February 2 & 3, 2018
Father Flavio Pereira, CM arrived in Nigeria. Reverend Father Basil Okoro, CM who is the Regional Coordinator of the Vincentian Family in Lagos, and the Dean of Ikorodu Diocese, and Brother Sylvester Asabotale Ojubiaja, Esq., received him. They immediately headed for the Vincentian House at Owode, Fr. Basil’s official residence.
The Daughters of Charity (Hospital Ministry at Ikorodu)
Fr. Flavio, Fr. Basil and Bro. Sylvester went to the Daughters of Charity at their station in Ikorodu where their hospital is located. They met four of the Daughters. They toured the hospital facilities. The Daughters admitted that SSVP have been of immense help to them. Later, they went to the Daughter’s farm, where they have a fish pond, poultry and a cassava farm.
Visit to St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council (Ikorodu)
The next stop was at St. Augustine Parish, Ikorodu, where they met members of SSVP Deanery officers (made up of the conference presidents of different parishes). They were very receptive. Fr. Flavio encouraged them to continue their good work with a view to ensuring better collaboration with the other arms of the Vincentian Family. They were greatly encouraged by the visit, and promised to collaborate much more than ever before.
February 4 & 5 2018
Attendance of Local SSVP Conference (Meeting at Good Shepherd)
They attended mass at The Good Shepherd Parish, Owode, our host, Rev. Fr. Basil Okoro CM’s parish. The mass was co-celebrated by Fr. Flavio and Fr. Augustine. At the end of mass, Fr. Flavio was introduced to the parishioners, who were thrilled to have him in their midst. Thereafter, they attended SSVP’s local conference meeting.
Visit to Christ the King Catholic Church, CKC, (Akowojo, Lagos)
In the afternoon, we proceeded to Christ the King Catholic Church, Akowonjo, Lagos for a meeting with the executives of the Vincentian Family. The CM, SSVP, VMY, AIC, and AMM were in attendance. The DC were absent with apology. The interactions were especially robust. And from the evidence on the ground, Lagos Vincentian Family is very strong. The Family has already agreed to establish a common project, a skill acquisition center. Fr. Flavio told them about the opportunities that we have as a Vincentian family, and that he could help secure sponsorship if the right procedure is followed.
The Archbishop of Lagos
They visited the Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins. This was done in the company of Fr. Basil and members of the Vincentian Family. The Archbishop promised to continue to support the Family.
CM Miraculous Medal National Shrine
After the courtesy call on His Grace, the team proceeded to Otta, a neighboring State to visit the Congregation of the Mission’s Miraculous Medal National Shrine. Fr. Flavio once again reiterated the need for the Family to make their activities known by publishing on the website of the Vincentian Family Office.
February 6, 2018
Vincentian Retreat Center (Ojodu, Lagos State)
This retreat center is a setup of the Vincentian Priests (CM), purposely for prayers. At this center, they met with the leadership of AIC in Lagos, Lady Christy Oronsaye, and other members of the Vincentian Family.
Ozanam House (Lagos)
The team of Vincentians visited the Ozanam House managed by the Daughters of Charity and supported by the Society of St. Vincent De Paul. This house admits teenage girls who are either pregnant, abused or homeless. The center trains the girls to cater, sew, style hair, and sends the very intelligent to school. The house also serves as a transit camp. The primary objective is to trace the girl’s families through the help of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul. Mass is celebrated at the center and the majority of them accept the faith and are baptized.
St. Stabina Hospital
This facility is managed by the Daughters of Charity and it belongs to the Archdiocese of Lagos. They have three permanent Daughters and two on transit. They take care of children with disabilities and are engaged in a lot of pastoral work. The hospital services include; maternity, dental care, an eye clinic and general practice. The Daughters have been able to gather the young ones in that environ (5 – 18-years-old) as little friends of the Daughters of Charity.
February 7, 2018
Abeokuta Central Council of SSVP
The team made up of Fr. Flavio, members of St. Vincent De Paul, AIC and Bro. Sylvester, left for Abeokua to the welcoming arms of SSVP Abeokuta Central Council and their Spiritual Advised, who represented the Bishop. After some discussion, they went to the SSVP project in Lala. Our visit to the Lagos Vincentian Province was quite revealing. They showed that they were very well prepared for the visitation. Our experiences with this region displayed the Vincentian spirit most strongly. They were concerned of our well-being at every occasion. In Lagos, there is much openness to the local church, sharing with different Pastor’s ecclesial moments. The Catholic Men and the Catholic Women Organizations were very cordial and acknowledged the works of Vincentians in this region and pledged their continued support.
Feb 8 – 11, 2018
Fr. Flavio and Bro. Sylvester left Lagos by flight to Benin City on February 8, 2018 to the warm embrace of Vincentians in Benin City. A large number of members of mostly St. Vincent de Paul members, received them at the airport.
Visit to St. Teresa’s Conference
They went to St. Teresa Parish, Ewah Road, Benin City to attend their conference, and met with members of the Benin Central Council Executive, later in the evening. They had wonderful deliberations, met with clients and took group photographs. Fr. Flavio was notably impressed with the work the Conference is doing. Fr. Flavio also promised to help with twinning in the US, as most of the Conferences in Benin City are not twinned.
February 9, 2018
Visits to the St. Paul Conference (Dialysis Center, etc.)
They took a tour of the St. Paul Conference of SSVP facilities. The Dialysis Health Center was singlehandedly built by the Conference. This includes a building occupying a large expanse of land. They also have most of the equipment in place. These include; three dialysis machines, water treatment equipment installations, air-conditioning, blood bank, etc. The Center’s purpose is to serve the poor who need dialysis and cannot afford the cost.
St. Paul Mercy Home & Lock-up Stores
They also visited St. Paul Mercy Home. Those who have nowhere to stay are housed and fed there. They are also on a monthly allowance for their upkeep. The home produces deodorants marketed by the inmates, and earns a percentage of the profit. Their next visit was to their lock-up Stores, rented out to generate income for the conference. Some of their clientele are beneficiaries of the stores. Fr. Flavio could not help but appreciate the cordiality between members of the Family and the hierarchy of the Church. Fr. Flavio was accommodated by a Diocesan Priest, Very Rev. Fr. Edwin Omorogbe, the Dean of the Archdiocese of Benin. It is worthy to note that the Spiritual Adviser of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Benin City, Rev. Fr. Pascal Omono, who also represented the Archbishop, was with us throughout these visits.
St. Peter Home for the Poor
The team visited the St. Peter Conference Home for the Poor. It is a beautiful edifice, well-furnished, but they have not taken in any inmates because of management problems. They were advised to collaborate with the Daughters of Charity to help them with management of the facility. They also need help and were advised to write for publication with photographs.
Their next visit was to the Daughters of Charity at their Shelter. They currently manage the anti-trafficking body, headquartered in Benin City. The body was set up by the Sisters Religious of Nigeria. The body is known as the Committee for the Support of the Dignity of Women (Cosudow) and they collaborate with IOM, Slave No More, etc. to contain trafficking of young women by traffickers. They do this by organizing seminars, public awareness in schools, local villages, and churches who are more vulnerable. They help returnees by rehabilitating and then reintegrating them through the support of the aforementioned organization and others like it. Bro. Sylvester is a board member of this body. They were told that there is a branch of the Vincentian Family who are working in the same area, and that they could work together.
February 10, 2018
Visit to St. Vincent De Paul House Project
The team of Vincentians left to visit St. Vincent De Paul House project, which was started during my administration as the President of St. Vincent De Paul, Benin Central Council. The project is a multi-purpose building, for those on transit, a home for the aged, an orphanage, clinic, skill acquisition center and a multi-purpose hall. Fr. Flavio was most impressed with this project and suggested it could fit in into the Homeless Alliance project.
The team left the St. Vincent De Paul site to Ossiomo Leprosarium, managed by the Daughters of Charity, and was warmly received. A tour of the affected masters was undertaken and the stark reality of the effect of the disease was seen firsthand. The Daughters, in collaboration with others, have been able to do much to alleviate their suffering.
February 11, 2018
They rounded up their trip to Benin City and its environs. Fr. Flavio joined Fr. Pascal Omono, the Spiritual Adviser of St. Vincent De Paul, Benin City and also the Rector of St. Paul Minor Seminary to co-celebrate a Holy Mass at the Minor Seminary Chapel. There were Vincentians in attendance. At the end of the mass, questions were asked and answered.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 Jn 4:16