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Celebrate Christmas Without Tears
Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Christ our Saviour and this is usually celebrated every 25th day of December. Prior to the celebration, a lot of preparations are often made, as people often engage in various activities to enable them have a fruitful merriment.

These preparations varies and many often characterize the month of December to be the most risky and expensive period of the year, as prices of goods and services are always on the high side, including high rate of accidents on our highways owing to a huge human traffic, as people tend to travel far and near to be with their loved ones. During this period also, many often resort to dubious activities, ranging from killings, kidnapping, arm robbery and more in other to be able to have a “memorable Christmas celebration”.

Drivers, business men and women out of desperation to make the last minute gain at the expense of buyers, hike their prices, contrary to what Christmas is meant to be, which is the celebration of love.

Worse still, a huge rate of deaths occur on our highways, as many travelers die due to carelessness on the part of drivers who often engage in over speeding and over loading of persons and goods to make quick returns leaving many families in anguish and agony.

To make Christmas celebration fruitful and worthwhile, it is important for all government agencies particularly the Federal Road safety Commission (FRCN) to raise up to their responsibilities of checkmating the activities of drivers on our roads by bringing offenders of the law to justice and ensure that all broken down vehicles on the high way are removed to avoid obstruction.

Also, The police and other security agencies must wake up and face the challenges of securing lives of citizens of this great country who are celebrating the birth of Christ.

We, as individuals should also be mindful of our actions. Spending all your year's savings in the name of Christmas is making light of the reason of Christmas. Remember there is life after Christmas. To ensure a stress free and Merry Christmas celebration without tears, let us be wise in our celebration habit. Christmas is to celebrate Christ, not a means to satisfy our selfish desires.

Wishing you happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance.
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The Catholic Priesthood Is Enough For You
HOMILY BY THE MOST REV. GABRIEL GHIEAKHOMO DUNIA, BISHOP OF THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF AUCHI ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRIESTLY ORDINATION OF EIGHT DEACONS AT THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CATHEDRAL CHURCH, AUCHI

The catholic priesthood is the most wondrous medium by which God has ever communicated and is still communicating with men and men with God. Christ is the eternal high priest in whom the Catholic priesthood is entirely constituted and by whom it was transmitted and conferred on the apostles and through the unbroken succession of the apostolic lineage has always, ever been transmitted and conferred on those who have been called and chosen.

Christ, the eternal high priest who is the PRIESTHOOD itself, is the one through whom God has spoken and communicated and is still speaking and communicating with us in our days, the last days, having spoken to our ancestors through the prophets in many and various ways in the past (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2). It is this Christ, the eternal high priest and the PRIESTHOOD through whom God has communicated to and with us when his (God's) voice resounded: “This is my son, the beloved, listen to Him.” (Mtt. 17:5)

It is this priesthood of Christ into which these eight of our brothers who have been called and chosen will hopefully be ordained today so that they can be parts of the one and only medium in and through which the intervention in favour of the salvation of men and women can rightly and fittingly be made. By ordination the power and authority of Christ “the holy one, the true, who holds the key of David who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open.”(Rev. 3:7) will be transmitted and conferred on the young men before us here and now, today.

Therefore, as your Bishop, I urge you my dear sons, never you forget what has been entrusted to you to carry with all humility, respect, love and obedience for the
salvation of your souls and that of others for whom you are ordained and commissioned. Guide your feet aright and carefully lest you fall without balance and thus separate yourself from Christ, the main tree that is the source of your life and strength. If you must be sustained in the power and authority transmitted and conferred on you today and exercise them licitly and validly too, you must remain in the Love of Christ by being obedient and respectful to the Bishop in all you say and do; for once you throw away obedience and respect which constitute your promise at ordination, your fire, whether you like it or not, which is supposed to bum for all that is good, will begin to quench and as you know, it is pointless staying with ashes once the fire is quenched. Your Bishop can and will neither deceive you nor harm you; for if he deceives or harms you, he deceives and harms himself; but if you throw obedience and respect to the winds, you deceive and harm yourself. The Bishop is a vicar of Christ, the successor of the apostles, in whom the Holy Spirit cannot and will not allow the gates of hell prevail against the church of Christ (Mtt. 16:18).

Live, ask for and do what is right, you will live, be and have all you are supposed to be and have; for Christ has asked: “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” (Mtt. 7:9-10; cf. Lk. 11:11-12).

My dear young deacons, it is your resolve to serve the Lord, in his people, with all gladness. Eat and drink what is set before you, but remember, it is only when you are sincerely welcome (Lk. 10:8). Reject all discernible baits given as gifts, yet in pretext, only to gain access into the holy of holies in order to desecrate it (cf. Lk. 10:10). Live without any anxiety over “your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.” “Do not strive for what you are to eat and what you are to drink ...“your Father knows what you need. Therefore, “strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”(Lk. 12:22, 29-31). In all circumstances, learn the secret of being content both in full stomach and empty stomach and all will be well with you. (cf. Philippians 4:11-12).

And you, my dear people of God, let us pray for our priests, they are our flesh and blood. They are called and chosen to guide us to God our creator. It is our duty to look after them in all that is right and fitting. We must not allow ourselves to be constituted into an occasion of disregard, abuse and degradation towards the priests of God; for God's wrath bums highest against those who act abominably towards his priests.

What is more, on occasions such as this, our attention must be directed to admonishing our brothers and sisters who occupy various positions of rendering services to our people and society. It is our duty to continue to warn against the evil of bribery and corruption. We receive daily from quite a number of our children who are being brutalized one way or the other. Many are made to buy employment through their nose, some, I am told, pay as much as, three hundred thousand naira before they can be considered for employment. Many pay without gaining the said employment. These kinds of actions of those who are supposed to serve the people of our nation in truth, love and justice but do the contrary, provoke the wrath of God. And as we pray, if this set of people fail to desist from their evil deeds, they are doomed to be swept away in the flood of no return. We must also pray for this set of people, especially the politicians, whom, after being assisted to occupy political positions, turn and constitute dens of cultists, armed robbers, and kidnappers against us. No one should allow his or her position of service to be used for oppression and desecration.

May the God of justice, love and peace deliver all of us from all evil and grant us the grace to live and behave aright, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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THE DOGMA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
» By Enegbuma Michael
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is one of the long-standing teachings of the Church. It is a revered dogma of the Church in which all the faithful are bound to accept. It is said to be a revealed truth handed over to the Church by the divine will.

WHAT IS A DOGMA?

According to the words of J. A. Hardon, “a dogma is a truth that the Church requires the faithful to accept as a doctrine revealed by God.” Simply put, it can be said to be a doctrine put forward by authority. In this regard, the Church as teacher and faithful custodian of divine revelation serves as the foundation for the acceptance of a doctrine as a dogma.
Furthermore, there are two basic elements that constitute a dogma. First, it is a truth immediately (formally) revealed by God in Scripture or Sacred Tradition. This revelation could be either explicit (for example, Christ's divinity) or implicit (for example, Mary's assumption). Whatever the form it takes, it must be contained either in Scripture or in the Tradition of the Church. The second element is that it is promulgated by the Church as a revealed truth. This can be done either solemnly by Papal definition or by the pronouncement of an ecumenical council. However, it is more common to have it promulgated by the Church's ordinary and universal teaching authority, the magistenum.

THE VIRGIN MARY AND THE CHURCH

The Church has from earliest times, accorded a place of honour to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, who is God. As set out in the words of the Second Vatican Council, “the Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the word of God in her heart and in her body and gave life to the word, is acknowledged and honoured as being truly the mother of God and of the redeemer.” This role of Mary in the history of humanity cannot be relegated to the background.

Mary's relationship to the Church is that of a filial nature in that she is the mother of the Church. Citing the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church in the order of grace because she gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, and the head of the body which is the Church.” Tradition evident from the Bible which points to Mary as the mother of the Church is usually taken from the Gospel of John 19:27: “Behold you mother.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOGMA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The Immaculate Conception followed an up and down course till its definition in 1854. The process shows the importance for the life of the Church in what is called “Sensus Fideliurn 'that is, the shared sense of the faithful towards certain truths of the faith not officially proclaimed by the magisterium. This situation is in conformity with the words of the fathers of the council, when they say that “the Church's faith matures and grows in its understanding of w hat has been revealed under the influence of the Spirit and through the exercise of the various charisms.”

As far back as the 2nd century, the apocryphal gospel of James included a story from popular circles about the conception of Mary by Anne, her mother far advanced in years. Many of the Church fathers are unending in their praise of her. St. Augustine's refutation of the Pelagians says that “piety demands that we recognize Mary as without sin and that for the sake of the Lord's honour Mary in no way comes under consideration with regard to sin.”

No where in the Scripture do we read in explicit terms that Mary is conceived immaculate but from the Patristic teaching that Mary is the new Eve found in St. Iranaeus, Justin Mary and Tertullian, it amounts that she must at least be equal to the first Eve in original innocence. Some of the greatest names in the history of Christian theology took side against the doctrine for reason that they fear that to say Mary was without sin was to say she was not in need of Christ as her redeemer. But the Franciscan, Dun Scotus showed that her immaculate conception in no way denies the universal redemption Jesus brought. He said that she was equally dependent on Christ, whether Christ's grace preserved her from sin (as in the Immaculate Conception) or freed her from sin (that is sanctified her in the womb). As such, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not in any way go against the need for universal redemption which Jesus came to give to the world.

THE DOGMA ITSELF

Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, published the bull “Ineffabilis Deus” in which he said that in doing so, he was satisfying the deepest desire of the Catholic world. An excerpt of the proclamation goes thus:

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary from the first moment of her conception was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin, is revealed by God and is therefore firmly and constantly to be believed by all the faithful.

