A special children’s celebration

The Feast of the Holy Innocents is one of the important feasts that Catholic children in Nigeria always look forward to celebrating. The Diocese of Oyo is one of the dioceses that sees this feast as a means of enlightening and strengthening children in their faith, bearing in mind that they can make small sacrifices for the love of Jesus. On Thursday 28 December 2023, the deanery of Ogbomosho, where many Daughters of the Holy Spirit work with children both in schools and in local churches, celebrated this feast in a very meaningful way. This year it was celebrated at St Anne’s Catholic Church, Ogbomosho, and brought the children together under the auspices of the Holy Childhood Association. The Mass was concelebrated by four priests from the deanery: the Dean, Reverend Father Samson Ojo, the host priest, Reverend Father Francis Oladiipo, Reverend Father Augustine Olayiwola and Reverend Father Anthony-Mary Fashola. A large number of children were present, including some DHS sisters and a sister from the congregation of the University Sisters of the Assumption

To ensure that the children participated fully in the celebration of the Eucharist, they were given liturgical duties such as the first reading, the responsorial psalm and the prayer of the faithful. They also took part in the singing.

In his homily, Reverend Father Augustine Olayiwola explained the feast in simple language, making it easier for children to understand. Linking the homily to the Gospel of Matthew, he invited them to strive to please God by loving one another… Using a few examples, the children were able to list the bad behaviours they need to get rid of in life and those they need to embrace to please God.

After the celebration, the children had another opportunity to demonstrate their talents by taking part in quiz competitions answering general questions about the morals, tradition and faith of the Church: the answers they gave showed that they had learned a lot from the celebration… And they received some wonderful gifts.

The children were delighted to be surrounded by priests, nuns and lay faithful from the deanery. Now we’re looking forward to a new year!

By Sister Lucy Aurelius, DHS.  Published on 30 December 2023