Comboni Lay Missionaries

Pastoral service at Gborxoxome and Fiave-sanyi stations

It was a great joy when our Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Steven Avinu assigned me to start a new station at Gborxoxome. The faithful there were already well organized under the Mother Station St. Anthony of Ave-Afiadenyigba. Gborxoxome is some kilometers away from my residence, I moved in with a motor.

The service started with the Celebration of the Word this 6th December, 2020 which I presided. Just after the service, we nominated some leaders to run temporarily the business of the station. With Comboni spirit, it was necessary to engage and prepare some native as catechists with whom I can collaborate. Currently, the catechists are well equipped due to also the training organized at diocesan and parish levels. We share the services and weeks: a team in charge of the sick, projects and Seva (another station) visitation, another team in charge of evangelization and recollection. We carried out an evangelizing activity during which we proclaimed the Good News at Kpota (a nearby village) from house to house.

Other service was to visit the sick and aged brothers and sisters. With God’s grace, the Deacon Godsway Alato (currently priest) helped by taking the Holy Communion to some of the sick. Later, the Acolyte Elikem Akakpo was sent to the station for five weeks pastoral. He continued paying visit to the sick and aged, shared the Word of God with them and distributed the Holy Communion to those who were prepared. On the 28th October 2021, at the Feast of Sts. Jude and Simon, Rev. Fr. Avinu administered the Sacrament of Baptism to 22 faithfuls among which 10 received the First Communion. On the 8th October 2022, Bishop Gabriel Kumordji, SVD (Bishop of the diocese) during his annual pastoral visit to Parishes, paid a visit to our station. On the 9th October, ten (10) of our children were confirmed.

The station has its program of spirituality and liturgical celebrations: Wednesdays and Fridays at 6am, we have celebration of the Word. Second Fridays of the month at 5pm, we meditate on the Way of Cross. During Advent and Lenten seasons, we have recollection which many of the faithfuls attend. Vocational and missionary promotion is carried out sometimes during liturgical celebrations. Three of the catechists (we are five in all at the station), witnessed our promise as CLM on the 10th October last year. I was also selected at the Parish Council Meeting to be a member of Justice and Peace Commission.

Some months ago, the current Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Harry Barawusu asked me to start preparing some faithful at a new station of Fiave-Sanyi, villages located at some kilometers away from me. A catechist of Xevi, Catechist Linsford Atikpo accompanied me to the place to meet some members and plan for the start of the station. The first liturgical celebration took place on the 27th November, 2022 which was attended by about ten people, children and adults included. Catechist John Agbalekpor, collaborator of Catechist Linsford, replaced me at the station during the Assembly in Benin. Back from the Assembly, services on the two stations, St. Michael of Gborxoxome and Fiave -Sanyi, continued.

I must say, the service at Sanyi is a bit challenging. The faithful are currently either old or kids. Some are irregular at gatherings. I must take the readings and tune up the songs alone. I invited an active member of Xevi, Mad. Matilda to assist for a while. Soon, another one will help me, Sarah Gogo. But with all this challenge, the words of our Founder sound again in my ears: “Great works begin and grow at the foot of the Cross” so I will not stop. Also with the help of Catechist John, we are planning some pastoral activities to revive the station. Two faithfuls are mostly in my heart: Mary and Stephen, two blind persons who are always ready to attend gatherings. Sister Mary is even very good at singing. We must accompany them to our gatherings by carrying them on motor or walking with them. Acolyte David Tay went to the station for the Ceremony of the Imposition of ash and Rev. Fr. Harry for the sacramental celebration of Confession this year. Per the pastoral Program of the Parish, the Parish Priest should be at Sanyi on the 3rd September where he could baptize.

Slowly but surely, the two stations which I serve are growing with the help of each other. May the Lord “give us the clear vision of what we should do, the strength and the means to accomplish it“.

Justin, CLM.

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