One thing I ask of the Lord. This I long to dwell in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life.
One thing I ask of the Lord. This I long to dwell in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life.
My Dear Friend,
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
On behalf of the Prior Provincial of the Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph the Worker, Nigeria and Ghana, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Ogedengbe, O.P., my Dominican brothers, and the entire members of the Society for Vocation Support, I write to thank you for all the support you have given to the Formation Program of the Dominicans through the Society for Vocation Support.
The office of the directorate of Vocations and the Society for Vocation Support has given me great opportunity to interact with young men who aspire to join the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) and with men and women of goodwill, who have responded to God’s call to make the great sacrifice of sponsoring the Dominican brothers under formation. From these interactions, I have come to realize that many people who support us and consciously go the extra mile in identifying with the mission entrusted to us by Christ through our Blessed Father St. Dominic, do not have sufficient knowledge of who we are (as Dominicans) and what our mission, especially in relation to SVS, entails. It is in this light that I undertake to write and share the following with you.
The Order of Preachers (OP) is one of the major religious orders in the Catholic Church founded by St. Dominic and approved by Pope Innocent III in 1216. The Order was specifically founded for PREACHING AND SALVATION OF SOULS. Members of the Order are popularly known as Dominicans (followers of Dominic), after St. Dominic, the founder. Dominicans are present in every continent of the world, and many countries in Africa. The Order arrived in Nigeria in 1951 and since then has established a formation house in Ibadan where young Dominicans are trained for the religious life and priesthood.
As already mentioned, they are in every continent in the world and many countries in Africa. The only Dominican Province in Africa is that of St. Joseph the Worker, Nigeria, and Ghana. The province, with over 140 brothers, has communities at St. Dominic’s Yaba, (Lagos State), St. Jude, Mafoluku (Lagos State), St. Patricks, Agbor-Obi (Delta State), Our Lady of Fatima, Gusau (Zamfara State), St. Albert the Great, Obosi, Onitsha (Anambra State), All Saints, Oyigbo (Rivers State), St. Anthony, Bremang (Suame-Kumasi. Ghana) and the formation house of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ibadan, (Oyo State).
Besides the three vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity, the Order places great stress on a study in an atmosphere of prayer. Dominicans must be very competent in scripture and theology, as well as being versed in philosophy and the ideas prevalent in the world if their preaching is to be relevant. That is why, since St. Dominic founded the order in 1216, it has led the way in University education, either in their own schools or Universities or by occupying chairs in other Universities. One of the Order’s illustrious sons, St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., is the patron of Catholic education. Popes, time and again have called on all Catholics, but particularly on the Dominicans, to develop the intellectual heritage of St. Thomas Aquinas, in dialogue with our own time and place. The dedicated Dominican, steeped in study and prayer, is capable of addressing the problem not only of educated people but also of reaching the hearts and minds of simple people, whether by preaching from the pulpit, hearing confessions, teaching, writing books or articles or through radio, television and internet outreach and personal contact.
Of course, an applicant must be a baptized and confirmed communicant and have at least five (5) credits, including English and Mathematics, required for University entrance. But he must also demonstrate a quality of education quite superior to what is prevalent in Nigeria, and be familiar with Church teaching and the ideas influencing people in our society today. He must be able to give clear answers in good English (as well as communicate in other languages). Besides, he must be of good character and health, responsible, and of good reputation among those who know him well. These requirements are daunting and only a limited number of applicants can be accepted.
By their vow of obedience, Dominicans live as brothers in the community. They own nothing personally and do what they are assigned to do, whether public preaching or working behind the scene. They have a community apostolate and not a personal one. Whether by doing house maintenance or by saying Mass, they are all contributing to the enterprise of preaching. For you to be a fulfilled Dominican Priest, you must be at the same time and foremost a Dominican brother who desires to live in a community with the brothers, work in the community and strive for the progress of the community. Besides Dominican priests, there are Dominican lay brothers. These undergo the same training as candidates for the priesthood but contribute to the work of preaching and saving souls by other services other than the ministry of the priesthood. Very often their important work is hidden and unapplauded. But sometimes it is very visible, as when they initiate or manage publications, book stores, clinics, schools, internet facilities, and other social development programs. Whether seen or unseen, the important thing is that they work in the community and for God.
