The Holy Family Catholic, Festac Town, Lagos: The Church you will love to worship
The Church is quite a big organization abounding with social gifts that are necessary for the growth of man in his Festac Town environment and beyond. It is also an organization that builds hope and develops the future of its worshippers having been administered by god-fearing priests who have the knack for development, touching the lives of the devoted worshippers in the church. It is indeed one church uniquely different from churches and it takes its numerous advantages from its immediate area of location being Festac Town, one of the largest estates in West Africa.
The origin of the Holy Family Catholic Church, Festac Town can be traced to the 1977 movements of early settlers into Festac town at the completion of the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) ceremony hosted in the country in the same year. The early residents of the estate were mainly Catholics who needed a place of worship. The requests of these residents to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) the sole administrators of the estate yielded the desired results when in the same year; they were allocated with a piece of land at the 22 Road present location. It is fascinating to note that the early worshipper began worshipping in a make-shift structure around the site until the recent structure was completed.
This church is now a multi-purpose building housing a hospital with up-to-date facilities and wards, conference halls, library, book-shops, church offices, a youth-development centre etc. It is strategically located along 22 Road considered to be the heart of the town very close to the Post-Office, Nigerian Telecommunication (NITEL) building, Water works, Local Government Council which can be accessed from behind, Power Holding Company building, and lots of shops. The church is therefore centrally located in the commercial heart of the town.
It has been pointed out that the strength of the church lies in its effective organization carried out by a team of learned individuals and personalities many of who strive to make it an envy of other churches around which indeed it is. The various youth organizations have also been a source of potency to the church that has educated, enlightened and well-thoughtful youths as members. The church is also the most populous church in Festac Town with quite a lot of out-stations in and around the town.
The Holy Family Catholic Church is a parish with some of its out-stations scattered around the town and can be found on 6th Avenue, 7th Avenue, 1st Avenue, 23 Road (by 402 Road) etc. Many of these out-stations are still under construction and the parish is doing all within its means to ensure that they are completed within a reasonable time.
The parish has also had some well-respected priests in the past who invested their competence into bringing it to its present admirable condition today. Many of these priests still visit the church and proffers constructive and practical advice that have always been to the favour to the church, offering it the opportunity for continuous growth. This makes it a spiritual home as well as a social organization.
The New Jerusalem arm of the Charismatic Movement of the church with many of its societies such as Evangelical, Greeters etc has also been a foundation of the spiritual growth of the church, helping in no small way to make the church one big family with lovely and united branches. This Charismatic organization was until it was banned and reopened for membership considered one of the most potent in the world of Catholic churches in Lagos State. At the moment, it is undergoing the process of re-development.
Another feature of the Rev. Sisters and members of staff found in the church office is the amiable and warmth nature always coming from them. It is this wonderful and distinctive trait of attending to the members of the church that endear them to the callers at large. The church is indeed a blessing to the generality of its Festac Town worshippers and beyond.
The church could also offer a useful help to individuals getting married in the church. Although the marriage class usually offered them runs for six months which critics believe extensively takes away half of the one year of the marriage arrangement of couple-to-be, the marriage course still relevantly offers its attendants what is needed to make them live as happy couples. Facilitators of the program are quite learned and full of experiences as it relates to the institution of marriage, which is considered one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith.
The path to wedding in the church goes with an acceptable norm, instilling the would-be-couples with proper counseling and coaching that remind them that marriage requires personal self commitments and that it is an institution ordained by the Almighty God who wishes that it never ends in divorce. A non member of the church who wishes consummation of his wedding in the church may be required to attend a catechism class, which will lead to his baptism if he is yet to do so, and eventually his confirmation as these processes will enable him receive his first holy communion before his marriage. It is after these processes have been completed; with marriage banns effectively taken care of that such wedding can take place in the church. The 6 months marriage course is also mandatory.
Holy family Catholic Church is not all for those wishing to get married as there are open numerous societies open for singles alike. These societies are too numerous to mention and will be treated in my next article, however, what is necessary here for proper understanding is that it is a structure that takes care of the young and old alike.
The various choirs of the church with awe-inspiring tones and voices are also huge gifts to the church that is not lacking in youth membership. Outstandingly, the 8.00am adult mass at the upper hall of the church is a force to reckon with. This explains why even children and youths do not overlook attending the service. The sonorous and well-coordinated choir often gloriously thrills worshippers and put them in worship mood. Whether African or hymns, it touches the minds of the people who always want more. The 6.15 am is also great and replete with praise-singing voices.
Of great note is the social contribution of the church to charity. Some of the societies of the church support the widows and widowers, help the poor by making available to them clothing, food-stuff, monies, drugs etc. The charity arms of the church also take frequent trips to prisons, carrying out humanitarian works and helping them to give their lives to God with success.
Emeka Esogbue is a Nigerian and writes from Lagos.