Home | History | Contact Us

 

 

 

 

     Our Diocesan Newspaper
 
  Content
 

 

Carving A Future for the Nigerian Child
In Nigeria today, what the ordinary man desires is good shelter, food, educational facilities to ensure his children's advancement in life and of course adequate and improving availability of power, health and the transportation sector. With these at his beck and call, the interest in power struggle will be left to politicians alone. He thus also desires good leaders; who through good governance will bring about rapid economic and social progress and improving standard of living and quality of life for the great majority of the people.
As a Nation, we are at the dawn of 2013 and currently what we call federal, state, and local roads are not fit for horses and donkeys to ride on, not to talk of vehicles. A nation with the dreams of greatness without motorable roads and railways, steady power, efficient communication and healthcare systems; and security is wallowing in a utopian pipe dream, which we pray we wake up from and move ahead.

But, according to recent findings, it is being speculated that Nigeria in 2013 may be the worst place for a child to be born. The truth or falsehood of these findings lies in the insensitive attitude and care of government to provide basic education and health care service for Nigerians. There is no denying the fact that there are schools around, some well furnish and equipped, but no good and quality teachers to make students more effective and productive. The health care sector in the same vein suffers the fate of no good equipment and personnel to care for the needs of the Nigerian mother and child.

It is a given that, without good education and lack of access to quality healthcare services for the Nigerian Child, we are sure of a blink future. And soon, very soon, the political landscape of Nigeria would be littered with more illiterate politicians and the society would be incapable of gathering and maintaining a reasonable database for national planning and other development programs.

Our children are the future of this Nation, appropriate care and concern should be given to their future. Our political class must begin now to re-order their priorities, as their priorities have so far been dictated by how much they will gain from any policy decision and not how they will benefit the society as a whole. The right time is now to work for the common good of all.

Happy New Year.
Back to Top
The Generation, Constitution And Promotion Of An Integrated Quality Life Of Human Beings In Society.
AN ADDRESS OF WELCOME DELIVERED BY THE MOST REV. GABRIEL GHIEAKHOMO DUNIA, THE BISHOP OF AUCHI AND THE CHAIRMAN OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCE OF NIGERIA (CBCN) HEALTH COMMITTEE ON THE OCCASION OF THE MEETING OF CATHOLIC PROVINCIAL AND DIOCESAN HEALTH COORDINATORS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN NIGERIA HELD IN ABUJA ON THE 27TH AND 28TH OF JUNE, 2012.

Once again, we have gathered today for the all important meeting of the Catholic provincial and Diocesan health coordinators of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, here in Abuja. It is all-important in as much as you and I who are involved are conscientiously poised for working towards the collaborative generation, constitution and promotion of an integrated quality life of our people in and through a completely effective, efficient, available, affordable, credible and acceptable health services to all our people and ourselves anytime, anywhere. Hence, I am highly delighted to welcome all of you to this meeting.

Although, it is true that, not all of us involved in health service delivery are professional medical and para-medical practitioners, all of us are stakeholders and beneficiaries of health services one way or the other. Therefore, as stakeholders and beneficiaries, we have obligation, in gratitude, to appreciate and commend all who have embraced the vocation of practicing and delivering health services to all our people in our society at various levels, all for the purpose of generating, constituting and promoting an integral quality life for all human beings in our society and beyond.

You will all agree with me that health is, obviously and undeniably, an indispensable human possession in as much as once it fails irremediably, all other human possessions become valueless and meaningless. What value or meaning are honey, the most splendid mansion and the highest position of authority and power to a dead man? For this reason, I have often reminded people of the fact, that those who have embraced the practice of medicine have been bestowed with an incomparable duty and obligation from which they can share inexhaustibly with the rest of human beings so that the rest of human beings may have life and have it qualitatively.

The all-importance of health in human existence, here on earth, made the ancient men of wisdom put medicine in the group of the three most revered disciplines from the ancient days; the other two are divinity (priesthood) and the law.

Our gathering is actually meant to sensitize and point or propel us towards better improved ways and methods most necessary in our days for better generation, constitution and promotion of an integral quality life for our people through a better knowledge and administration of health services. This will enable us, at our various levels to actively and enthusiastically engage in advocating for all acceptable and accepted means necessary for the provision of quality, available and affordable health for all from the cradle of human life to the finish.