The then Dominican Vice-Province of Nigeria became a Province in 1993- a status that is the first of its kind in the African Continent in the history of the Order. This status implies autonomy in economic and policy management especially as the province no longer gets support from the mother province in the USA. The maintenance of our students in formation, whose number continued to grow over the years, has consequently left the Province with huge financial responsibilities. It is important to note here that it takes 10 to 11 years to train a Dominican student up to ordination and only a few out of the huge number of applications received annually are eventually admitted. This is a direct consequence of limited funds. In an attempt to address these financial difficulties, we have met with, and written to some funding agencies (in Europe and America) who responded initially but as time went on they stopped their aid to us asking us to raise funds locally to meet our need for the popular reason that Nigeria is the RICHEST NATION IN AFRICA.
The society for Vocations Support (SVS) fully came to birth in 1999 as an arm of the St. Jude Apostolate strictly for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker (Nigeria and Ghana), with the primary objective of soliciting financial assistance for the training of Dominican Students. The membership of this Society is open to all (Catholics and Non-Catholics and Even Muslims who believe in the Spirit and Objective of SVS). The Society exists in the Following areas or Units: Benin City, St. Dominic Yaba, St. Jude Mafoluku, and St. Paul’s Parish, Oyigbo, (Rivers state). Apart from the regular/active members of SVS who engage in monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly meetings, other members, depending on the prevailing condition, fall within the categories of partners, friends, and benefactors of SVS.
The Province admits currently a maximum of 15 fresh students annually owing to the rising cost of the basic needs of the students such as food, healthcare, clothing, shelter, and books. The training of a student till ordination is at a minimum cost of N500,000.00 annually.:
This may be a huge sum of money for some, but we appreciate whatever any man or woman of goodwill has to offer. So we have created further opportunities for anyone who wishes to help subsidize the training of our Dominican students as follows:
|For full sponsorship of a Dominican Brother for 1 year||=N= 500,000|
|i. To support a Dominican Student for one year||=N= 100,000|
|ii. To support a Dominican Student for 6 Months||=N= 50,000|
|iii. To Support a Dominican Student for 3 Months||=N= 25,000|
|iv. To Support a Dominican Student for 1 Month||=N= 12,500|
|v. To Support a Dominican Student for 1 week||=N= 5,000|
|vi. To Support a Dominican Student with any Amount||=N= 100, N500, N1000 etc.|
Our Account Details are: 1022725067 UBA; 1014264882 ZENITH; 1100041257 PETRA
Please call: +234706-225-2651, 0803-374-0935
Cheque (in favor of SOCIETY FOR VOCATION SUPPORT) or Cash can be paid in the SVS Office, Dempsey House, St. Dominic's Catholic Church, 356 Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, Lagos.
Furthermore, realizing that our financial and material needs continue to increase, due to the increasing demand of our preaching mission. We need to re-strategize and articulate an organized and enduring response to our problems. If we must live beyond mere basic daily survival and rise to the challenge of the numerous demands of the Dominican preaching mandate, we cannot but make a prophetic leap into a future of financial stability. We need to have viable financial income-yielding investments from which we can support our various needs as they relate to training future preachers and evangelizers.
For this reason, we have initiated the PROJECT VOCATION SUPPORT NETWORK-1000. In the first phase of this project, we plan to raise one thousand (1000) persons who will give us a minimum of fifty thousand Naira (N50,000.00) (i.e. $312.50). Thus we hope to raise about fifty million Naira (N50,000,000.00) (i.e. $312,500.00) which will be kept in the Vocation Support Trust Fund and invested. Everyone who identifies with SVS is encouraged to connect friends and family members to this NETWORK OF GOD. Even if someone can give as much as N1000 monthly to support this NETWORK, it will go a long way to help build it up someday. We firmly believe that this new initiative and the generous support of men and women of goodwill will mark the beginning of a brighter future for our mission.
Apart from the above Project, the Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Worker Nigeria and Ghana, realizing the need and the challenge of Spiritual and Intellectual Formation facing us as a nation, is responding by beginning to upgrade her Dominican Institute to a DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY. This effort is geared towards providing our youth, especially the Catholics, a sound and holistic education. In addition to this, the province is also embarking on building THE DOMINICAN RETREAT CENTRE, to further serve the spiritual needs of our people.
I thereby ask for your renewed efforts in Prayers and more support for the training of our future Preachers. The Lord himself will sow His seed of greatness in you and your family. I pray that the Risen Christ, whom you partner with in this SVS VENTURE, will fill you and your family with the light of His Glory.
Thank you and God Bless.