In the evening of Tuesday, 24th March 1908 (the eve of the Annunciation), at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Como, our Founder, Saint Luigi Guanella achieved a great milestone when he and his first disciples pronounced the simple perpetual vows. Don Nino Minetti, describing that day said: “God in his mercy lighted up the dawn of a new day also for us, as two thousand years before, he had lighted up for the world the dawn of the blessed and salvific day of the Incarnation”. (Cf. The Vows of 1908 in the Memory of the Servants of Charity, Como, June 7, 2008).
One hundred and twelve years later after the enactment of the great milestone by Saint Luigi Guanella, we could still hear strongly the resounding of the same words of Don Nino Minetti in our minds. On Monday, 6th July 2020 God actually lighted up the dawn of a new day in the history of our Congregation in Africa as we witnessed the beautiful celebration that ushered three of our brothers BAYA Joseph Vangu, LIKITA Philimon Neophe and PATRICK Valentine Chidozie definitively into the family of the Servants of Charity. On this day, they professed publicly to be obedient, chaste and poor for the rest of their lives according to the Constitutions of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity. The Eucharistic celebration which took place at St. Luke’s Chaplaincy, University College Hospital, Ibadan, was presided over by the Superior of the Vice Province, Rev. Fr. Kelechi Maduforo, who also received their vows. The occasion was attended by some Priests and Religious of the Archdiocese of Ibadan, few members of the families of the brothers, our confreres and some members of the Guanellian Youth Movement who constituted the choir.
During the Eucharistic celebration, the homilist Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Johnson (the Secretary of the Vice Province) enjoined the brothers to give themselves totally to God. By the final vows, the brothers are telling us that they are ready to listen to God and do as the Lord asks them to do. They are expected to live in filial surrender to God and in evangelical compassion for the poor to whom they called to love. According to him, the brothers should be ready to live love, drink love and die for love because as our Constitutions stipulates: Everything we do has Charity at the centre. On his part, the Superior of the Vice Province, in his good will message to the Newly Professed, reminded them that they have demonstrated to the people that they have an identity and that their life experience should be a confirmation of that identity.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Rector of the Theological Seminary of Ibadan, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Baridi Putonor expressed his gratitude to all who were present despite the effects of the global pandemic. He particularly thanked Joseph, Philimon and Valentine for accepting to offer themselves totally and definitively to God for the service of the poor. He equally showed his appreciation to the parents who supported the choice and decision of their sons to be Guanellians for the rest of their lives. The end of the Eucharistic celebration paved way for a group photograph and lunch with the family members of the newly Perpetually Professed at our Community, during which there was the cutting of the cake in their honour.