I want to assure you all that the Catholic Church in Nigeria, in particular and the universal church in general, appreciate you and the health services you are all delivering at various levels in all nooks and crannies of our society. Therefore, we should all be more inspired and enthusiastic in all our efforts to making life more meaningfully and qualitatively revitalized now, more than ever before, for our people.

Praying the good Lord of wisdom, perfect health and love to continually imbue all of you and all others who are engaged in the delivery of health services with rewarding creativity and peace and wishing you every positive passion towards the growth and development of the most highly needed effective, efficient, available and acceptable health service delivery to all our people everywhere and at all times.

Thanks and God bless. Amen.
Back to Top
The Papacy And Church Administration
» By Prof. Michael Ogunu
Catholic understanding of the authority of the Pope is based on the belief that Peter had special primacy and leadership throughout Jesus' public life. The tradition that Peter set up his See (territory ruled by a bishop) in Rome gave the bishop of Rome priority. Although several Scripture passages attest to Peter's leadership role, the passage, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church ...” (See Matthew 16:13-19) is used most commonly as biblical evidence. Early Church history about the preeminence of the papal office is somewhat nebulous. But it is fair to state that, in the first several hundred years of Christianity, the bishop of Rome exercised more authority than bishops of other Christian strongholds. Richard McBrien contends that the Church of Rome “intervened in the life of distant churches, took sides in theological controversies, was consulted by other bishops on doctrinal and moral issues”. It also was the focal point of unity for all Churches.

It was not until the Middle Ages that the Pope as sole religious leader became evident. By A.D. 800, the title “papa” came into use. Popes were usually selected by the emperor, but at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the College of Cardinals was established as the body which selected the pope.

Vatican II while effecting changes, recognized the pope as authoritative head of the Catholic Church. However, in keeping with the spirit of renewal, the pope's role since Vatican II has been exercised more often in communion with the other bishops in shared decision making called collegiality. The papal office has changed from that of a rigid dictator to benevolent apostle and pastor. The pope continues to work in collaboration with the bishops through the Synod of Bishops which meets to discuss pertinent issues.

The pope and bishops, as the highest teaching authority of the Church, are responsible for handing on the faith. They make up what is commonly known as the magisterium, the Church's teaching authority. They teach in a variety of ways: through ecumenical councils, encyclicals, which are issued by the pope on a specific issue; and upholding faith in what is called ordinary teaching, preserving the truths which are part of revelation.

The openness and dialogue begun with Vatican II continue in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. He has taken the papacy beyond the confines of the Vatican to meet the world's peoples on their own soil. In his trips to remote areas, he has brought the saving power and presence of Christ to people of all faiths. The pope of today leads Catholics, but over and above, he is a powerful sign of Christ's hope for unity and peace, and a much-admired spiritual leader in the world.

The central administration of the Catholic Church is located in the Vatican, 108 acres within the city of Rome. Vatican City, the world's smallest independent nation was established in 1929 through the Lateran Treaty. Prior to that time, the pope ruled the Papal States which comprised much of central Italy and were a remnant of the Holy Roman Empire. The Vatican issues its own stamps, has its own inner government, currency, broadcast and communications network, and newspaper.

Diplomatic ties with many nations are carried out through Apostolic Nuncios and Apostolic Pronuncios, who represent the pope as ambassadors. Representatives of the pope in countries with no diplomatic ties to the Vatican are exercised through Apostolic Delegates. An Apostolic Delegate has jurisdiction regarding ecclesial and religious matters over the Catholic Church in a particular nation.

The Roman Curia, existing since the twelfth century, is the central governing body for the entire Church. It has evolved into a vast network of commissions, bureaus, offices and departments. It has been reorganized since Vatican II in keeping with renewal and ecclesial changes.

Next to the pope in authority are the cardinals. These are usually bishops who are appointed by the pope. Traditionally known as “Princes of the Church”, the cardinals' main task is to assemble in a conclave to select a Pope. They also may serve in a Curia or a diplomatic post or head a diocese. Collectively, they are the College of Cardinals.

The Church throughout the world is divided into dioceses, fully organized ecclesiastical jurisdictions. The head of the diocese, the bishop, has jurisdiction in his realm. The pope, as the bishop of Rome, is a direct successor of Peter, the apostle, and he thus preserves a historical connection in continuing the mission of Jesus. A bishop is appointed by the pope and ordained with the fullness of holy orders, which gives him the power to ordain priests and to confirm. The bishop assigns clergy, administers church property, and oversees the Catholic faith and observance in his diocese.

At his ordination, he dons the red cassock and skull cap and the bishop's ring. For formal liturgical celebrations at which he presides, the bishop carries a crosier (shepherd's staff), wears a miter, which is a triangular headpiece, and a large ornamented pectoral cross all of which symbolize his office.

The head of a diocese is an ordinary bishop. He may be assisted by another bishop who has the right of succession, the coadjutor. An assistant bishop without the right of succession is called an auxiliary bishop.

The bishop is assisted in governing his diocese by a chancellor and a vicar general. The chancellor, who need not be a cleric, is the notary of a diocese. He or she is in charge of all documents regarding government of the diocese, deeds, archives, dispensations, and ecclesiastical matters. The vicar general is a priest appointed by the bishop to aid in governing. He has jurisdictional authority, except in matters reserved for the bishop. The office of diocesan administration is the chancery, and the main church of the diocese is the cathedral. Priests assist in governing through the Senate of Priests, tribunals, and other offices.

Several dioceses in a geographical area work together; and the chief of these is called the archdiocese. The bishop who leads an archdiocese is called the archbishop. When several dioceses and archdioceses are joined into a unit they form a province.

However, the diocese remains the basic subdivision of the universal Church and is subject to the Vatican. Each bishop is required by law to report directly to the pope every five years on the status of his diocese.

From the previous explanation, it may seem that the Church is a gargantuan monolith. It gives that impression because the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church is very visible. But the authority and structure, like a scaffold, hold the organization together and are most necessary. The heart and spirit and faith of Catholicism reaches far beyond its imposing external organization.
Back to Top
The Basic Doctrine On The Sacrament Of Holy Eucharist
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
In the July 2012 publication of the Promise News Papers, I discussed the two extreme behaviours people exhibit towards the Holy Eucharist which are: Unworthy reception and outright neglect or contempt towards the Holy Eucharist. In this write up the focus is on the basic doctrine or Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is more than a sign of grace; it is the sacrament in itself as well as the living body and blood of Christ. The sacrament of Baptism exists for the Holy Eucharist, while other Sacraments are enriched by it.

The basic Catholic teachings on the Holy Eucharist are: the Real presence, Transubstantiation, and the whole presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. All Christians, with few minor exceptions, held the doctrine of the Real Presence from the time of Christ until the Protestant Revolution in the sixteenth century. For Catholics Christ is really present in the consecrated bread and wine even though they retain their appearances which are regarded as the accidents. These include: color, taste, weight, shape, aroma, and whatever else that appears to the senses. These accidents undergo no change, but the substances of the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ respectively; but because the appearances of bread and wine remain in the Holy Eucharist, we cannot see Christ with our bodily eyes in this sacrament; we do see Him, however, with the eyes of faith. He who does not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, has no part in Him, because he has no firm believe in the Divinity of Christ. A true believer does not ask like the Jesus: How can this be? Rather he believes the words of Christ unconditionally, because Christ is the Son of God, and with God all things are possible. (Frederick Justus Knetch, A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture, Illinois: Tans Books Publishers, 2003, p. 534.)

Catholics teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation of the Eucharist; that is the perpetual presence of Christ in the sacred specie. For this reason Eucharist adoration outside of Mass is peculiar to Catholics only because of this belief. This belief is not upheld by non- Catholic Christians and this makes perfect unity to be impossible at the moment.

Our bodily eyes, do not deceive us when they see the appearances of bread and wine for these appearances really remain after the Consecration at the Mass. Christ remains present in the consecrated specie as long as these appearances lasts, and Christ's body remains in the communicant as long as the accidents remain themselves. We express our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist through our disposition. The required Eucharistic dispositions from every Catholic are: Eucharistic devotion or adoration, Eucharistic piety such as kneeling, reverential silence and meditation.


