Brother Charles Ukwe, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana, blessed and formally opened the temporary novitiate house of the Province, on January 15, 2016, in the Priory of St. Paul, Oyigbo, River State. The relocation of the novitiate from St. Thomas Aquinas' Priory, Ibadan to another place, has, for a long time, been a major priority for the Province. The capitulars of the last Elective Provincial Chapter, 2013, reiterated this priority, and the Master of the Order, Brother Bruno Cadoré, in his canonical visitation report to the Province in December 2014 gave a timeline for this relocation. This is now done. Brother Clement Uzoenyi,O.P., Provincial secretary speaks of this historical event.

The ceremony began at 10am with the Eucharist celebration officiated by the Prior Provincial. Several people attended the celebration, including, Brother Felix Emeka Nnabuchi, the Master of Novices, members of the Priory of St. Paul, brothers from other communities, the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, some other sisters, the Dominican Young Heart Movement (DYHM), members of the Parish Pastoral Council of St. Paul's Parish, Oyigbo, members of the Society for Vocation Support and some parishioners.

The blessing and the opening of the house took place immediately after Mass. In his exhortation during the blessing, among other things, the Provincial reminded all present that the novitiate is a foundational and intensive spiritual phase in the life of the novices as they aspire to become Dominicans. He asked that the novices should not be distracted from doing exactly this.

The first generation of this new novitiate relocated has thirteen (13) novices. Ten (10) are from the Province of St. Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana: Joshua Abuh, Jude Akpobasa, Magnus Anyiam, Jonah Ari, Emmanuel Duru, Victor Mgbemwelu, Christian Nwakamma, Donald Obi, Chrysogonus Okwenna and Anthony Oluoha. The three others belong to the Provincial Vicariate of Equatorial Africa: Nicodemus Maimo Bello (Cameroon), Livelor Fotsing Zambou (Cameroon) and Crepin Ngananam-Dekoy (Central African Republic). The temporary novitiate which has now been formally opened has eight rooms, a suite for the Master of Novices, a recreation room, a kitchen and a classroom.

It was indeed an epoch-making ceremony for the Province of St. Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana. And this novitiate is very special in many ways, because it takes place during the Jubilee of 800 years of the confirmation of the Order of Preachers, 40 years of the Inter-Africa (IAOP) and the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Bro. Clement Uzoanya, OP
Provincial Secretary
(15 January 2016)