The Spirit of Christmas around the World
“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” “Dashing through the snow…” Our HVM Sisters in Nigerian may sing these songs though they have never seen snow (except on TV). There is no need for them to don winter coasts, gloves and boots. The Christmas season is the hottest season of the year in Abuja, Nigeria. But the spirit of Christmas fills the air.
The Nigerian Sisters make the house sparkling clean, creatively decorate and make ready the Formation Center for a gathering of all the HVM Sisters.
The Sisters gather in Gwagwalada, our HVM Nigerian home, for singing, laughter, small gift sharing and a delicious festive meal together. The Christmas spirit is also alive at the diocesan gathering of priests and Sisters of the diocese at a Mass with the Cardinal followed by meeting, greeting and eating and a specially wrapped gift.
The Christmas spirit comes to life as the Sisters participate with the parishioners at Midnight Mass in their respective parishes. There is splendid décor of lights and draping cloth, the joyous singing led by the choir and ending with the visit to a simple crib. At the crib everyone dabs powder on their face, a common custom when visiting the home of a newborn baby.
The coming of the Three Kings reminds us “all nations bow down in adoration.” There is a feeling of oneness around the world and here at home in Detroit. The wonder that the Word of God emptied himself and became part of the human family as a tiny baby, Jesus!
May the peace, joy and awe of the spirit of Christmas abide in you and your family at Christmas and through the New Year.
Merry Christmas and all the blessings of the New Year!
Sr. Barbara, HVM
Sr. Barbara lived the past seventeen years in Nigeria and is now living most of the year in Detroit.
Other HVM Happenings in 2017:
The chapel in Gwagwalada formation house is built!
Sr. Chioma took lst vows on Sept. 2nd and now teaches at Little Angels School in Ichama. Photo of Happy First Communicants at Little Angels School.
Three women entered the religious congregation as candidates at the formation center in Gwagwalada. They started theology studies, serve as catechists and began the journey into praying, serving and living as religious women in the spirit of the HVM community. Photo of Patricia, Magdalen and Rita making commitment in newly blessed HVM chapel at Gwagwalada Formation House.
Sr. Nnedfreke opened vocational training center at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria parish for young men and women in the young population that often cannot find employment. Photo from Vocational Training Center off and running under direction of Sr. Nndefreke.
Mary’s Little Flowers: The Nigerian Home Visitors of Mary continue the HVM mission “anointed by the Spirit to bring good news to the poor.” Lk 4:18. Five years ago they published a culturally sensitive religion text book. This year Sr. Martha Mary, a full time student at the Catholic University in Abuja and director of faith formation at a parish, created, published and began distribution of the Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary Bimonthly Catholic Children Publication. The booklets are called: Mary’s Little Flowers.
A colorful, attractive, hands-on presentation of our Sunday Scripture readings that not only form the children of Nigeria but enter the home and touch the entire family. Your financial help will put these impressive booklets into many more hands.
“Today people are still searching for Jesus and the star we have today that leads us to Jesus is the Bible. We find the way to Jesus by reading the bible and doing what His word ask us to do.” Words Taken from Mary’s Little Flowers
Refugees Welcomed: Sr. Barbara and other HVMs visit with internally displaced adults and children at a town near Gwagwalada that had welcomed into their community refugees who had fled to “camps”. Because of the violence experienced in Nigeria, for the last few years, people made there way to Abuja, seeking safety. May we be ones with a Welcoming Spirit -especially as we welcome the Child born in a stable.
We give Thanks to all who support with their gifts of money and prayer the HVM Nigerian Mission.