setting up these Institutions is not for profit making, rather it is an attempt to provide academic panacea for the country. In order to stress the presence of the apostolate of caring within these Institutions, students are often given scholarships and the physically challenged individuals are usually admitted on free basis because of their deprived status.
The Congregation, through her apostolate of caring, helps the people of God whom they encounter to grow as Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and in favour with God and men (cf. Luke. 2:52).
The Congregation is basically dedicated and committed to the following apostolate:
(a) Perpetual adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
(b) Holistic care of the sick and suffering people of God.
(c) Personal sanctification of the members.
In order to restore the sense of the sacred, which is far eluding the world today, the Congregation highlights Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament which is the centre and summit of our lives. Through this perpetual adoration, and the practice of Vows and observance of the rules of the Congregation, the members sanctify themselves and thus equip themselves spiritually in order to sanctify others, for one cannot give what one does not have.
CURRENT STATISTICS OF THE INSTITUTE
Since her inauguration in July 1991, the Institute “in fieri” is rapidly growing and flourishing in accordance with the spirit of the Founder and under the directives of the Holy Mother Church.
Presently, she has a population of nineteen finally professed members of which fourteen are priests. The temporary professed members are fifty five; the Novices are thirty five while the postulants are thirty. The aspirants are hundred and five.
OUR PRESENT STATISTICS IN FIRGURES
Finally Professed …………………………………………………………19
Simple Professed …………………………………………………………55
OUR PATRON SAINTS AND THEIR FEAST DAYS
- St. Thomas Aquinas 28th January
- S.S Peter and Paul 29th June
- St. John Mary-Vianney 4th August
- St. Theresa of the Child Jesus 3rd October
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION
Candidates are qualified for admission only and if only they are:
- Of good health of mind and body
- Confirmed Catholics
- Young men with basic morals
- Between 18-25 years of age
- With a minimum of five credits including English and Mathematics in not more than two sitting in SSCE or GCE.
NB those with higher certificate(s) are considered in terms of age limit
The Vocation Director,
Fathers of Jesus the Saviour
P.O. Box 48, Elele, Rivers State
- Elele Community, Port-Harcourt Diocese, Rivers State.
- Ugwuoba Novitiate Community, Awka Diocese, Enugu State.
- Emmanuel Community, Enugu Diocese, Enugu State.
- Isienu Student’s Community, Nsukka Diocese, Enugu State.
- Caritas University Community, Amorji-Nike, Enugu Diocese, Enugu State.
- Madonna University Community Okija, Nnewi Diocese, Anambra State.
- Madonna University Community, Akpugo Campus, Enugu State.
- Saviourite Scholasticate (House of Formation), Enugu Diocese, Enugu State.
- St. Paul’s Catholic Parish Mbulu Owehe, Nike Enugu Diocese, Enugu State.
Very Rev. Fr. Franklin Ezeorah
St. Paul’s Catholic Parish Mbulu-Owehe, Nike
Enugu Diocese, Enugu State
Phone N0: +2348037446358
Very Rev. Fr. Jude Nzeakor
The Catholic Prayer Ministry Elele, Rivers State
Phone N0: +2348063803067
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Fr. Emeka Ezenwajiaku,
The Catholic Prayer Ministry Elele, Rivers State
Phone N0: +2348035473783
Email Address: email@example.com
Rev. Alexander Marykolbe Umenze
Saviourite House of Formation, Trans-Ekulu, New G.R.A
Enugu Diocese, Enugu State
Phone No: +2348060199093
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Fr. Oliver Udaya
The Catholic Prayer Ministry Elele, Rivers State
Email Address: email@example.com
COMMITTEES AND THEIR MEMBERS
Rev. Fr. Jude Nzeakor Rev. Fr. Francis Nwakile
Rev. Linus Opurum Emedolu Cyracus
Ugwuoke Emmanuel Umechukwu George
Odoviro Davison Nginga Isaac
Rev. Fr. Udaya Oliver Rev. Fr. Obiora Paul
Rev. Fr. Okorie Elias Rev. Alexander Umenze
Rev. Idah Patrick Nwachukwu Francis
Odoh Peter Anoliefo Johnpaul
Rev. Martins Uche Onuh Charles
Onwurah Christopher Mama Thaddeus
Ejini Edison Innocent Mama
Eneja Benjamin Okoro John Kyrian
Very Rev. Fr. Franklin Ezeorah
HOUSES OF FORMATION
Postulate House = Elele, Port-Harcourt Diocese
Novitiate House = Ugwuoba, Awka Diocese
Saviourite Scholasticate = (Theology and Philosophy) House of Formation, Trans-Ekulu Enugu Diocese
Theology House = Spiritan International School of Theology Attakwu (Enugu Diocese).
Philosophy House = Spiritan School Philosophy, Isienu Nsukka Diocese