From the words of the pronouncement, the people's deep intuition in faith, worship and practice led the magisterium to make a clear pronouncement and define the dogma. The main points of the dogma are that, her grace and holiness are God's gift in Christ. The saving power of Christ acts retroactively in her case. Again, we see emphasized by the phrase “Immune from all stain”, the absolute fullness of Mary's grace at her human origin. Also, it shows to all that the privilege of Mary was unique, as it singled her out from the rest of the human race.

Further analysis of the dogma may give a false impression that she was protected from daily realities, hence her holiness being static. But even the Scripture makes it clear that the holiness of Mary is an involved holiness as is attested to in the Visitation. Born into a world of sin, she opened herself to God's love, responded to God and entered into a dialogue with God. Hence, the Immaculate Conception is best understood dynamically as a growing in grace, as it is itself a grace of perfect openness to God and of perfect human response.

BIBLICAL EVIDENCES TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

There are some biblical texts that enable us to pick out Mary's immaculate state in her conception. The first text is from Gen. 3:15 which is sometimes referred to as the “protogospel”. In that text, the woman and her offspring are seen to be mortal enemies of the serpent which they eventually destroy, stamping its head. Thus, the woman is said to be the personification of good struggling against evil. Next to this are a whole series of biblical figures that the Church fathers have applied to Mary. Gen. 28:12 speaks of Jacob's ladder, while in chapter 6 of the same book; the Ark of Noah is recorded. Songs of Solomon 4:4 tells of the impregnable tower and verse 12 of the same text makes mention of the enclosed garden.

The book of the Psalms, Israel's hymns of praise does not fail to record about the Virgin, when it speaks of the shining city of God (Jesus) whose foundations are on the holy mountain (Ps. 87:1,3). In 1Kings 8:10-11, we hear of God's temple filled with the glory of the Lord. The fathers of the Church used images from the prophetic writings and other texts to celebrate Mary as well. Other biblical texts in support of the exalted role of Mary can be found in Songs of Solomon 2:10, 6:9 which speaks of the pure dove; Eccl. 42:2 has it as God's high throne, while in Ex. 25:10, she is synonymous to the “ark made holy”. Over and above all, the major symbolisms are ark, city and garden.

The New Testament does not fail to register a place of prominence to the person of Mary. The most outstanding texts of the New Testament that lays credence to this position are the angel's greetings in Lk. 1:28, where she is said to be full of grace. The next is Elizabeth's blessing in Lk. 1:48, “Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Borrowing the words of an author, “among God's creatures, Mary is viewed as one closest to God; she is God's miracle per excellence, creation come to fulfillment.”

We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary from the first moment of her conception was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin, is revealed by God and is therefore firmly and constantly to be believed by all the faithful.

From the words of the pronouncement, the people's deep intuition in faith, worship and practice led the magisterium to make a clear pronouncement and define the dogma. The main points of the dogma are that, her grace and holiness are God's gift in Christ. The saving power of Christ acts retroactively in her case. Again, we see emphasized by the phrase “Immune from all stain”, the absolute fullness of Mary's grace at her human origin. Also, it shows to all that the privilege of Mary was unique, as it singled her out from the rest of the human race.

Further analysis of the dogma may give a false impression that she was protected from daily realities, hence her holiness being static. But even the Scripture makes it clear that the holiness of Mary is an involved holiness as is attested to in the Visitation. Born into a world of sin, she opened herself to God's love, responded to God and entered into a dialogue with God. Hence, the Immaculate Conception is best understood dynamically as a growing in grace, as it is itself a grace of perfect openness to God and of perfect human response.

BIBLICAL EVIDENCES TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

There are some biblical texts that enable us to pick out Mary's immaculate state in her conception. The first text is from Gen. 3:15 which is sometimes referred to as the “protogospel”. In that text, the woman and her offspring are seen to be mortal enemies of the serpent which they eventually destroy, stamping its head. Thus, the woman is said to be the personification of good struggling against evil. Next to this are a whole series of biblical figures that the Church fathers have applied to Mary. Gen. 28:12 speaks of Jacob's ladder, while in chapter 6 of the same book; the Ark of Noah is recorded. Songs of Solomon 4:4 tells of the impregnable tower and verse 12 of the same text makes mention of the enclosed garden.

The book of the Psalms, Israel's hymns of praise does not fail to record about the Virgin, when it speaks of the shining city of God (Jesus) whose foundations are on the holy mountain (Ps. 87:1,3). In 1Kings 8:10-11, we hear of God's temple filled with the glory of the Lord. The fathers of the Church used images from the prophetic writings and other texts to celebrate Mary as well. Other biblical texts in support of the exalted role of Mary can be found in Songs of Solomon 2:10, 6:9 which speaks of the pure dove; Eccl. 42:2 has it as God's high throne, while in Ex. 25:10, she is synonymous to the “ark made holy”. Over and above all, the major symbolisms are ark, city and garden.
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Essential Rites In The Sacrament Of Confirmation
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the Sacraments that cannot be repeated because it confers a seal on the recipient. It dates back to the time of the apostles of Jesus. In order to fulfill the will of Christ, the apostles administered the sacrament of Confirmation, although not in the manner it has assumed today; however the essential aspect which is the imposition of hands has remained till date accompanied by the anointing with Chrism (Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1300).

The Apostles through the laying on of hands imparted the Holy Spirit on believers (Acts 8:17; 19:6). The laying on of hands during blessing by a priest or during confirmation and ordination by the bishop signifies the imparting of blessing or the Holy Spirit. Jesus healed the sick and blessed little children by laying hands on them (Mk 16:18). The apostles did the same through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. According to the Catechism of Pope Pius XI, Confirmation is a sacrament which gives us the Holy Ghost, imprints on our souls the mark of a soldier of Jesus Christ, and makes us perfect Christians by confirming us in faith and perfecting other virtues as well as the gifts we receive during Baptism. It is regarded as the sacrament of Christian maturity. The maturity that is referred to here is not the maturity of the body, but the maturity of faith. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, age of body does not determine the age of the soul. Even in childhood one can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: “For old age is not honoured for length of time, or measured by number of years.” Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood {(Wis 4:8-9); Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1308}. Hence, the age at which this Sacrament can be administered is the age of reason (Can 891), about the seventh year. This is also the age at which first communion as well as the sacrament of Penance can be had. This is the period at which one begins to encounter temptation. So it is proper to receive the sacrament of Confirmation to strengthen one against temptation. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, one is strengthened and confirmed for battle. For those who receive it worthily are empowered to take part in the struggle of life. Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace. It roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, Abba Father! (Rom 8:15), unites us more firmly to Christ and makes our bond with the Church more perfect; (Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1303).

Symbolism in the sacrament of Confirmation

There are some elements or symbols used in the sacraments of Confirmation. Though used in the external they depict the inner spiritual effects that are taking place. Among these elements are:

1. The sacred chrism: The sacred chrism contains olive oil and balsam. In Biblical and other ancient symbolism, oil was considered to have a healing effect (Is 1:6; Lk 10:34 ;) as well as regarded as a sign of abundance and joy (Ps 23:5; 104:15).

2. The oil of chrism signifies the abounding grace that is diffused over the soul of the recipient to strengthen him in faith; while the balsam which is a fragrant and can prevent corruption signifies that the Christian strengthened by this grace has been empowered to give forth a good odour of Christian virtue and should preserve himself from the corruption of vice.

3. The signing of the forehead: The signing of the candidate at the forehead where a sense of fear and shame begins, is to make the recipient understand that he needs not to be afraid or ashamed to profess his faith in Christ Jesus (1 Pet 3:15-17). The anointing with oil is therefore a consecration. By confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more fully in the mission of Jesus Christ and the mission of the Holy Spirit with which they are filled, so that their lives may give off the aroma of Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 1294). Through us God spreads the fragrance that comes from knowing him. We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Cor 2:14-15).

In times past the bishop would strike the cheek of the candidate by slapping the candidate slightly. This was to tell the candidate to bear insults and hardships for the sake of Christ (Mt 5:39; Lk 6:29). A Christian therefore should be ready to bear the sufferings for the sake of Christ so as to share in the gory of Christ (Rom 8:17). In union with Christ, Christian suffering has a redemptive meaning.
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WHAT IS ADVENT AND HOW CAN WE MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT?
» By Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede
The season of Advent is a period of preparation, extending over four Sundays, before Christmas. The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, meaning “to come to”, and also adventus, meaning “coming”, and refers to the coming of Christ. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

As the Holy Mother, the Church teaches, with Advent the ecclesiastical year begins and during this time, the faithful are admonished (i.) to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love, (ii.) thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, (iii.) and thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at and at the end of the world.

A great deal of the importance and significance of Advent as the season that prepares us to
receive Christ as Christmas is to be seen in the symbols of advents, especially in the arrangement of the Liturgy during this season. Here, the Church continues to stress the penitential and preparatory nature of Advent. As during Lent, priests wear purple vestments and the Gloria (“Glory to God”) is omitted during Mass. The only exception is on the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete when priests can wear rose-colored vestments. Then the prayer themes are also very significant. In the Invitatory Antiphon of the daily Divine Office, the Church calls upon all her children “to adore the Lord, the king who is to come”. And as we draw closer to Christmas, we are notified by the same antiphon that “the Lord is near at hand”, and more especially on the day before, we are called upon to accentuate our expectation and be very much ready to receive the Lord, “… Him whose glory will be seen on the morrow”.

The Catechism (cf. No. 524) stresses the two-fold meaning of this “coming”: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming”. Therefore, on one hand, the faithful reflect back and are encouraged to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's first coming into this world. We ponder again the great mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled Himself, taking on our humanity, and entered our time and space to free us from sin. On the other hand, we recall in the Creed that our Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead and that we must be ready to meet Him.

How long has this practice of observing Advent been with the Church? Very long indeed, in fact from the very beginning. After the death of Christ, the early Christians eagerly awaited the return of Jesus in glory, and as the Catechism (681,682) says, “to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil”. These prominent Scriptural theme forms the basis of our Advent season.

This goes to say that Advent goes as far back as the apostolic age of Church history. However, clearer references to its celebration date back to the 6th Century. This history is well traced by Jonathan Bennett and David Bennett on the pages of 'Church Year online' liturgical site. They rightly noted that prior to this time (6th-Century), there were celebrations and fasts resembling our current Advent season. St. Hilary of Poitiers (d. AD 367) and the Spanish Council of Saragossa (AD 380) spoke of a three-week fast before Epiphany. Pope St. Leo the Great preached many homilies about “the fast of the tenth month (i.e. December)” prior to Christmas. The Gelasian Sacramentary (AD 750) provided liturgical material for the five Sundays before Christmas as well as Wednesdays and Fridays. The Western Church eventually settled on 4 Sundays of Advent, which has the season beginning at the very end of November or the very beginning of December, starting immediately after Ordinary Time. Until the 12th century, in many geographical areas, Advent had a more festive tone, and white vestments were still occasionally used. However, Advent became more closely related to Lent as Christ's second coming became more and more a prominent Advent theme.

To emphasize the importance of Advent and to aid the faithful in a careful preparation to receive Christ at Christmas with a ready disposition, fasting and abstinence used to be a common practice during advent, hence the season is called “Little Lent”. However, over time the fast and abstinence aspect is not so much emphasized again as it is during Lent, yet the practice still goes on at it is in the Eastern Rites Church and it spans from November 15 through Christmas eve, December 24. There they abstain from meat, eggs, fish, oil and wine on most days, depending on the particular Rite of each particular Eastern Church.

As a renowned Catholic commentator and writer Scott P. Richert noted, while Roman Rite Catholics are no longer bound to fast during Advent, reviving the tradition of repentance during Advent can help us better appreciate our Christmas celebration. Pope John Paul II called on Western Catholics to learn more about the traditions of our Eastern Rite brethren; joining them, even if for only one day a week, in celebrating this committed form of advent fast is a very good way to do so.

As a matter of fact, because Advent is a period of spiritual preparation for Christmas, celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy. Every day of Advent for us should be a day of experiencing Christ in a unique way and worshipping him more fully.

During Advent, we really need to get prepared to experience the saving event of Christmas with total openness of spirit. In the poverty of the manger we must contemplate the great event of the Incarnation and let it penetrate to the depths of our being, with its power to change our life. And then, with the arrival of the great day itself, we should let Christmas evangelize us, as it did the shepherds, who readily accepted the announcement of the Savior's birth and went without delay to adore him, thus becoming the first witnesses of his presence in the world. In turn we will become witnesses to Emmanuel at the side of our every brother or sister, especially the poor and suffering.

Advent is a time therefore, to worship Christ fully through prayer and fasting. According to Pope Leo 1 (390-461 AD) almsgiving and fasting during Advent are the most essential aids to prayer. The Holy Father continues, saying: “And while all seasons are opportune for this duty, this present season is specially suitable and appropriate, at which our holy fathers, being Divinely inspired, sanctioned the Fast of the tenth month (December), that when all the ingathering of the crops was complete, we might dedicate to God our reasonable service of abstinence, and each might remember so to use his abundance as to be more abstinent in himself and more open-handed towards the poor. For forgiveness of sins is most efficaciously prayed for with almsgiving and fasting, and supplications that are winged by such aids mount swiftly to God's ears: since as it is written, 'the merciful man doeth good to his own soul', and nothing is so much a man's own as that which he spends on his neighbour. For that part of his material possessions with which he ministers to the needy, is transformed into eternal riches, and such wealth is begotten of this bountifulness as can never be diminished or in any way destroyed, for 'blessed are the merciful, for God shall have mercy on them', and He Himself shall be their chief Reward, who is the Model of His own command”.

This therefore implies that Advent is a time to give more, that is, self-giving in the love and in the service of God and neighbor. Rather than turn our attention to shopping and other material preparation for Christmas, emphasis should be laid upon this aspect of fellowship and community through prayer and sharing. When the Lord comes, he should find us ready like good servants who know what to do. And to crown it all, we should pursue peace throughout the season of Advent, by seeking and striving after peace (cf. Ps. 34:14), by being peacemakers worthy of being called the sons and daughters of God (cf. Matt. 5:9) and by praying for peace in our society and the world. This is the profound call given to all Christians in Heb. 12:14 which says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all and to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord”.

And finally, in the liturgical themes of Advent, we find a great deal of teaching on how to make the most of this blessed season. As exhortation to her children, Holy Mother the Church exhorts the faithful that, “since the Redeemer is nearer, they should cast aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; should walk honestly, as in the day, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ; she shows that the nations are called to praise the name of the Lord; she asks them to rejoice in the nearness of the Lord, so that the price of God, which surpasses all understanding, may keep their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, forgiveness, scripture reading, fellowship with our brothers and sisters, and of course, a more profound participation in the Liturgy of this season, will all together open us all to the fruits of this season, so that when we welcome Christ anew at Christmas, we may hear him saying happily to each of us, “Well done good and faithful servant (cf. Matt. 25:23), carry on the good work and remain blessed”.
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Nigeria: A Nation of 'sharing’
» By Rev. Fr. Leonard O. Anetekhai
It is often said that every reasonable human being learns from his or her failures and success and also from the failures and success of others. The same I believe is applicable to every nation that stands to right the wrongs of her past. Such lessons can be the hallmark of assessment, a yardstick for drawing the right lessons and passing it on to coming generations. But, can this be said of our dear Mother land as a nation, a nation that has turned her primary occupation to sharing the 'common goods' that belongs to all?

Today, we continue to tie ourselves in a poverty trap by the very fact that we consume every kobo we earn all in the name of allocation, allocation that end up in the hands of a few while other little nations continue to climb the ladder of wealth because they save their income for development of their own nation. At home, our leaders will always want to put their pocket first before the common good of the people; they forget the fact that the poverty of the majority is a treat to the riches of the few, and a country is only viable, if her leaders are dedicated and selfless.

Being dedicated and selfless in attitude and character we see in the reflection of the November 6, 2012 election in the United States of America (USA) between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The election was tough and close, but neither the incumbent President nor his arch-challenger, nor indeed any of their supporters, was involved in an “accident” or killed by “armed robbers” or “hired assassins”.

It was indeed an election, devoid of rancour before, during and after its conduct. It is a pity that such conduct of election is alien to Africa and Africans, and to Nigeria and Nigerians, in particular. If an election of such magnitude had been conducted in Nigeria, many Nigerians would have been metamorphosed into eternity through fake “road accidents” or are killed by assassins, and the Nigeria Police would have consigned such deaths to “armed robbery” as though deaths through armed robbery were normal deaths, which cannot or should not be investigated.

Also, we have seen the winning President, Barack Obama, graciously accepting his victory and returning back from Illinois, Chicago, to Washington DC, to continue his job of administering the United States of America. Thus far, we have not heard that the defeated opponent, Mitt Romney, has threatened fire and brimstone or to file an action at the US Supreme Court, even when it is as clear as crystal that the President has defeated him, the fact that the margin of defeat is narrow notwithstanding. This action of both contestants has revealed that democracy is beautiful when practiced by rational, public-spirited, politicians, but ugly when practiced by 'political Kleptomania' who parade themselves as leaders.

As a nation we must understand that the only pathway to progress as a people of great minds is to deviate from the attitude of it is our turn to govern, it is our turn to share the national cake believing that the bigger the cake, the larger will be each component's share of it. We must learn to bake rather than kill ourselves over sharing national cake. We must not share but produce for the future of this nation.

We are most disadvantageous today because our leaders (those in charge of power and authority) now steal more money from the treasury in the name of PET projects, buy more properties both local and international, and buy private planes and more valuable properties and vehicles in overseas countries, even when they do not need them. These individuals who acquire without reason, Sam Vaknin's in his “The Psychology of Corruption” in Malignant Self Love (1999 -2007) describes as “politicians with mild forms of mental health disorders…. They rob the state and coerce businessmen to grease their palms because it makes them feel better, it helps them to repress their mounting fears and frustrations, and to restore their psychodynamic equilibrium. These politicians and bureaucrats “let off steam” by looting”.

We have waited for years now and still we find rising unemployment rate, classrooms with potholes in some primary and secondary schools across states, poor or no good health care facilities and gross infrastructure scarcity, among others. These issues stares us in the face as we look forward to a new year, without any hope of better things to come. The world we must know is not waiting for us to put our acts together, we are fast becoming a people left behind in time and space and as such, becoming increasingly irrelevant to the civilized world, even when we pride ourselves as the giants of Africa!

This has become a point for reflection as the thought of many is clouded in the belief that indeed the country cannot march steadily to attaining a greater height in the next 50 years, if the trend of events and business of governance maintains the same rhythm and pattern as we see in the last 12 years of democratic rule. Public funds have gone down the drain because of political interest and selfishness. We are now forced to believe that the exit of military from power appears to have done little to change the psyche of the political leaders and their acolytes on the virtues of accountability and transparency and due process.

