Brief History of the Young Catholic Students (YCS) In Nigeria

By Chinaecherem Efobi

Awka Diocesan Young Catholic Students (YCS), on Friday 2nd August 2019, celebrated the existence of YCS in Nigeria in a grand style at Tansi International College Awka. School Run presents to our readers and students, a brief history of the Association in Nigeria.

The Young Catholic Students (YCS) as an international organization was founded by a Belgian priest, who is now a cardinal -Rev. Fr. Joseph Cardjin in Laoken, Belgium in 1927. The YCS as a movement came into Nigeria in 1959, through the instrumentally of Mrs. Freda O’ Mahoney [Mrs Ogunade], with the help of Most Rev. Edmund Fitzgibbon [SMA] of the blessed memory, the then Bishop of Warri Diocese. YCS of Nigeria was first introduced in the Nigeria tertiary institutions and was then spread across other English speaking West African Countries.

This movement was formerly known as Young Christian Students, but was renamed Young Catholic Students in 1982 especially in West African countries. The YCS operates on the methodology of SEE, JUDGE & ACT, with its motto as: To bring students to Christ and Christ to students.

This YCS methodology of See, Judge and Act, offers a lot of beautiful ideas especially the students and youths in general, whose present situation have been presented with a bizarre picture as leaders of tomorrow. Its conscientious application by the youths will help them to imbibe the virtue of civility, so as to fight corruption and other societal ills bedeviling our country. The 60th anniversary is an opportunity for YCSers to re-examine their lives and activities, to know whether they are still in tandem with the aims and objectives the father founder established.

History was made in Catholic Diocese of Awka in 1978, when late Rev. Fr. Columba Chukwuebuka Ife established YCS. The first Diocesan election was organized at St. Paul’s Teachers Training College Awka which saw the emergence of Mr. Okoye and Mr. Alexius Onyeneke as diocesan President and Secretary respectively.

The YCS Awka Diocese has achieved a lot and still continues to make progress. Those achievements could not have been made without the efforts of the chaplains, both past and present. Chronologically, the first Diocesan Principal Chaplain was late Rev. Fr. Columba Ife, with Rev. Frs. Martin Mmadueke and Clement Obianozie as assistant chaplains. Others were; late Rev. Fr. Dr. Geofisher Onyebuchi, Rev. Fr. John Uchebo, Most Rev. P.C Ezeokafor with Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Chudume assisting and also serving as Provincial Chaplain. Included are Rev. Fr. Dr. Joseph Nwanna, Rev. Fr. Dr. Cosmas Ebebe and currently Rev. Fr. Chidi Jude Ozumba, who is also the Provincial Chaplain of YCS Onitsha Ecclesiastical province, with Rev. Fr. Celestine Anaekwe as the assistant chaplain. Sr. Stella Nworji {HHCJS}was the Religious Assistant and worked with Rev. Frs. Joseph Nwanna, Cosmas Ebebe and Chidi Jude Ozumba.

YCS representatives marching up the Altar during thanksgiving
Bishop Ezeokafor blesses the YCSers
A cross section of the YCS participants at the Mass
The YCS Choir in action at the anniversary Mass

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