Christ is entirely present in of the each consecrated specie with his Soul and Divinity. Thus when one receives the body of Christ, the whole of Christ is received; similarly when one receives the blood of Christ, the whole of Christ is received. When Christ is received under each kind alone, and he who receives Holy Communion under one kind, does not receive Christ less than he who receives under both kinds, (Ibid.) for Christ is whole and entire because He is living and immortal in the Eucharist as he is in heaven; and where his body is, there also are his blood, soul and divinity; and where his blood is, there also are his body, soul and divinity. All these being inseparable in Jesus Christ.

In the Holy Eucharist Christ comes to us in person. The greatest gift we can receive is the gift of the body and blood of Christ. Christ in the Holy Eucharist draws us closer to himself throughout the day and teaches us how to pray as Catholics; peaceful in adoration. Prayer is a humble adoration before God. It entails lifting up the eyes of our mind and heart to God.

Holy Communion should therefore be received with living faith, humility, contrition, hope, love, and burning desire.
Back to Top
How Is The Mass A Sacrifice? (Pt. 1)
» By Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede
We read in the penny catechism booklet by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) which many of us used to learn the doctrines of the Church as young catechumens, that the “Holy Mass is the sacrifice of the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, truly present on the altar, together with his soul divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine, and offered to God for the living and the dead”. There have however been denials both directly and indirectly, explicitly and implicitly by some people, especially non-Catholics that the Mass is a sacrifice.

This question of whether the Mass is a sacrifice and how it is that the Mass is a sacrifice, took a dramatic turn in the 16th Century during the Protestant separation from the Church when Martin Luther and many other protestant leaders denied that the Mass is a Sacrifice. Looking for every ground upon which to maintain an obstinate divide from the teachings and doctrines of the Church, the premier animators of Protestantism laid emphasis only on the Eucharist as a meal, thus stressing only the meal aspect of the Mass. It didn't take long however before the Council of Trent defended what was under attack by emphasizing that the Mass is a sacrifice. With utmost clarity, the Council of Trent taught that the Mass is a sacrifice, against the protestant heresy. The Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) reiterates this fact, insisting that the Mass is a sacrifice and one with the Sacrifice of Calvary.

What is obvious even in our day is the fact that many people (some Catholics inclusive) either deny this truth or do not fully understand the connection and its import. Now therefore, what we must considers is what is sacrifice and how is the Mass a sacrifice?

The most common definition and basic understanding of sacrifice is: “the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals to a higher purpose or to God or to a deity as an act of propitiation or worship”. For purposes of disambiguation, efforts have been made in scholarly circles to distinguish between various levels of understanding of different religious acts, thus while “sacrifice” is often understood as ritual killing, the term “offering” (Latin oblation) is used for bloodless sacrifices such as the offering of wheat and grain offerings as we often read about, or the offering of other artifacts. And then as we find even in our traditional settings, the term “libation” is used for the offerings of liquids (beverages) by pouring. That which more or less encompasses the others and which is of major interest to us here is “Sacrifice”.

As it is stated in the Online Catholic Encyclopedia (OCE), this term is identical with the English offering (Latin offerre) and the German Opfer; the latter is derived, not from offerre, but from operari, and thus means “to do zealously, to serve God, to offer sacrifice”. By sacrifice in the real sense is universally understood the offering of a sense-perceptible gift to the Deity as an outward manifestation of our veneration for Him and with the object of attaining communion with Him. Strictly speaking however, this offering does not become a sacrifice until a real change has been effected in the visible gift (e.g. by slaying it, shedding its blood. burning it, or pouring it out).

“Sacrifice” according to the Baltimore Catechism is: “The offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way to acknowledge that he is the Creator and Lord of all things” (Q.926). And for Patrick McCloskey, O.F.M., “Sacrifice is the offering of a gift back to God as an expression of our desire for union with him. The sacrifice is not a substitute for the person offering it but rather is the real sign of his or her self-offering. Sacrifice, therefore, always involves an inner conversion or renewal” These definitions suggest that the most important elements of sacrifice are the proper person offering it and the destruction of the victim to show God's lordship over all things.

The New Covenant of Jesus Christ is a renewal of the Old Law which forms the core of the Jewish tradition. It behooves us therefore to take our point of departure from the ancient Jewish perspective on Sacrifice. According to the Jewish tradition, sacrifice in its bloody and its unbloody form extends back to the beginning of the human race. The first and oldest sacrifice mentioned in the Bible is that of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3 ff.). With sacrifice an altar was associated (Gen. 12:7ff). Even in patriarchal times we meet also the sacrificial meal, especially in connection with treaties and the conclusion of peace. The conclusion of the covenant at Mount Sinai was also effected under the auspices of a solemn sacrifice and banquet (Ex. 24:5). Subsequently Moses, as the messenger of God, elaborated the whole sacrificial system, and in the Pentateuch fixed with most scrupulous exactness the various kinds of sacrifice and their ritual. Like the whole Mosaic cult, the sacrificial system is governed by the one central idea, “Be holy because I am holy” (Lev. 11:44).

Going on to establish the process, the OCE describes the manner of sacrifice among the Jewish people of the Old Testament. The ritual of the bloody sacrifice is of special importance for the deeper knowledge of Jewish sacrifice. Despite other differences, five actions were common to all the categories: the bringing forward of the victim, the imposition of hands, the slaying, the sprinkling of the blood, and the burning. The first was the leading of the victim to the altar of burnt sacrifices in the outer court of the tabernacle (or of the Temple) “before the Lord” (Ex.29:42; Lev. 1:5;3:1;4:6). Then followed on the north side of the altar the imposition of hands (or, more accurately, the resting of hands on the head of the victim), by which significant gesture the sacrificer transferred to the victim his personal intention of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and especially of atonement, If sacrifice was about to be offered for the whole community, the ancients, as the representatives of the people, performed the ceremony of the imposition of hands (Lev. 4:15).

Over the centuries in the life of the Israelites, the sacrificial rituals continued in their various forms with regard to the particular reason or feast, to be central to the Israelite worship. However, it is worthy of note as McClowskey rightly pointed out that Biblical Sacrifice as evident in the Old Testament is not an effort to feed a hungry God, for God himself says: “If I were hungry, I should not tell you, for mine are the world and its fullness” (cf. Ps:50:12). Nor is sacrifice offered to appease or soothe an angry God. Such ideas of sacrifice are basically pagan.

Biblical sacrifice acknowledges one God as the giver of every gift. In Israelite religion the offering of wine, grain and animals shows God's lordship over all creation. Offering some gifts back to God gave the people some sense of union with him. Ancient Hebrew sacrifices renewed the covenant (union) made at Mt. Sinai, the covenant which established the Israelites as God's chosen people. At first the descendants of Abraham offered sacrifices for the benefit of the entire nation. Gradually they began to realize that they should offer sacrifices not only for the sins of the nation but also for the sins of individuals. Such sacrifices showed that the person wanted to reestablish a right relationship with God. Hebrew sacrifices stress the giving (focus on God) and not focus on self. Often as we have described above, an animal was killed so that its blood (life itself) could be offered to God. The death of the animal was not emphasized; giving it completely to God was. Offering correct sacrifices was important; the entire Book of Leviticus records laws governing sacrifices.

To situate this discussion on Sacrifice within the understanding of the Mass therefore, let us return to the Baltimore Catechism (BC) which with very clear and summarized terms, expresses the connection between the Biblical Sacrifice and the Sacrifice of the Cross which in essence, is commemorated and reenacted in the Holy Mass. Restating the response to Q.926 of the BC on “Sacrifice”, we ought to note that, “(a) By his very nature man wants to adore and thank his Creator. Men, mistaken at times about the nature of the true God, have offered false worship; but they have always recognized the obligation of adoring the Supreme Being. As far back as the history of man is recorded, there is evidence that men acknowledged their dependence on the Supreme Being by offering sacrifices to Him. (b) Before the coming of Christ, sacrifices were offered to God in many different ways. The patriarchs and Jewish priests at the command of God offered fruits, wine, or animals as victims. Cain, for example, offered fruits; Abel offered some sheep of his flock; Melchisedech offered bread and wine. The destruction of these offerings removed them from man's use and thereby signified that God is the Supreme Lord and Master of the entire created universe and that man is wholly dependent upon Him for everything. Sacrifice, therefore, is the most perfect way for man to worship God. (c) All these different sacrifices of the Old Law were only figures of the sacrifice which Christ was to make of Himself. His offering of Himself on the cross was the greatest sacrifice ever offered to God. All the sacrifices of the Old Law derived their efficacy or value, from the sacrifice which Christ was to offer on the cross.”

