Holy Family Fathers and Brothers of The Youth located in Ubahu Okija, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria, West Africa is a home for men of goodwill, where Priests and Professed Brothers live. A home where love, peace, unity and trust for one another reigns. Our home is a community of Religious Men where caring for one another is given uppermost priority it is a home of deep serenity, communion and intimate encounter with Christ Jesus, “the divine master”; a home of vocations and discernment in union with the Holy Spirit; a home of intellectual, human, spiritual growth and pastoral formation. As the scripture says, “behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity” (Cf. Psalm 133). Just as Christ told his disciples to pray without season that they do not fall into temptation (Cf. Mathew 26:41), our home (generelate) is a home where the theological virtues of hope, faith and love intermingle.
Our home is a home for the youth (Youth Apostolate), where every youth is given hope and smile, where every youth is given a sense of belonging, where no one takes away your right, respect and value,
The Holy Family Fathers and Brothers of the Youth (HFFBY) is an indigenous Nigerian Religious Congregation for men founded 11th February 2003, by Very Rev. Fr. Denis Mary Joseph Ononuju Obiaga CSSp (founder of the Holy Family Sisters of the Needy). It is located in the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi with Most Rev. Dr. Hilary P.O. Okeke as the Principal Bishop.
One of the most demanding tasks of life of a religious is to be a founder. This is in line with the very words of the Father Founder himself in one of his addresses to his seminarians. He said that “the price of founding a genuine Religious Institute is one’s life blood.” The love of God and getting everybody to love God is his greatest desire that gave rise to his motto at ordination: “O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting” (Psalm 62:1).
Apart from other missions and pastoral works in the Church, our Apostolate is basically Youths Apostolate. In this Apostolate, we help in the rehabilitation of vulnerable youths who have taken to crimes, drugs and alcohol, and other delinquent practices through counseling, psychotherapies and medical/psychiatric services as the case may be. Since poverty, idleness and joblessness are some causes of these, the Institute intends to establish Skill Acquisition and Social Centers to train and equally offer jobs and employments to the youth. To inculcate in them the dignity of human labour as an honest means of sustenance, we intend to engage them in agricultural practices – poultry farming, piggery, fish farms, cash crop farming, etc.
To catch these youth young before they are exposed to dangers, our Congregation intend to establish Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions where moral values and qualitative education would be offered to them.
After approval from the Principal Bishop on the 6th of September, 2002, the Father Founder wasted no time in creating awareness of the young foundation by gathering interested young boys with zealous love for God and His work. The Institute had its first interview on 25th November, 2002 at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Parish Umuohi, Okija. Over 50 candidates were there for the interview. At the end however, only 15 were successful in the interview. The successful candidates reported to begin their religious and priestly formation on the 11th of February, 2003, the feast of our Lady of Lourdes, at the family compound of our Father Founder in Umuohi Okija.
Later, they were conveyed to the house of Sir and Lady C.C. Ifebuzor KSJ (late). They graciously offered the Seminary a place in their compound to start, since the young foundation has not gotten a place of its own formation residence. The foundation lived in that house for approximately two years. The first and second sets of the Institute did their Postulate in that same place with the Father Founder who started with the first set, while Fr. Romanus Ochemba, CSSp came in the second year. In 2005, the Institute relocated to their own house of formation at the then Christ the King Station Ubahu, Okija. It was there that the first set began their Novitiate program in 2005 with the Father Founder as the Novice Director.
The Institute had the first religious profession in June 21, 2006 with six candidates. After Fr.RomanusOchemba left in 2010, we had another Postulant Formatorin the person of Rev. Fr. Clement Attah, V.C., Who actually stayed for five years and left in 2015.
The Institute at the moment has 31 Priests, 1 Deacon, 18 Theology Students, 24 Philosophy Students,8 candidates for Deaconate, 10 graduates of Philosophy on long apostolic work, 3 Novices and 14 Postulants.
Currently, our Priests are working in many parts of the world. We are currently in Nnewi and Abakaliki Dioceses in Nigeria, Mamfe and Kumba Dioceses in Cameroon, and the Diocese of Lancaster, United Kingdom.
How good it seems that a journey that started some 15 years back is in such a progressive stage. Indeed, God is at work here!