It is a pity that, many Nigerian leaders think less of their privileges when in power to better the lives of the people (not giving them peanuts as their share of the cake) instead they get so fixated in sharing and not on baking the common national cake. As we approach 2015, it is time we deform the thought process that insists on evaluating candidates for elections based on their ethnic, religious or other primitive origin. We must begin to read, listen dispassionately and ask questions on what the candidates have to offer. We must also interrogate the practicability of their ideas and their judgment of common good to salvage the deploring state of the standard of living by Nigerians.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a blessed New Year, as I pray God to always help us.
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Handling Marital Conflicts
» By Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosime
“…Even after husbands and wives have stopped arguing, the battle may still be raging within the woman's body. It can do so for hours, altering her hormone levels and weakening her immune system to the point where illness could gain a foothold…”

Marital conflicts abound even in the best marriages. To think that the absence of conflicts signals a healthy relationship or marriage is to be in a miserable illusion. In fact, a relationship without conflict is a deceptive one. This is so because, the uniqueness of the two individuals resolving to come into a union is often made manifest through conflicts. There is nothing wrong with conflicts, provided they serve a constructive purpose by improving communication and strengthening the marital bond. In marriage therefore, happiness is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it. So, to have a good marriage, is to learn skills in fighting right for your marriage. Just like certain skills need to be cultivated in a relationship to make it work and grow, in marriage, the skill of handling conflict is a necessary skill to be learnt.

There are several issues that could cause conflict in a marriage. Barrington Brennen, noted some issues that could cause conflict in marriage. Conflict triggers especially habitual ones are those which revolve round marriages that were contracted on wrong motives, like: if you felt pressured to get married, if you got married because you were lonely or frustrated, if you married someone with a totally different view about life from yours, if you got someone to fill your emotional or spiritual emptiness, if your spouse is not as intelligent as you are, etc. The reasons may advance from one to another. It is however important that conflict in marriages are not so much dependent on these issues as much as they depend on the individual that react to them. It takes an individual to react in a particular way. Also, each conflict is an agenda that is pursued. So, once, one could decipher the agenda that is pursued. Incidentally, most of the times, rather than think it is our partner who is wrong, it may often be the reverse, a failure to understand the “shortcoming” of your partner. Nevertheless, conflicts in marriages generally arise and/or fall under four kinds: Faults and weaknesses, unintended emotional injury, preferences, sin.

Conflicts from weaknesses/faults are the most common. This often comes up when our spouse fails to meet our demand or a set behaviour we expect of them. Obviously, our demands from them may be the right thing but at a point in time may be beyond their capacity or simply uncharitable or inappropriate to do so. This conflict comes up to sometimes because, unconsciously, we want to change our spouse into us. But should that happen, the friendship loses its dynamism and beauty.

Conflicts of unintended emotional injury often oscillate around misunderstanding. This is often a situation when a partner does something to the other unintentionally without the former seeing it from that perspective. At this point, each person thinks he is right. Very often, repressed experiences from one's childhood are underlying causes of why such triggers conflict. For instance, a wife that was neglected by her father and so any slight by her husband takes her back emotionally. Now, the other partner would imagine why such an issue has opened up such a magnitude of conflict. While the wife may be claiming right, the husband may be too. The battle over such conflicts just may continue, on and on.

The third kind of conflict is a case of preferences. This point is over our individual choices and options with life. While an outgoing person may find it comfortable making friends and being socially acceptable, the withdrawn or recluse partner may find this a problem, because it is a problem for him or her. This conflict arises from the fact that we often think that there is only one way to think about a particular thing and so anything outside of this may just be wrong. Conflicts from preferences equally come up, when we project our fears and weaknesses on our spouses and sometimes act based on presumption that they would have acted in a certain manner, which may not necessarily be so, because we may act in that manner granted the same circumstances. Conflicts from preferences arise too, when we want our spouses to be what we think they should be.

Another kind of conflict is one from sin. When a spouse sins, he can certainly seem like an enemy. The conflict comes when we seem to castigate our partner in a manner to make him/her look worthless. Conflict arises often, when the other partner puts on I'm-better-than-you attitude. Even though, a partner has been offended, it often is not a licence for condemnation for the other partner. We often enter into the sin, we are castigating. We have the option to live peaceably with our spouse when he/she sins and the option to take a war. But the former, while it does not translate to overlooking the sin, it would amount to reducing conflict, especially when we show compassion, knowing, we are liable to fall in the same manner, granted the same circumstances.

How spouses are able to handle issues of the kinds discussed above tells whether we could minimize cracks in the family or allow them to ruin the peace of the home. Conflicts have different effects on the spouses. Conflicts in the home are more likely to affect the woman more than the man, even when they have been resolved. Conflicts sometimes may even degenerate to ill feelings, inferiority complex, despair, discouragement, aggression, hatred, resentment, hostility and sometimes illness in the woman. The way we handle the problems, more than the problems themselves often can be the problem. Thus, couples need a strong conflict resolution skill to sustain a family and grow happiness in the home and between spouses. Once conflicts are not properly handled, they could sometimes lead to marriage break up.

When conflicts happen in marriages, some of the pitfalls to be avoided, least the problem becomes worse than it started, are: (1) Withdrawal and avoidance; that is, not wanting to talk about it at all, and so the problem remains and covered up but certainly would resurface in the future and often in a bigger magnitude. (2) Escalation- when partners negatively respond back and forth to each other and making tense the tempo (3) Negative interpretation- this is when one partner reads a more ulterior motive to the case in point and consistently believing that one's motive is more negative than the other. (4) Defamation and invalidation- when one partner puts down the thoughts and character of the other, sometimes by calling names and invoking old memories that were meant to be lost and forgotten. This moves the conflict from an issue to an attack of the person. These four ways are wrong means of handling marital problems. Some of these ways sometimes leave traces of the problems even when they seem resolved. Sometimes, either or both partners erroneously end up with some of these options: one person ends up feeling responsible for the problem, serious disputes over unimportant issues, differences never seem unresolved, going out of one's way to avoid conflict with one's partner, break down in dialogue leading to duologue in the marriage, distancing one another,. All these are cracks on the marriage walls. Let us look at some ways of handling conflicts in marriage.

1. Check your Reaction Pattern: Most conflicts begin and escalate because of wrong interaction patterns. Some reaction patterns can bring about a serious breakdown. One must check his start-ups. Common wrong start-ups include: Harsh response tone- frequently starting on the wrong foot; Criticism- complaint with the intent on attacking the other person's character; Negative interpretation, bad memories- looking back at the relationship and seeing the “good gone bad” or “no good done at all”; defensiveness- counterattacking a partner's character, reflecting blame; contempt- criticism conveying disgust.

2. Discuss a problem fully before trying to solve it: When handling a marital conflict, couples should first have an open discussion about the issue and understand one another's point of view before trying to solve it. It is important that what the issue is, is known. Very often, couples have different issues they are addressing, thereby making resolution more complex or herculean. In addressing the problem, couples should state their grievances using “I- statements”. Don't quit an issue when it is not resolve and NEVER TRY TO WIN, rather, SEEK TO PRESERVE PEACE AND LOVE OF THE RELATIONSHIP AND INCREASE THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP.

3. Choose an appropriate time to discuss the problem: When issues come up, we must be careful of the timing, we seek to redress it. Far too many fights have been aggravated because the time they were presented for address, was when the partner was in an inappropriate frame of mind. Conflict issues should not be raised when there would not be appropriate time to address it and it should not be when a pleasant memory or event is happening or about to happen.

4. Stick to the problem and stick to the present: Couples should be able to address an issue rather than person. It is important that the issue should be looked at, and then handled, rather than the character of the offending or offended party. In handling a problem, it is important that partners don't bring up issues that have long be resolved into the new one, least, it frustrates the reconciliation process, creating despair that the hatchet in point would not be buried fully.

5. Be willing to forgive and forget: In marital conflicts, the courage for partners to air their view should guarantee a right to being forgiven. The fact of discussing the problem and that a person feels he deserves a better treatment. The only way to reach a conflict resolution satisfactorily is for one of the parties to break the retaliation cycle by forgiving the other. Forgiveness here can be given either by the offending party or the offended party. Once both keep claiming right, the hate just gets strong and stronger till it becomes too bad to be mended. Forgiveness should be patterned after Christ in Christian marriages.

6. Be committed in preserving your marriage bond: Over and above the differences in the marriage is the fact of the marriage covenant. Spouses should not mortgage the pride of their covenant on the altar of personal interest and pride. There must be a conscious effort to always value the marriage bond and so seek to kindle the fire of the love than diminish it.

7. Be fair and honest: it is sometimes unconscious between spouses in the event of a conflict to see oneself as superior, and in achieving this bid of supremacy which is an unconscious battle; no one would want to bend low or stoop to conquer. Sometimes, partners even hit below the belt and lie to win arguments. Ephesians 4:25 says “Therefore, putting away falsehood, let everyone speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another”. Spouses must avoid making themselves competitors forgetting they are meant to be companions.

8. Keep anger in control: It is a human to be angry, but to persist in anger is human weakness. In expressing our anger, we must be conscious that we are doing this to the one we love and so be mild. The life span of our anger should be short-lived. St. Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun to set on your anger or you give the Devil his opportunity.” As a rule, we must not allow our anger to control us; instead, we should control our anger.

9. Listen carefully and speak tactfully: In conflicts, partners should be willing to listen. Once one of the parties is willing to speak and not ready to listen, it would aggravate the problem and bring out the impossibility of true reconciliation; such, stifles understanding. In marital conflict, the speaker-listener technique must be applied. The rule for both says: speaker has the floor and the floor should be shared. The rule for the speaker says: speak for yourself. Don't go on and on, stop and let the listener paraphrase of respond. And the rule for the listener says: respond only to what you have heard, focus on the speaker's message and do not rebut. In speaking, it is not permissible because there is a conflict to use strong and disrespectful words. One must speak tactfully and listen patiently.

