NIGERIA, Michael Okpala with Maria Fischer •
“Victorious Mother” is the title of a brand new CD offered by the Schoenstatt Fathers in Nigeria with songs reflecting the vibrant life of this young Schoenstatt Family. Ever wanted to know how “I trust your might” sounds in Nigeria? Well, here it is… Or how we renew the Covenant of Love in Yoruba? Listen…
Concerning the music
The Schoenstatt Students’ house special choir was a fruit of Fr. Juan Pablo’s short stay as Delegate Superior in Nigeria. He instituted the special choir in the students’ house as a special body of choristers. They represent the student community in competitions, events, choral outings and productions like this. This CD is a fruit of renowned commitment, long-tedious practices, rehearsals and sleepless nights of careful, painstaking and dutiful compositions.
They put in a lot of energy in putting these tracks together, and they came out finally with what you see. The tracks are a combination of songs sung in English, Igbo and Yoruba.
Each of these songs is both Marian-centered as well as have the honor of the Blessed Mother as its goal. However not only that these tracks were painstakingly put together, but it is a credit that although this was the first time such a thing was produced, it could still be reckoned as a great piece of music. In the production of this, Fr. Reginald Ibe (the Rector) was very instrumental with his fatherly advice, encouragement and a commendable painstaking insistence on ‘the best.’ He really did a good job. I shall now succinctly summarize each of the tracks to facilitate a better understanding:
TRACK 1: Ave Maria
This is the first track and it is basically sung in the English Language. It recognizes the Blessed Mother, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, as a great intercessor in times of dire chaos, distress, deficit (or absence) of peace, upheavals, life’s hurdles, strife, anarchy and doom that besets families, lives, Africa, and the world. This song recognizes Mary’s intercessory role and power, and implores her intercession for world peace. It also prays for priestly purity, in consonance with Schoenstatt’s Everyday Sanctity pedagogy and Covenant dictum of ‘Nothing without you, nothing without us.’
TRACK 2: Let Me Embrace Thee
This song sees Mary, Queen of Schoenstatt, as a sweet mother who draws us to herself even when we err. This fact is well suited to Schoensatt’s understanding of the Covenant of Love namely in the Covenant of Love a perfect Mary seals a covenant with an imperfect man. She seals the covenant more with us, which is why, even when we are unfaithful, she remains faithful. In fact, her faithfulness is the basis for our daily striving to be faithful. This song recognizes Mary’s maternal care and demonstrates our unreserved desire to cling to her and embrace her. She is that mother of sorrows who bore her pains trusting in Divine Providence. We want to embrace her, and thus tap from her bounteous wealth of graces and virtues.
TRACK 3: The Victory Shrine
This track has a Nigerian element. It talks about the Shrine, but particularly the Victory Shrine, which is in Nigeria. It talks about the Victory Shrine as a place of Grace, a place we revive our attachment to Mary, where we receive the graces of mission consciousness, feeling at home and inner transformation. The Blessed Mother has erected her throne in the Victory Shrine, says this song. She has further pitched her tent in the Victory Shrine; this tent is a tent of Peace and where peace radiates in effulgence.
TRACK 4: I trust your might
The song in Track 4 is an adoption and adaption of a Schoenstatt oriented prayer: “I trust your might, your kindness Oh mother dear. I do believe that you are always near; Schoenstatt Great Queen, O mother mild, I blindly trust in you and in your child.” When we are besieged by life’s difficulties, reproached for being Mary-like, beset by stormy hurdles and troubles, we stand tall and untouched by believing that Mary cares for us her children. We trust her might.
TRACK 5 Eji m gi eme onu
This song is sung in Igbo Language one of the languages spoken in Nigeria. Here, the Blessed Mother is a great and good mother, and because of this, we are proud of her. It is fitting to be proud of her because she is an ‘Ezinne’ (Good Mother), a great missionary who works wonders, a soft and kind mother, loving and radiant in splendor.
We love her and are proud of her.
TRACK 6: Speed up the fountain
This track is simply a replication of a Schoenstatt hymn often sung in Nigeria, titled- ‘Speed up the Fountain.’ It is worth quoting:
With the breath of the Spirit and grace from your Shrine, may we collaborate to accomplish with bliss, the aim we have set, we may form a strong trunk that produces wide branches with ever fresh fruits
Refrain: So speed up the fountain, let graces flow, Thrice Admirable, Queen of Schoenstatt, rooted in your shrine, let the tree grow; let the people of Sion dwell in your home.
Like Peter and Paul, may we in unity go with apostolic zeal, into the city, to bring all the people with youthful hearts, to find a home, in your Schoenstatt land.
TRACK 7 Kentenich: Father to many
This track like Track 6 is also a replication of one of the Schoenstatt hymns often sung in Nigeria, titled- ‘Kentenich: Father to many.’ It is also worth quoting:
This man brings Mary close to hearts, and he brings hearts to Mary, gives youthful hearts hope, to laugh and to strive, in daily sanctity.
Refrain: He is the Prophet, Father and Founder, who forms in the Covenant of Love. To get free and firm priestly people, with Mary our educator.
With joy he forms the new man, to build a new nation, proud of his mission, for the newest times that Christ may reign in all.
With faith in God’s providence, he leads men with knightly hearts, he loves the Church, he forms from the Shrine, where stream of Graces flow.
TRACK 8 Maria Nneoma
This song is in Igbo language. It speaks of Mary as ‘Nneoma’ (Good Mother). Because she is a good mother, her servants will never perish, hence, Servus Mariae Nunquam peribit. The Blessed Mother is honored in heaven and earth; she is the beauty of Schoenstatt and the Queen of our hearts. The song reaffirms our love for the Blessed Mother.
TRACK 9 Hail Mary
This song is a re-arrangement of a popular Schoenstatt prayer: “Hail Mary for the sake of your purity. Keep me pure in body and soul; open wide to me your heart and the heart of your son. Implore for me deep self-knowledge and the Grace to persevere and remain faithful until death. Give me souls, keep all else for yourself Amen.”
This song lauds and speaks of the Blessed Mother, mother thrice admirable Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, as most honored, Queen most blessed and the merciful mother of mercy.
TRACK 10 My Queen, my Mother… in Yoruba
This track is the last track in this series. It is simply a replication of the Consecration Prayer that we all know: ‘My Queen, My Mother…’ It is sung in Yoruba language, like Igbo language, the Yoruba language is one of the languages also spoken widely in Nigeria.
Listen to… Ave Maria
And how can one listen to the other songs?
The songs are available on a CD that can be ordered at the Father House at Mount Sion for a donation of 15 € each. The money raised with the CD will be used for the work of the Schoenstatt Fathers in Nigeria.
To order the CD, use the online donation button and leave your name and delivery address in the field “noticias” (notes).
Or write a mail to: [email protected]
Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA