NIGERIA, Michael Okpala •
The dream of a multi-purpose hall all began with a humble desire. Through the Blessed Mother’s active presence in our shrine, the number of those who attend Sunday masses in our community grew day by day. Now we have no less than 100 people who attend mass in our community every Sunday as well as for weekday masses and other events. We see it as the handiwork of our Blessed Mother, the Victorious Queen.
At the inception of this humble desire, its feasibility appeared impossible. We did not have the required funds to build such an edifice. The economic instability in the country heightened, the price of things on the market skyrocketed, and to make things worse, the country’s political instability became annoyingly pronounced. All these realities made us almost give up considering the fulfillment of this dream. But we never relented; we were convinced of the Blessed Mother’s love for us. We consciously heard her say to us: “Do not worry about the fulfillment of your desires, only show me that you love me, and bring me your contributions to the capital of grace.”
Slowly but surely, the Blessed Mother opened doors for us. We got some help from two different organizations abroad, and from some generous donors. We saw this as a manifold expression of the Blessed Mother’s love for us. And with this, work commenced. Fr. Klaus Desch acted as the architect and engineer. He guided and directed the work daily till it almost reached the final stage. Then he had to return to Germany, and there ended his 20 years of life and work in Nigeria. Many thanks, our dear Fr. Klaus. When Fr. Klaus left, Fr. Kingsley Okereke continued to guide and supervise the work until the end.
The foundation for the building of the multi-purpose hall began to be laid on 6 March 2017, and then, on April 9th, this new edifice’s foundation was blessed.
What’s in a name?
At the completion of this new multi-purpose hall on 27 September 2017, the Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin, came and blessed the new building officially opening it to the glory of God.
I personally marveled at the joy expressed by the brothers. Everyone loved the new hall, and now, with the growing number of worshippers, we can now have our Sunday masses and other major events in the new hall as it has a capacity of 350– 400 people. We are grateful and we are happy. Above all, we see the hand of God in it with the hall coming just at the beginning of the year of Fr. Kentenich. Originally we thought of blessing and opening the hall on the 15th of September, the beginning day of the Fr. Kentenich year. However due to some practical reasons, it did not work. Hence the 27th of September became the blessing and opening day. However this did not make us change our mind about the name given to the multi-purpose hall: the hall is dedicated to our Father and Founder; it is Fr. Kentenich Hall.
Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA