History of the Parish
God's Love, Grace and Blessings... we thank you Lord for these 25 Years!
First, we wish to thank God for the journey so far as one family; a family of love, unity, peace and grace. We have modelled our pathway after the Holy Family of Nazareth; of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. And we pray that our family would be like theirs. It has been 25 long years and we are happy to celebrate this unique milestone. As we celebrate our history, we remember the devoted Catholics who initiated the gathering of Catholic faithful and sought for a place of worship in Life Camp; we remember those whose tireless and unrelentless effort over the years is responsible for what we enjoy today; and we also celebrate those who have joined our family to ensure that we have something to celebrate tomorrow as one family. May God bless us all for this show of love, perseverance in character and sacrifice, and our desire to be part of this wonderful family.
The Official Date and Naming of Holy Family Catholic Church
The early Catholic community here was initially called St. Jude Parish and it had met all the conditions set by the Archbishop of Abuja to become a parish, but it had no parish Priest. The year was 1994, this was during the time when federal ministries and civil servants were relocating to Abuja. A lot of construction work was going on in Abuja and camps of construction companies were situated at this part of Abuja – hence the name “Life Camp”. The archdiocese made the call for missionaries to assist in the creation and pastoring of parishes in Abuja and the African Society Missionary (SMA) sent Rev. Fr. Tomas Walsh, who was then in Lagos.
In 1994, Rev. Fr. Tomas Walsh became the first Parish Priest and galvanized the activities for what we enjoy today. His experience and capacity to source for funds set the parish off in the right direction. He was also responsible for the naming of the parish as Holy Family. The “Holy Family” was chosen firstly because of the mood of the Universal Church when the approved site of the parish was blessed. The year was declared as the “Year of the Family” by the United Nations. Secondly, it was notably a time when many families being displaced from Lagos were struggling to find accommodation as well as get a place of worship in Abuja. Today, on the feast of the Holy Family, we remember and celebrate those who have given their time, finances, effort to erecting a befitting structure for the community to worship God.
The Pastors, Activities and Growth of the Parish
Many SMA priests came after Fr. Tomas Walsh (1994 – 2005) to consolidate the effort in supporting the spiritual and physical growth and development of the parish. Rev. Fr. Nelson Adjei Bediako (2006 – 2007 came briefly to pastor the parish. After him was Rev. Fr. Narcisse Seka Ogou (2007 – 2013) who worked tirelessly to grow the parish till he handed the baton to Rev. Fr. Patrick Kwis (2013 – 2015). In 2015, Rev. Fr. Anthony Olaniyan became the parish priest and he is currently contributing to the spiritual and physical growth of the parish. In all, the parish has been blessed with dedicated and hardworking pastors; and may God bless them and the works of their hands as they find fulfillment in their service to God and man.
The parish priests do have other members of the clergy to thank for the great strides they have achieved. Firstly, we have the associate priests and who supported in the pastoral works of the parish. They are Rev. Fr. Aoden Mc Crystal (2001-2005), Rev. Fr. Mc Kenna (2005-2006), Rev. Fr. Anicent Senganabi (2007-2009, Rev. Fr. Raj 2009-2016, Rev. Fr. Habib Akpata (2016-2018) and Rev. Fr. Armand Mayumbu Maku (2017 to date) – all SMA priests. In a special way, we also thank all the Seminarians and priests who have in one way or the other have been part of our worship, our activities and our growth. On this note, we appreciate the SMA congregation and community; the Holy Family parish is proud of this congregation and we appreciate them for their role in the growth and development of the parish.
The Holy Family Nursery and Primary School
The activities and growth of the parish would not be complete without mentioning the support of the Our Lady of Apostles congregation. Their sisters have been responsible for assisting in sacraments and other parish activities. Their remarkable contribution can be seen in the Holy Family Nursery and Primary school. Though initiated in 1997 but it commenced in September 22nd 2000. The school is one of the evidences of growth and development in the parish. The number of staff and students have grown tremendously as the school continues to contribute to the total (spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, emotional and physical) development of the pupils/students, our children in the parish. The school is a constant pride of the parish. The current management of the school is; Fr. Anthony Olaniyan (SMA), the Administrator – Sr. Pauline Giaya (OLA), the Head Teacher – Mrs.Peace Edokwa, Mrs. Mercy Offorkaja.
The Parish Clinic
We are also thankful to record tremendous growth in the provision of medical support to parishioners. Our parish clinic was set up by Fr. Tomas Walsh in 1996 as a port of call for First Aid treatment to the construction workers that constructed the church building, which today is the parish clinic. Its operation is chiefly possible due to the benevolence and support of the parish, some benefactors and selfless workers. As at now, the clinic charges 30% of the cost of drugs issued to patients to meet the ever-increasing cost of running the clinic. It is also a port of call to the school children. We are proud to say that the clinic is wearing a new look with modern equipment and a conducive environment. It is currently being managed by the health committee of the parish, chaired by Dr. Victor Moghalu.
The laity is not left out in the exponential growth and advancement of the parish. During the course of history, many pious societies have been formed, many parish groups, associations, organization and committees have come together to fashion the buzz of activities of the parish. Notably, are the parish cultural activities which denotes our unity regardless of the several tribes, tongues and ethnic associations. Our children, the future of tomorrow, are also being engaged in laity functions. They form the children’s ministry of the parish, a wonder to behold. It is important to note that the parish laity, both those in Abuja or in Diaspora have continued to record increase in population and has continuously encouraged the expansion of the parish. This has given birth to the out stations and the mass centres
Mass Centre and Out Stations
We are happy to announce that through the efforts of the parish and its parishioners in surrounding estates and Basic Christian Communities (BCC) of the parish, we have been able to start up Mass Centres and/or Out Stations. One of such is St. Felix Mass Centre in Kingstown Estate which had its inaugural Mass in 2014. Another is St. Louis Out Station in Global EFAB Estate. This sprouted from the Global EFAB Catholic Community (or BCC) in 2017 and started its activities as an Out Station in 2018. Its first Sunday mass in January 2018 recorded 78 parishioners which has now grown to over 200 dedicated worshippers. And the recent development in the parish is another effort of an enthusiastic Basic Christian Community: St. Josephine Bakhita, Kafe – Life Camp. Sunday Mass activities commenced in December 2019 and the centre is gradually growing. In all we give thanks to God for the expansion and growth of the parish. We pray that God would sustain and bless the efforts of these centres and Out Stations to reach the full capacity of a wonderful Parishes, and one day celebrate their history. Amen!
We would like to make it unequivocally clear that our future is in God’s hands. However, we have our hopes and aspirations for the future and we are working towards it, hoping that God would guide us and perfect our work. Most evident is the construction of our Parish Civic Centre that commenced in 2018. The Civic Centre would house the Holy Family Nursery and Primary School and give the parish the opportunity to restructure and reposition itself to further serve our community. There is so much that can be achieved, in the next five years we see more out stations to add to the current number. We hope to extend the services of the Holy Family School to provide a Secondary School; We plan to consolidate on what we have on the clinic to establish a quality health centre that fully provide health needs to the community.
Our Humble Summation
It is utterly impossible to fully compile the activities of 25 long years into one brief write up like this. In truth, this brief captured history does not do justice to the all the experiences and activities of the parish within the course of its history. It has not also attempted to compile the names and roles of all the men, women, committees and organisations who gave their time, talent and treasures to what we celebrate today. History would not be kind to us If we do not mention a few names – (some of whom are late): Cardinal Ekandem, Mr. Boniface Okorie, Rev. Fr. Anthony Onyeso, Rev. Fr. Dominic E. Inyang, Mr. Charles Onwuka, Mr. Michael Ofuoma, Mr. Francis Orjiakor, Mr. Christopher Kanyank, Mrs. Kate Okoro, Engr. Mike Nwoye, Mr. Joseph Anyanwu, Sister Ann Okere, Sister Elizabeth Biang, Sir Peter Aliu, Mrs. Christy Ugbodaga, Mr. Stanley Stockhausen, Rev. Fr. Jooji, Rev, Fr. Fabian Essien, Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah, Rev. Fr, Patrick Ukpan, Rev. Fr. Mc Guiness (SPS), Mr. Hugo Flinn, PW Construction Ltd., the church council members, the building committee members, and all the parish pastoral committee members of the parish till date. May your reward be great in heaven!
We started by thanking God for the journey so far and we conclude by thanking God for his mercies, graces and acknowledging what we have been able to achieve through him. God made it possible! Furthermore, we appreciate the SMA congregation who has been part of our joys, celebrations and history. Our gratitude also goes out to the Reverend Sisters who have participated in our sacraments and parish activities. In a special way, we remember friends of the parish, you have in one way or the other immensely supported us and added meaning to our work of faith and love. We heartily thank every parishioner who has been part of this spiritual body of Christ, a part of Holy Family. We recognize your spiritual, financial and material contributions; we attest to your active participation home and abroad and your continuous show of love and commitment to ensure that our family is one like the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. God bless us all, Amen!
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