St. Rita’s Catholic Church is located in Unity Estate Mararaba, which was then part of the larger Nimco Estate, Mararaba-Gurku, Nasarawa State. Formerly an outstation of St. John of the Cross Parish, Mararaba, the Church started in October, 2002 through the instrumentality of Bro. John Egbebor Awori , the then Catechist of the mother Parish and with the blessing of the then Parish Priest and current Prior Provincial of the Augustinian Order in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Kangyep (OSA).
Having made the acquaintance of some members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Group and a few Catholic faithful, and with the permission of the then Parish Priest, Catechist John Awori, on Sunday, 13th October, 2002, conducted the first Church service in the premises of one Mr. Michael Onunkwor, whom till date continues to be one of the worshippers in the Church.
The service was attended by seventeen (17) adults and five (5) children. The adults were mostly members of the Catholic Charismatic renewal Group from the then St. John’s Parish Mararaba. For five weeks the Sunday services, all conducted by Catechist Awori, were held in Mr. Onunkwor’s House. Thereafter, on November 24, 2002, the first Holy Mass by the Church was celebrated by Fr. Hyacinth Kangyep in the same premises. Nineteen (19) communicants received the Holy Communion during that Historic Mass.
Naming the Church
The name, St. Rita, was arrived at through a democratic process. In the course of the first Holy Mass, the Parish Priest had put the question as to what was to be the name of the fledgling Church, to which a member whose name was Rita immediately responded: St. Rita, to the applause of all present. The Church thereafter became known as St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Nimco Estate, Mararaba on 24th November, 2002.
Erection of a Temporary Place of Worship
Six weeks after the commencement of the Church, one of the pioneer members of the young Church, who later became the first Church Council Chairman, Mr. Greg Orhungul, availed the Church of his piece of land, which was centrally located, for the construction of a temporary place of worship, pending when the Church would acquire its own land.
Movement to the Permanent Site:
With the great support and guidance of the Augustinians, the Church, which was now increasing in population, In 2008, acquired ten (10) plots of land in recently Christened Unity Estate, part of the larger Nimco Estate, along Old Karu Road, Mararaba and built another temporary structure. The movement to the new site took place with great fanfare on Palm Sunday in 2008, with a procession of the congregation from the old site to the new site.
Strategic Plan, 2010-2015
In 2010, members of the Church developed and adopted a five-year strategic plan to guide its spiritual and physical development (attached). The Plan encapsulated its Vision and Mission Statements as well as its Core Values. After a SWOT Analysis, it identified six (6) Strategic Objectives and related activities with timelines to achieve these objectives. Some of these objectives have, to date, been achieved.
The Strategic Plan put the timeline for the building of the Priest’s residence at between January 2012 and January 2013. However, with the announcement of making the Church an independent mission, it was reasoned that this be front-loaded. The ground breaking and foundation laying ceremony was thus conducted amidst great pomp and circumstance by the Parish Priest, Father Emmanuel Patrick, on Sunday, December 12, 2010.
The Strategic Plan also put the timeline for building the permanent Church Building at between October 2010 and February 2015. However, with the channelling of resources to the building of the more urgent Priest’s residence, action on this has been stalled. The current Church building is a temporary structure, which, in the meantime, can be said to be serving its purpose.
Pious Societies and Communities in the Church
Thriving Societies and Communities in the Church include the following:
- Catholic Men organization of Nigeria (CMO)
- Catholic Women Organization (CWO)
- Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON)
- Holy Trinity Igbo Catholic Community
- Saints Peter and Paul Idoma Catholic Community
- Augustine Tiv Catholic Community
- Monica Middle Belt/Northern Catholic Community
- Francis South South Catholic Community
- All Saints Igala Catholic Community
- Michael Yoruba Catholic Community
- Patrick Edo/Delta Catholic Community
- Altar knights Association
- Catholic lectors of Nigeria (CLAN)
- Michael Church Warden Association
- Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN)
- Pious Union of Saint Rita
- Society of Saint Vincent De Paul (St. Rita Conference)
- Legion of Mary/Block Rosary
- Our Lady Queen of all Hearts
- Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Saint Monica Widows Association
- Blessed Fr. Tansi Iwene Movement
- Fr. Mbaka Adoration Ministry
- Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC)
- Central Choir, St. Rita Independent Mission
- Angelic Voices Choir
- Saint Kizito’s Youth Choir
- Saint Anthony of Padua
- Devotees of Divine Mercy
- Jude Thaddeus Society
- Mother of Good Counsel
Parish Priests till Date
The Church has enjoyed the unequalled leadership of five Parish Priests, supported by a team of Priests. The names of the Parish Priests are:
- Fr. Hyacinth Kangyep (OSA)
- Fr. Emmanuel Oramah (OSA)
- Fr. Peter Medugu (OSA)
- Fr. John Okoro (OSA)
- Fr. Emmanuel Patrick (OSA)
- Creation of standing Committees: In order to spread, involve and mobilize our members so that we would realize our set objectives, the Council created and worked with the following Standing Committees:-
- Special Project Sub-Committee (SPC)
- Maintenance Sub-Committee (MC)
- Security Sub-Committee (SC)
- Welfare Sub-Committee (WC)
- Pilgrimage Sub-Committee (PC)
- Saint Rita Special Committee SSC)
- Finance Sub-Committee (FC)
- Liturgical Sub-Committee (LC)
Functions of these Sub-Committees were clearly defined and the Sub-Committees were charged with the responsibility of assisting the Council in the implementation of her programme.
PROJECTS EXECUTED: Since its inception in 2002 till date the following projects has been executed by the church:-
- Purchase of permanent Church Land 2008
- Building of a Temporary place of worship 2008
- Fencing of the Church premises 2010
- Building of the Security Post 2010
- Building of the Church rest room 2011
- Building of the Culvert (entrance) 2011
- Fixing of Entrance/ Exit gates 2011
viii. Sinking of Bole hole / over head tank 2011
- Production of Altar boys Vestments 2011
- Production of Lay Readers vestments 2011
- Building of Rev. Father’s residence (started in 2011 )
The details of the money expended in these projects are with the Council Secretariat.
Projects on pipeline: The following Projects are on the pipeline:-
- Sponsoring of a Parishioner to Jerusalem pilgrimage: As one of the objective of the Church strategic action plan, we intend to sponsor at list one person to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. Launching towards this was step down last year to allow us focus on the completion of the father’s house. Fund raising tickets towards this has been printed and sold out to Parishioners.
- Production of Choir uniform: we intend to sow robs for our Choir.
Finance: The financial Strength and Statement of Accounts is attached herewith.
Properties of the Church: A comprehensive inventory of the Church Properties taken and attached. Also attached is the list of the current Council members and the Standing Committees members.
- Population of the Church as at the last count 05/02/12
- Children 209
- Adults 694
- Number Baptised: 567
- Number Confirmed: 251
- Number Receiving Holy Communion: 255 on average
- Number married in the Church: 198