The 10th day of December 2005 was a sad day: 60 priceless Jewels of our sister school – Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja – and of our society died in Sosoliso plane crash. 14 years later, on Tuesday 10 December 2019, students, staff and parents of our school – Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt – came together to remember the 60 Angels.
Our school chapel was a sight to behold in the morning of the memorial. The altar was beautifully decorated in purple, the liturgical colour of the Advent season. At 9:45 am, students and staff were already in the chapel, waiting for the memorial Mass to begin at 10:00 am. The students, seated according to their classes, were mostly quiet until the entrance procession began. The silence was replaced with murmurs when the chief celebrant came into view. Behind the cross bearer, acolytes, our dear principal and the acting president, Fr Christopher Amaubosi, CSSp, was spotted as they all approached the altar. Everyone was surprised at the presence of the principal of Bishop Okoye Spiritan Secondary School (BOSSS), Oyigbo. During his homily, Fr Christopher explained his relationship with some of the 60 Angels. He said that he was the parish priest of 13 of them. Six BOSSS students accompanied their principal to JMC.
The atmosphere of the Mass was solemn. Emeh Mary-Jane (SS 2) proclaimed the First Reading from the Book of Isaiah, and the principal of JMC, Fr Ese Ehwerherume, SJ, proclaimed the Gospel Reading from Matthew. The number of students who said the Prayer of the Faithful surprised the rest of the congregation: there were many who prayed for the repose of the souls of the 60 Angels. The 60 Angels deserve that, of course.
The memorial procession, which is the second part of the memorial ceremony, took place before the final blessing and dismissal from the Mass. Members of the Student Representative Council went to the sanctuary. After lighting candles, each on behalf of his/her class, in memory of the 60 Angels, they led their respective classes to the Hope Circle. The procession was orderly and in total silence. The ceremony ended with our school song: “We bear within us Hope Reborn”.
We believe that hope is indeed reborn. The death of our 60 Angels is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of a story, our story as a school and students.
Nwana Ifechukwu, Class of 2021
Okuboyejo Oreoluwa, Class of 2022