10. Respect Crying, pursue solution non-violently and evolve new ways to be better. The final rule in handling marital conflict is respect the deep emotion of crying. This is often a woman's way to show how pained she is and expressing helplessness. This must be respected by the man. No matter whether the woman is wrong or not. To shed tears is a subtle signal of surrender. Also, in conflict, issues should never degenerate to a physical abuse on the partner. Domestic violence is a sign of animalism, which is be practiced by lower animals and not humans. Above all, there should be new ways advanced to combat such situations in the future.

There are several ways we can handle domestic conflicts in marriages and I have advanced ways this can be handled. It requires a lot of patience, understanding and forgiveness. Above all, EACH PARTNER MUST LEARN TO APOLOGISE TO EACH OTHER. In this way, there is a renewal of respect in the relationship.
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A Call To National Repentance
» By Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua
Many people have claimed that Nigeria has the best weather and climate in the world because the occurrences of natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami are minimal in Nigeria. Some others are of the opinion that Nigeria is highly blessed with human resources. It appears that these natural and human resources are now threatened by natural disaster that is presently claiming both lives and properties. According to our elders, “a rabbit does not come out in public in a broad day light for nothing.” I left Irekpai (Etsako West LGA, Edo State, Nigeria) at 10.00am on Saturday September 22, 2012 with the hope of arriving Abuja at 2.00pm that same day. I did not reach Abuja until 6.00am on Sunday September 23, 2012. I was among the many Nigerians who were stranded on the highway at Lokoja because the road was flooded by River Niger. Unfortunately, there are no many alternative roads to enter the Federal Capital Territory from the Eastern, Western, and Southern part of Nigeria. It is reported that this same flood has taken over many parts of Kogi State. In Edo State, Udaba Ekperi is almost submerged in the flood. It is just reported that the flood is threatening almost the whole country. This experience for me was an adventure.

As if this disaster is not enough, the poor image of Nigeria has again been wounded; this time, in Saudi Arabia. It is sad that about a thousand Muslim women who went to perform the 2012 hajj were embarrassed with a threat of deportation even with their valid visas. What a shame that Nigeria has lost all places including the “holy land” to find respite and safety. Could this be a punishment for the desecration and attack on the houses of worship in some part of Nigeria? What a human quake! The houses of worship in some part of Nigeria are no longer safe for worshippers whereas these where houses of refuge before the advent of terrorism in Nigeria. That our Muslim sisters were detained in the Holy Land, the very home of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is a cause for worry. All these point to a call for national repentance and penance for our individual and collective sins. I do not think that God has deserted his people even though the actions of many people in Nigeria insult the good God of mercy and compassion. Now the signs are clear to go back to God in humble supplications. The bible and the Qur'an provide us the means to do this if we really want to obey the teachings in our holy books.

In the Old Testament of the bible, natural disasters and mysterious death were signs that the key performance indicators (KPI) of the people have fallen below average in the sight of God. In such terrible occasions the prophets normally call the people back to God through penance and repentance because sin and evil separate human beings from the love of God. Repentance in this context becomes so serious that the Greek word “metanoia”, was strongly used to indicate a deep "transformation of mind" and serious resolution to live in conformity to the rules and ordinances of God. Another word used for repentance is in Latin, "agite paenitentiam". This action word meaning, "do penance" indicates an inward repentance that should lead to an outward expression. The inward remorse should lead to better external actions because as faith without works is dead, so also repentance without penance is dead. After all the arguments of Job to justify his righteousness, he surrendered by saying: “I retract what I have said and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42, 6). The sages were more confident in the mercy of God: “Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, not into any human clutches; for as his majesty is so too his mercy” (Ecclesiasticus 2, 22). Jeremiah highlighted the sense of shame and the need to return to God. This call is urgent in Nigeria today: “Bring me back, let me come back, for you are Yahweh my God! For since I turned away, I have repented; having understood, I beat my breast. I was deeply ashamed, I blushed, aware of the disgrace incurred when I was young” (Jeremiah 31, 18- 19). God reveals the fake prophets of prosperity: “The visions your prophets had for you were deceptive whitewash; they did not lay bare your guilt so as to change your fortunes; the visions they told you were deceptive” (Lamentations 2, 14). The prophet Ezekiel highlights the benefits of repentance: “If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and upright, he will most certainly not die. None of the crimes he committed will be remembered against him from then on; he will most certainly live because of his upright actions. Would I take pleasure in the death of the wicked declares the Lord Yahweh and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live” (Ezekiel 18, 21-23)?

In the New Testament, the need for repentance and penance is well emphasized. The opening message is couched in: “repent for the kingdom of God is near” (Matthew 3, 2). Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 4, 17). He declared: “I say to you unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13, 3). This repentance must “bring forth fruit worthy of penance” (Matthew 3, 8). The book of Revelation calls for a serious examination of conscience: “Think were you where before you fell; repent, and behave as you did at first, or else, if you will not repent, I shall come to you and take your lamp-stand from its place” (Apocalypse 2, 5). “Let us, then, have no fear in approaching the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace when we are in need of help (Hebrews 4, 16).” Jesus invites us to draw strength from him: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

In Arabic, the word Tawbah is repentance. Literally it means 'to return'. In Islam “tawbah” is an act of returning to the commandments of Allah: “And O you believers! Turn towards Allah, that you may attain bliss” (Qur'an 24:31). "Surely Allah loves those who turn unto him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves" (Qur'an 2:222). Tawbah is a transformation of the heart from evil and wickedness. Like the word “taqwa”, repentance also applies in a specific sense that calls for immediate restrain from doing evil. For example a “jihad” on oneself that is manifested in a change of a particular decision to kill by any means. Muslims believe that the only source of forgiveness is God. "Say, O my slaves who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not for the mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly he is often forgiving, most merciful." (Qur'an 39:53). Islam believes in individual responsibility. That is to say that each person will account for his or her sins on the Day of Judgment (Yaum al-Qiyamah). Therefore each person individually should seek forgiveness from God before death. Given the ugly incidents of Nigeria, it is time for all the ministers of God in all the religions to call for a national penance that may lead to repentance so that our land may be spared of doom and any form of disaster. Nigeria needs serious healing at various levels. We have no reason to be at the ugly stage we presently suffer. In this year of faith, I pray that our land may find favour in God's sight!
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HYPERTENSION (High Blood Pressure)
» By Pharm. Nzewi
When we talk of hypertension, we are talking of the pressure associated with the human blood. Blood pressure sets in from the pumping action of the heart. As the heart pumps, blood forcefully leaves the heart into the blood vessels called arteries, then into the smaller ones called arterioles and then into the smallest blood vessels called capillaries. From the capillaries, blood drains into the venules, which in turn feed the blood into the veins which eventually returns the blood back to the heart. Thus, the blood leaving the heart, returns back to the heart having moved throughout the body and this marks a complete circulation. This journey is said to be about 60,000 miles. An optimum pressure is necessary to help the blood leaving the heart to return back to the heart.

Every time the heart beats, it contracts, pumping out blood into the circulatory system. It is estimated that about 70m1 of blood moves out of the heart following each contraction.

Blood pressure simply put, is the pressure of the blood flowing through the arteries. A blood pressure of l2OmmHg is the physiologically established and acknowledged usual pressure. The pressure of the blood returning to the heart is close to zero mmHg. The Systolic and the Diastolic pressures of the blood are determined when the blood pressure of a person is assessed.

When the heart contracts (pumps), blood moves out of the heart forcefully into the arteries. This action generates a high pressure called the 'SYSTOLIC PRESSURE' This force also causes the expansion of the walls of the arteries which are elastic in nature. This blood pumped out of the heart is rich in oxygen and nutrients, it moves round giving these materials to the cells and pick up from them carbon dioxide and waste products and then returns back to the heart. The carbon dioxide leaves the blood when we breathe out while the other wastes carried in the blood are removed at the kidney where the blood faces filtration. The waste removed from the blood by the kidney is passed out of the body through urine.- The cleaned blood starts its journey back to the heart. The heart relaxes for the blood to enter it. At this point the arterial pressure is at its minimum. This is the pressure called 'DIASTOLIC PRESSURE'. The walls of the arteries which expands when blood is leaving the heart, relaxes when blood is returning to the heart. The Systolic Pressure range of 120-l4OmmHg and the Diastolic Pressure range of 80- 90mm Hg is standard Normal blood pressure for the adult. The blood pressure of an individual is not constant throughout the day. It is highest later in the day, low in the morning and lowest during deep relaxation.

Hypertension is of two types. These are ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSION AND SECONDARY HYPERTENSION. In both cases the blood pressure is elevated to an unhealthy level. This elevation in blood pressure is called hypertension i.e. above normal. Its counterpart, hypotension is a blood pressure below the normal. It is also an unhealthy status. There is really no clear cut blood pressure threshold separating the hypertensive from the normal. The World Health Organization, recommends a persistence Systolic Pressure between 140-l60mmHg as a state of hypertension. Hypertension could be mild, moderate, or severe. Hypertension used to be known as an illness associated with old age but today the younger ones are also subject to hypertension. It is however common among the elderly people due to the loss of elasticity of the arterial walls (hardening of the arterial walls with time). The heart needs to pump harder to achieve adequate blood circulation. This situation causes high blood pressure and heart pain.

CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION

ESSENTIAL HYPERTENSION: This type of hypertension is believed to be of genetic implications because it is not known to be associated with any underlying illness. It tends to run in families. This is to say that the offspring of the hypertensive is liable to hypertension. The chance is higher if both parents are hypertensive.

