Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
There are five Nigerian sisters of the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ Missionary working in a religious house in Kildare. The sisters are there as a part of Kildare Bishop Moriarty�s diocesan renewal plan and will minister to the local Nigerian community of 3,000 and to young and lapsed Irish as well.
Their Order was founded by Holy Ghost Order missionary, Archbishop Heerey, who was from County Cavan. This was at a time when Irish missionaries were at the height of their work from 1900 to the 1950s. Sister Marilyn Umannakwee, the Superior, said �The Irish brought us the faith and now we are here, but not to bring the faith. We are here to share it." The sisters will teach catechism and attend to the spiritual and corporal needs of the people they minister to.
Bishop Moriarty said that the idea to invite the nuns reflected the Irish tradition of Irish priests and nuns working with the Irish abroad. Even if vocations were flourishing in Ireland, Bishop Moriarty said that he would have invited the nuns to minister their Nigerians fellows, who are accustomed to an African type of Mass that includes music and dancing. Bishop Moriarty said he is looking for a Nigerian priest to say Mass in the more lively liturgy enjoyed by the Nigerian Catholics.