The Family of St. Sharbel Port Harcourt 1 is a young and vibrant community in Nigeria that was founded on October 3, 2021.
Just a few months before, St. Sharbel, the hermit of Lebanon, was unknown to most at the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi, which is located forty-five minutes away from Port Harcourt, the Capital of Rivers State. It all began with the initiative of Brother Charles Opara to give a talk to the church. With the permission of Fr. Abel Okeke, the pastor of the parish, Opara shared about the life and times of St. Sharbel, which touched many of the parishioners deeply. With the help of religious books on the life of St. Sharbel, prayers cards, and sacramentals, devotion in the parish grew, and the Station Council soon adopted St. Sharbel as one of the church’s patrons with the permission of Fr. Okeke. Several individuals and families were moved to do the same and began adopting him as the patron of their own families.
Brother Charles Opara attributes this increasing devotion to the impelling life of St. Sharbel: “The pious life of St. Sharbel as narrated in the book became a turning point for most of us who read the book. It was awesome.”
From there, a prayer group was born and inaugurated by Fr. Okeke on October 3, 2021 taking on the name, “Family of St. Sharbel Nigeria, Port Harcourt 1.” There are currently twenty-two members who come together for prayer meetings every Sunday following mass.
There are members who have testimonies of the importance and impelling force to spread this spirituality in our current day and age, one of whom is Grace Osigweme of St. Francis Parish. After reading the life of St. Sharbel, she was so moved by his story and miracles, that she “cried out so deeply” to St. Sharbel to reveal himself to her in the spirit and use her to perform such miracles.
This community is vibrant in living out their faith and devotion in their own parish community but also in their desire to share it with others. Port Harcourt 1 is the first foundation in Nigeria and only the beginning. They have taken it upon themselves to spread this devotion and spirituality beyond their own parish with the plan of visiting other Catholic Churches in Port Harcourt to share the life of St. Sharbel and make him known. They have sought to acquire books, novenas, and booklets, as well as statues and sacramentals to distribute to individuals and families to promote this ever-growing spirituality.
Dr Paschal Omenihu
1/9/2022 03:21:52 am
I am the station council chairman of st Francis catholic church curve mirinwanyi under st Theresa's parish Afam oyigbo portharcourt river state Nigeria. The family of st charbel has come to stay in our station to the glory of God. Alot of individuals and families has experienced different miracles since our adoption of st charbel as out station patron and family too. Thanks to brother Charles opara and our parish priest Rev father Abel okeke cssp
1/12/2022 09:32:35 am
Thank you. May St. Sharbel keep interceding for you all & may God bless you.
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