SECONDARY HYPERTENSION: This is hypertension secondary to a disease. Secondary hypertension may result from
1. Renal (kidney) disease.
2. Endocrine disease
3. Vascular disease; e.g. Renal artery stenosis (Stenosis is the failure of a valve to open completely thereby obstructing forward flow).
4. Drugs- Such as Steroids, NSAIDS (non steroidal ant inflammatory drugs), Erythropoietin, cyclosporine, estrogens e.g. combined oral contraceptives. Blood pressure may rise temporary from other factors such as, mental stress, anxiety, impatient, constipation, cold weather, coffee, tea, cola nut, alcohol, smoking etc. Existing hypertension tends to be worsened by these factors as well as mental stress, excess salt intake, obesity, consumption of saturated fats (e.g. butter, margarine), oil, ice creams, cheese, chocolates, cakes, eggs, wafers, meat, oysters, oily foods, diabetes, caffeine. Most of these act by hardening the arteries (arteriosclerosis) coming from deposition of cholesterols along the walls of the arteries. There is now blood cholesterol reducing tea, blood-fat reducing tea, and antihypertensive tea. Every adult can take this tea to guard against this deposition as well as manage hypertension.

SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF HYPERTENSION
1. Headache.
2. Sleeplessness especially at night
3. Dizziness
4. Irritability- giving readily to anger.
Other signs include breathlessness, nausea, drowsiness, Blurred vision. This is a state of emergency. Hypertension imposes risks fatal to health and life. The call to check the blood pressure cannot be over stated and people with hypertension must not ignore drug compliance and seeing your physician as often as he demands.

COMPLICATIONS OF HYPERTENSION
We recall the role of the heart and the blood vessels (cardiovascular system) in blood circulation. Thus we can talk of cardiovascular complications such as stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, kidney failure, and dissecting aneurysms. Aneurysm: the constant high pressure of the blood moving through a progressively weakening artery, can cause a section of its wall to form a bulge (aneurysm). This bulge can rupture that section of the artery to cause internal bleeding which can be fatal. Stroke; Vascular lesions, hemorrhage or loss of blood supply to the brain can lead to an acute onset of neurologic deficit clinically known as stroke. The important event is that the brain cells may die due to lack of oxygen following obstruction to blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that supplies blood to the brain. It is marked by sudden loss of power of speech, memory, paralysis of a side of the body. ¾ of all strokes is as a result of thromboses following a blood clot blocking the arterial passage thereby blocking blood flow to part of the brain. This type of stroke is called ischemic stroke. Again stroke may be due to the rupture of blood vessel in the brain or rupture of a defective artery in the brain (a condition known as cerebral hemorrhage). Following the rupture blood fills the surrounding. .This is called hemorrhagic stroke. In both conditions, blood supply to the brain is interrupted. The commonest risks of hypertension are Stroke and Myocardial infarction.

Note that reducing the blood pressure even by small values also reduces these risks. Put up a strict blood pressure reduction if you are hypertensive.

MEASUREMENT OF BLOOD PRESSURE:

Today many individuals measure their blood pressure at home and on their own. It is therefore necessary to present the right procedure. It is measured using an instrument called sphygmomanometer. More recent instruments are aneroid and digital. In all cases, the readings are in mm Hg. While the sphyg utilizes a column of mercury (Hg), the other two don't have column of mercury.

The measurement is done at the position of the “Brachial artery” of the arm. At this position, there is no difference in blood pressure of the upper arm and the point 'aorta' where the blood leaves the heart. The measurement is based on constricting the arm artery by inflating a cuff in a rubber bag encased in a fabric. When the artery is thus constricted, the flow of blood is stopped. This is immediately followed by the gradual release of air in the cuff, an action which brings about a turbulent flow of blood through the artery. The very point at which the blood flow is heard distinctly as a thumping sound through the stethoscope placed over the artery is called the Systolic Pressure. Releasing the cuff further at this point, allows freer flow of blood with the accompanying decreased pressure of the blood also. At the complete opening of the artery, the sound of turbulent flow of blood disappears. The point on the mercury height where this took place is noted and it is called the Diastolic Blood pressure.

CONTROL OF BLOOD PRESSURE:

The call to tight control of blood pressure cannot be overdone. Hypertension is a high risk factor to cardiovascular diseases, morbidity and mortality. Lowering your blood pressure is also reducing the risk of heart disease and the complications of hypertension.

Lifestyle remains an outstanding factor in keeping a healthy blood pressure. A healthy lifestyle will enhance good blood pressure and the avoidance of complications associated with high blood pressure.

1) WEIGHT: Avoid overweight (obesity). Losing weight correspondingly reduces your blood pressure, this in anyway does not suggest that those who are not fat are free from Hypertension, and overweight is not synonymous to just a big body size, but the make up of the human body.

2) Eat Healthy: Eat food rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products. Avoid saturated fats and bad cholesterol. This type of eating habit will keep your blood pressure on a healthy level. Fruits and vegetables are good source of potassium which controls the effect of sodium on blood pressure.
1. Reduce salt intake
2. Keep off from alcohol
3. Stop smoking
4. Reduce intake of sugar, coffee, cola drinks, ordinary tea (there are medicinal teas)
5. Minerals such as calcium, Potassium, and magnesium, reduce Blood Pressure. Food rich in these minerals are lemon, banana, potatoes, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, sprouts, and oranges.
6. Foods that reduce cholesterol. This includes high intake of soluble fibers, apples, banana, orange, potatoes, carrot, tomatoes, cabbage, beans. The soluble fibers bind the dietary cholesterol and get it excreted out of the body and this way co operate in lowering high BP.
7. Lemon juice, onions, garlic, honey, alma, have the tendency to lower High BP.
8. Vitamin C., B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin E are also good in reducing high BP.

EXERCISE

Keep up a regular exercise. Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, sports etc can reduce high blood pressure significantly. During exercise, the arteries are dilated so that the heart has to apply less effort to keep the blood in circulation. Exercise increases the good cholesterol known as the high density cholesterol (HDL), and lowers the bad cholesterol (WI) in the blood.

It is noteworthy the effect of blood thinners in reducing blood pressure. Water intake first thing in the morning into an empty stomach, thins the blood. Some natural products also offer same effect on the blood.

RELAXATION: Relaxation reduces stress which is pro high blood pressure. This way, relaxation is recommended for reducing BP. In the presence of the ups and downs of life, being in a light mood discourages high blood pressure.

Spiritually, we are taught to live a guided and disciplined life likewise, physically we can see the importance of living a guided and disciplined lives. Failure to comply leads to spiritual death and physical death respectively. May we never cease to seek the grace, strength, and the wisdom of God in this life journey.
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Diocesan Laity Council Holds Meeting At Auchi

Sylvester Aigberua

The 100th meeting of the Auchi diocese laity council has been held at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.

In his welcome address, the diocese laity chairman sir. George Umoru who noted that the meeting was unique as it was the last meeting of the year, stressed that the meeting was supposed to be hosted by St. Benedict Catholic Church, Okpella but was transferred to Cathedral and appreciated all present for coming to the meeting, while noting that the council will continue to comply with the standard of hosting and rotating their meeting.

Continuing, Sir Umoru urged members not to relent in their contribution to the development of the church, adding that they should support the building of a laity secretariat, purchase of bus and other development activities in the diocese.

Among the issues deliberated on were provincial seminal coming up at Uromi Diocese, distribution of relief materials to flood victims in Etsako East and Central Local Government Areas among others.

Addressing the council on the need to revive Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) and promote social justice in the diocese, the Acting Director, JDPC, Rev. Fr. Paul Inanoremhe, called on members of JDPC in all parishes and Mass Centres to rise up to their challenges, adding that JDPC is committed to helping the needy in the society.

Fr. Inanoremhe who solicited for more support for the organization, urged the priests in the diocese to continue to support the group to enable them succeed in their quest of promoting peace and sustainable human development, noting that the organization would not relent in its efforts in supporting widows, legally oppressed, orphans and vulnerable children.

While assuring the JDPC Director of the laity’s determination in encouraging the church owned organization, the Diocese laity chairman Sir. George Umoru, praised the priest for the initiative and pointed out that JDPC is an organization in the church which they can use to assist the needy and tasked all parishes/mass centre to continue to support the group to enable them perform effectively.

Also, Sir Umoru tasked parishes/mass centres indebted to THE PROMISE NEWSPAPER to endeavour to pay up to keep the paper running.

Highpoint of the meeting was the presentation of gift items led by the Cathedral Catholic women organization (CWO), Mrs. V. A. Osumah and Secretary Mrs. S. I. Ivienagbor.

Bishop Dunia Lays Rectory Foundation At Iviukhua

Emmanuel Obozuwa

The Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev, (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, has layed the foundation for Rectory at St. Peter Catholic Church, Iviukhua, an outstation of St. Mary, Iviukwe.

Addressing faithful at the foundation laying ceremony, the Chief shepherd of the Diocese who noted that unity would encourage success in the work of God, stressed that all things will be possible if the people agree to work together and praised the efforts of the faithful for commencing the project.

Continuing, the prelate enjoined all faithful to make it a point of duty to build for the Lord, noting that they should continue to promote unity among the community hence it would enable them actualize their set goals, while commending the community elders for promoting unity among the people of Iviukhua and prayed God to continue to unite them.

Further, the shepherd of souls enjoined the youths of the community to remain disciplined, hardworking, love one another, and further enjoined them to shun activities that would affect development in their area, while tasking the youths to shun crimes and any act capable of hindering their future and assured them of more developmental drive in the outstation if they all work together.

In his remarks, the parish administrator, Rev. Fr. Christogonus Okolie who commended the chief shepherd of the diocese for coming to lay the foundation of the rectory, appreciated faithful for their support towards the project and tasked them to continue to contribute towards the development of the outstation.

Highpoint of the ceremony was the foundation laying ceremony by the Bishop to officially commence the construction of the rectory as well as presentation of gifts items to the Bishop.

Cathedral Celebrates 2012 Adult Harvest

Ibharayi Wilson

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi has marked their 2012 Adult Harvest thanksgiving and bazaar.

Delivering the homily at the mass, the Bishop of the diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia who harped on the importance of giving thanks to God, noted that thanksgiving to God is very necessary, as it was stated repeatedly in psalms.

Continuing, the Chief shepherd of the diocese affirmed that giving thanks to God would spur Him to do more for them, stressing that God's love is eternal, as any one who fails to appreciate God has acted contrary to His demands. He added that no matter the circumstances they might have find themselves, they should make it a point of duty to always appreciate God for what He has done.

Further, the Bishop hinted on the need for faithful to be conscious of all that God has done in their lives, affirming that acknowledging His blessing cannot be overemphasized, as His goodness and mercy endureth forever, while urging all present to always appreciate God, as the harvest was an opportunity for them to thank God for His abundant blessings on them in the past one year.

The prelate implored all present to endeavour to always help their neighbours who are in dire need of help, noting that giving those who cannot payback would attract more blessings and urged them to shun selfishness and hatred as it will hinder them from receiving the blessing of God, hence, it will serve as a stain in their lives and prayed God to give them the spirit of giving to others around them.

In his remarks the cathedral administrator Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai who commended the Bishop for celebrating the mass, noted that the harvest thanksgiving was aimed at church development and highlighted some of the major development recorded in the church in the past one year to include renovation of parish house, interlocking tiles among others and praised the efforts of parishioners for their enormous contribution towards the development of the church, while soliciting for more support to enable them carryout more development.

Highpoint of the mass was thanksgiving procession by individuals, lay apostolate groups and all present in appreciation to God for the blessings bestowed on them.

Meanwhile, items were later put up for sale at the bazaar.

Be Submissive To God At All Time - Bishop Dunia

Akhenoba Robinson

The Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, has reiterated the need for faithful to continue to be submissive to God at all time; stressing that submissiveness to God would encourage more growth and development in the church.

This formed the crux of his homily recently at Holy Name Catholic Church, Ikpeshi.

The Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, who charged faithful to always imbibe the virtues of integrity, noted that development in the church can only be attained if there is synergy among faithful.

The Shepherd of souls commended the Rector of the mass centre Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai and the faithful of the mass centre for the developmental projects taking place in the mass centre, while tasking them to keep the flag of development flying and urged all present to continue to contribute to the growth and development of the mass centre. He assured them that a nursery/primary school will be established in the mass centre to promote the level of education in the area.

Appreciating the Bishop for coming to celebrate with them, the Rector of the church, Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, noted that it was a privilege for them to have the Bishop to celebrate with them and commended the parishioners for making the event worthwhile.

On his part, the Laity Chairman Mr. M. O. Aliu who thanked the Bishop for coming to celebrate mass with them, pointed out that the mass centre has witnessed tremendous growth and development, while pledging the parishioners continuous support to the growth of the church and prayed God to continue to bless and protect the Bishop as he shepherds the flock of Christ.

Ayogwiri Celebrates Patron Saint Feast Day

Oyerebu Philip

The Catholic community of St. Matthew Catholic Church, Ayogwiri has recently celebrated their patron saint feast day with a line up of spiritual and physical activities.

Delivering the homily at the thanksgiving mass, the parish administrator Rev. Fr. John Awaebe who appreciated God for His protection and for giving them another opportunity to celebrate their feast day, charged all present to emulate the exemplary life of their patron saint who left everything he had to follow Christ, adding that their patron saint was generous and dedicated himself to the service of the gospel and humanity.

Fr. Awaebe commended all present for attending the celebration and noted that the event was an opportunity for them to further appreciate their patron saint who worked for Christ to the point of giving up his life for the propagation of the gospel of Christ.

Highpoint of the celebration was a thanksgiving procession by all stations present and all parishioners.

Speaking shortly after the mass at the reception, the parish laity chairman Sir Oyerebu Philips who praised all present for attending the ceremony, commended the efforts of the parish administrator Rev. Fr. John Awaebe, for bringing them together as one family to mark the feast and prayed God to continue to unite the parishioners as a family of Christ in order to move the parish forward and the diocese as well.

Further, Sir Oyarebu also used the occasion to present scholarship to three best pupils in St. Matthew Nursery/Primary School and assured them that the scholarship will cover their primary education. The pupils were Egbeinya Destiny (Nursery three), Abu Godswill (primary one) and Iluebey Priscillia (primary two).

In his remarks, the parish administrator Rev. Fr. John Awaebe who expressed satisfaction for the event, while commending all present for attending the ceremony, prayed God to bless them.

The event also featured cultural display, presentation of match past, CWO display among others.

Some of the dignitaries present were Charles Uduapi, the parish laity secretary, Hon. S. O. Alabi parish pastoral council vice chairman, Mr. Paul Shaibu, Ayogwiri Head Christian, Mr. Roland Inope, parish CMO chairman among others.

Understanding Ensures Perfection In Marriage - Fr. Ughiovhe

Ibharayi Wilson

The parish administrator of St. Dominic Catholic church, Elele Rev. Fr. Romanus Ughiovhe, has reiterated that proper understanding between couples is a vital ingredient that would enable them attains perfection in their marriage, stressing that the ability for couples to study one another is a sure way to success.

He stated this recently while delivering a homily at the holy matrimony between former Miss Mercy Obanor and Lucky Okhumale in St. Theresa Catholic Church, Fugar.

Fr. Ughiovhe who noted that perfect couples are the one who are able to conquer challenges and understand each other, affirmed that from creation God ordained marriage to enable man and woman live together and build a good home, adding that when the man is too conscious of his authority over the woman, it impedes marriage success.

Continuing, the homilist charged the couple to allow the spirit of mutual submissiveness at all cost, noting that the man should always give a listening ear to the woman who is always in need of attention and they should encourage, cherish and respect each other.

Further, Fr. Ughiovhe affirmed that marriage is for good though there may be challenges, urged them to be focused, and be committed to each other, while tasking them to always pray together, as it will enable them succeed as husband and wife.

More, Fr Ughiovhe, enjoined the newly wed to be best friends as they begin a new family, adding that love and respect are some of the veritable tools to enable them get the best of their marriage and prayed God to continue to bless them.

Highpoint of the mass was their first thanksgiving procession led by the newly wed couple, accompanied to the altar by family, friends and well wishers.

Catechist Peter Musa Marks Silver Jubilee At Ekperi

Bob Omo-Ashi

Catechist Peter A. T. Musa of Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Azukhala/Ugbekpe, Ekperi, has celebrated his silver jubilee as catechist.

In his homily at the thanksgiving mass, the parish administrator Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo who appreciated God for the life of the catechist, praised his efforts in discharging his duties in the Lord's vineyard, noting that the work of a catechist demands patience, tolerance and perseverance.

Fr. Adorolo tasked the celebrant to continue to give his best to the service of the Lord, adding that it was God that gave him the strength to mark his silver jubilee and prayed God to give him more wisdom, good health and strength to continue to discharge his duties in the vineyard of the Lord.

In his remarks, the parish laity chairman Engr. Steve Osibemhe, thanked the celebrant for his courage and steadfastness in the service of the Lord, while appealing to all youths present to emulate him to take up catechist assignment as it will bring them closer to God.
Appreciating all present for attending the celebration, the celebrant, catechist Peter Musa thanked God for this protection in his vineyard.

The event also featured presentation of motorcycle to the catechist by the laity chairman Engr. Steve Osibemhe on behalf of the parish to aid in evangelization as well as presentation of gift items to the celebrant.

Also, present at the occasion were the representatives of the parish out stations, Catechist Peter Ighiovhowor from Elele, Uzairue and others.

Jattu Marks Harvest Thanksgiving

Offogah Patience

St. Philip-Neri Catholic Church, Jattu has marked their 2012 adult harvest thanksgiving.

In His homily, the Parish Administrator Rev. Fr. Ignatius Omunagbe appreciated God for giving them the opportunity to thank Him for His abundant blessings and protection in past one year, tasked parishioners to endeavour to be their brother's keeper, adding that in doing so, God will reward them in a thousand fold.

Fr. Omunagbe who asserted that harvest is necessary in the life of faithful, enjoined all present to always thank God for all that He has done for them, while praying God to guide them and protect them in the upcoming year.

While thanking all present for attending the celebration and contributing to the spiritual and physical growth of the parish, the parish administrator solicited for their continuous support for the development of the parish and prayed God to reward them accordingly.

Highpoint of the celebration were thanksgiving procession to the altar by all present, harvesting of fruit from the garden of blessing and among other activities.

Some of the guests present were Hon. And Mrs. Philip Shaibu, majority leader Edo State House of Assembly, Sir and Lady Bruno Oshionebo as well as other personalities.

Love Is The Solution For Peaceful Coexistence - Archbishop Kasujja

The papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Augustine Kasujja has reiterated that humility of heart and love for one another is a panacea for peaceful coexistence among the people of the country, stressing that the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life.

He dropped this hint at the closing mass for the fourth National Eucharistic congress of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, at the Blessed John Paul Papal ground Kubwa, Abuja.

Most Rev. Kasujja who stressed on the theme “Eucharist: communion with Christ and with one another”, noted that “the celebrations of the national and Eucharistic congress intends to remind us and to stress the truth that the Eucharist, in which the risen Lord is truly present in his church and in the world, is the source and summit of the Christian life”, adding that “…the congress points to the double significance of the Eucharist as an essence of communal living and sharing as obtained in the early church of Christ when the faithful lived together and owned everything together”, affirming that “the followers of Christ were united and celebrated together the Eucharist, the source of our faith and our redemption. If our prayer is to be effective, it is important to live in communion in Jericho”.

Continuing, the prelate pointed out that effective communion with Christ and with follow men cannot come about until everyone answers the call of Christ to a humble change of heart, “as he wanted to teach us through the call of Zachaeus, that rich chief publican in Jericho”. While warning on the discretion of the Eucharist as it is a sacrilege, he pointed out that “the catholic church believes that every time the living memories of the passion, death and resurrection is properly celebrated by a validly ordained Bishop or priest, there is a real presence of Christ. He is present too in the consecrated hosts, preserve in so many tabernacles around the world for the adoration of the faithful and to be available as the viaticum for visits to seriously sick people”.

The homilist further stressed that “the church therefore condemns vigorously any abuse or misuse of the consecrated blessed sacrament, as a grave offence to the Catholic faith and a sacrilege, as was very the case in the diocese of Isele-uku, Nnewi and Enugu, where the Blessed sacrament was stolen away from the chapel of adoration” he added.

St. James Proclaim Christ The King

… Holy Name Ikpeshi As Well


The Catholic community of St. James mass centre Water Board, Auchi has joined Catholics world over to proclaim the sovereignty of Christ, as they mark the solemnity of Christ the universal king.

Giving the homily at mass, the rector of the church Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo, noted that the kingship of Jesus is quite different from other worldly kings who are characterized by pride, extortion of their subjects, injustice and inhuman laws, adding that earthly kings are dictators who are served by their subjects, take subjects life in place of theirs and live in comfort at the expense of their people.

Rev. Fr. Emodogo explained that Jesus kingship is characterized by love for His people, which is the reason why Jesus gave His life for sinners. More, he said that Jesus serves His people rather than being served, and was born in a stable, as a sign of His humility.

Further, the priest who termed Jesus a true leader and shepherd who came for the down trodden, dejected and cast always of the society, called on lay faithful to emulate the leadership style of Jesus which is all embracing.

He stressed that when Christians in their various leadership positions apply the style of Jesus, the society will be a better place for all. He also charged them to allow Christ reign in their hearts so that they can be better Christians.

Shortly after the homily, faithful embarked on a procession round major areas of water board, proclaiming the kingship of Christ over their lives.

In a similar development, the faithful of Holy Name Catholic Church, Ikpeshi, have also celebrated the solemnity of Christ the universal king.

In his homily, the rector Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, stressed that the kingship of Jesus does not entail selfish interest, like His observed in most leaders of the world, but a selfless and unassuming king.

He noted that rulers of the world nurse political ambitions and strive to hold positions in the society because of what they hope to gain, not because of their love for the people or what they hope to do for them.

Further, Fr. Anetekhai tasked the congregation to adopt the leadership style of Jesus in their daily living wherever they may find themselves, as their actions tells better of their faith than their words.

Highlights of the celebration was a procession round the streets of Ikpeshi, amid songs of praises to God.

Matrimony Is The Office Of The Woman - Fr. Omunagbe


Married women have been charged to be alive to their marital responsibilities and endeavour to be prayerful at all times for the success of their marriage, as the marriage is the office ordained by God for women.

This hint was dropped by Rev. Fr. Ignatius Omunagbe, at the holy solemnization of matrimony between Mr. Michael Aigbokhaiode and former Miss Mabel Kadiri, at St. James Mass Centre, Water board.

Explaining that matrimony is a Latin word meaning “office of a woman”, Fr. Omunagbe stressed that the success of every home depends on the woman's ability to prayerfully make her home the way she intends at to be.
He lamented that most women have relegated the potency of praying the rosary, hence when trials come, they are confused and begin to seek solution from other sources, which makes their situation worse than it was.

Addressing the bride, Fr. Omunagbe urged her to take prayer serious even when all appears rosy, as it is the prayer made in the time of peace that will drive away the forces of darkness and make her triumph in the day of trouble.

The homilist reiterated that prayer is the only key that can make a woman succeed in her marriage, while observing that older women are constantly praying the rosary, attends church activities seeking the face of God, owing to the fact that they have known that prayer has been the sustaining factor of their homes.

Further, he urged the couple to desist from telling their parents the faults of their partner, but rather they should seek advise from priests and their sponsor, which the Catholic church in her wisdom has put in place to help young couples in their early years in marriage to avoid the pitfall that may affect their homes.

Also, the priest called on the groom to endeavour to be attentive to the needs of his wife and do away with friends and activities that will take his time and cause friction in the home.

Highpoints of the ceremony were exchange of marriage consent, rings by the couple and blessing of the union performed by the rector of the church Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo, decoration of the bride with CWO wrapper by the church CWO executive and a joyful thanksgiving by the couple accompanied by their sponsor Mr. & Mrs. Kelvin Agboh, family and friends.

Marriage Is The Expression Of Love - Fr. Anetekhai

Marriage has been described as an institution ordained and recognized by God, as the peak of expression of love for couples.

This statement was made by the Rector of Holy Name Catholic Church, Ikpeshi, Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, at the marriage ceremony between Mr. Solomon Izuagbe and former Miss Taiye Aliu at the church recently.

Admonishing the couple during the homily, Rev. Fr. Anetekhai said that marriage is the climax of love and encouraged the couple to keep the flame of love which attracted them to each other, burning at all time.

The rector stressed that when challenges arise in marriage, love supported with prayer are the solutions to quelling the evil tactics of the enemy, while urging the couple to begin and end their day with prayer.

More, he advised them to jettison the idea of bottling up their emotions, but should always communicate how they feel to one another about their faults and differences, as it will help them to get to know each other better.

Further, the priest called on parents in-law and relatives to allow the couple grow on their own, instead of interfering in their daily lives, pointing out that such act will cause friction in the home.

In addition, Rev. Fr. Anetekhai enjoined the bride to learn to trust her husband, stressing that lack of trust gives the devil room to operate in a home, which may result in a broken home.

Shortly after the homily, the couple gave their marriage consent, exchanged rings as a symbol of their love as well as performed their first thanksgiving as a family, accompanied by their sponsor, Mr.& Mrs. Kelvin Agboh, family and friends.

Marriage has been described as an institution ordained and recognized by God, as the peak of expression of love for couples.

This statement was made by the Rector of Holy Name Catholic Church, Ikpeshi, Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, at the marriage ceremony between Mr. Solomon Izuagbe and former Miss Taiye Aliu at the church recently.

Admonishing the couple during the homily, Rev. Fr. Anetekhai said that marriage is the climax of love and encouraged the couple to keep the flame of love which attracted them to each other, burning at all time.

The Rector stressed that when challenges arise in marriage, love supported with prayer are the solutions to quelling the evil tactics of the enemy, while urging the couple to begin and end their day with prayer.

More, he advised them to jettison the idea of bottling up their emotions, but should always communicate how they feel to one another about their faults and differences, as it will help them to get to know each other better.

Further, the priest called on parents in-law and relatives to allow the couple grow on their own, instead of interfering in their daily lives, pointing out that such act will cause friction in the home.

In addition, Rev. Fr. Anetekhai enjoined the bride to learn to trust her husband, stressing that lack of trust gives the devil room to operate in a home, which may result in a broken home.

Shortly after the homily, the couple gave their marriage consent, exchanged rings as a symbol of their love as well as performed their first thanksgiving as a family, accompanied by their sponsor, Mr.& Mrs. Kelvin Agboh, family and friends.

Holy Rosary Uzairue Celebrates Harvest Thanksgiving

Paschal Eragbhe

The Catholic community of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Afowa/Afashio, Uzairue has marked their 2012 adult harvest thanksgiving tagged “harvest of chosen”

Delivering the homily, at the thanksgiving mass, the parish administrator Rev. Fr. Mark Akhibi who charged faithful to give like the widow in the Bible, urged all present to appreciate God for what He has done for them, while tasking faithful to always thank God no matter the situation.

Continuing, Fr. Akhibi admonished all present to shun any act that would hinder them from receiving God's blessing, stressing that they should use their God given resources to appreciate God for His abundant love, care and protection, enjoining them to jettison the urge of becoming rich at all cost and selfishness among others.

Highpoints of the celebration were thanksgiving processions by lay Apostolate groups, families, individuals and groups.

Meanwhile, items were later put up for sale at the bazaar.

Apprehension In North Is Government's Failure To Provide Security - Archbishop Kaigama


As Christians in the Northern part of the country continue to live in fear and apprehension of been attacked by Islamic Sect Boko haram, the president Catholic Bishops conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama has reiterated that the apprehension in the north is as a result of government's inability to provide security for all citizens and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Archbishop Kaigama stated this in his official written report on behalf of the church in Nigeria to “Aid to the church in need”, a German based donor Agency, on the situation of the religious crisis in the northern part of the country.

The CBCN president who noted that “the clergy and people alike are at a point of near desperation after Sunday mass goers in the north became the latest victims of extremist violence”, stressing that “the people's apprehension and consternation was as a result of apparent government failure to provide security and bring the perpetrator to justice”.

The prelate pointed out that “we as pastors have reached a state of near desperation, seeing children, women, bombed out of existence. Attacks continue to be visited on our people with very little sign that the concerned political and security officials are able to arrest the situation”, adding that “the mood among lay Catholics is one of apprehension and consternation that these terrorists can easily get away with horrible cuts of criminality against innocent people is very disturbing”.

Archbishop Kaigama hinted that the patience and endurance of Christians in the country was wearing out with the youths spoiling for spontaneous outburst and reprisal attack, adding that “the leaders of the church had always urged faithful to shun revenge and leave vengeance to God” “this is a test of Christian's faith, a time to be Christ like” he noted.

The CBCN president called for a change heart on the part of the terrorists and an end to the spate of violence in the country, stressing that “the degree of barbarism that comes with each attack is bathing. The suicide bomber come as a respectable person, well dressed and in a big car ready to kill and he did kill and injure many”, he added.
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