Now let us enunciate further, this doctrine of the Mass as a sacrifice. According to the comparative history of religions, four things are necessary to a sacrifice: (1.) a sacrificial gift (res oblata), (2.) a sacrificing minister (minister legitimus), (3.) a sacrificial action (actio sacrificica), and (4.) a sacrificial end or object (finis sacrificii).

With a very interesting explanation as regard the foregoing, the OCE states from what is implied in the Biblical Letter to the Hebrews and in the Magisterium of the Church, that in contrast with sacrifices in the figurative or less proper sense, the sacrificial gift must exist in physical substance, and must be really or virtually destroyed (animals slain, libations poured out, other things rendered unfit for ordinary uses), or at least really transformed, at a fixed place of sacrifice (ara, altare), and offered up to God. As regards the person offering, it is not permitted that any and every individual should offer sacrifice on his own account. In the revealed religion, as in nearly all heathen religions, only a qualified person (usually called priest, sacerdos, lereus), who has been given the power by commission or vocation, may offer up sacrifice in the name of the community.

Futhermore, according to the OCE, after Moses, the priests authorized by law in the Old Testament belonged to the tribe of Levi, and more especially to the house of Aaron (Heb. 5:4). Christ Himself received and exercised His High Priesthood, not by the arrogation of authority but by virtue of a Divine call, and he offered up the one true sublime Sacrifice of the New Law, which is reenacted in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Back to Top
Theory of Hope
» By Rev. Fr. Leonard O. Anetekhai
A little boy tried to explain his dream to his father one early morning about Nigeria as a nation, and his explanation went thus; I see our story as Nigerians and our existence, which comforts us in the midst of our national disappointments as fading away and better days coming ahead of us. I see us having a genuine leader with a clear vision. The leader will be selfless and responsible. He will erase the lost years of barrenness and emptiness. He will fight for all people regardless of their ethnicity, religious background and money in their bank accounts. He will insist in equality among every citizen and fight for the common good of his people. To demonstrate this, he will go after the thugs that sit in the Senate and House of Representatives, hiding under the guise of 'nay' and 'I' to cripple our economy and bring them to book and pay back what they have stolen. At the end, he said, we pray O Lord.

In his response, the father said, my son, we dreamt like this, years back, and today what we have, are leaders who with their actions have told us as Nigerians, that they agree with us in theory, but in practice, things will not work our way, but in their own way. Even those we voted for out of goodwill, that goodluck will lead us out of our predicament, has made many believe that a lot is wrong with Nigeria. All is not well; from health care, security, infrastructure, education to the falling value of workers take home pay, the conclusion is that Jonathan's government has failed. Apparently, some would disagree, but looking from the eyes of children who go to bed with just a meal and sometime no meal at all, or families whose loved ones have died in their prime, to preventable diseases or the death traps we call national roads, the truth is Nigeria is not working for most people. All we see and hear is theory of hope and not of practice.

We were promised fresh air during the campaign of Mr. President, but the many afflictions of the minority Christian groups under the siege of Boko Haram attack in the North, the families of those who lost loved ones in the Dana Air crash, the families of the four undergraduates lynched in Aluu and the families of those murdered in Mubi, Adamawa State, tells a lot about our decayed system of government, a system that is stagnant, a system wherein most Nigerians run their own “local government council” in their own little way, provide electricity for themselves, depend on borehole water and not water from dams, and most horrible, live in fear because of government insensitivity to security issues.

Every day many people die in ill-equipped hospitals from diseases that have long been eradicated in other parts of the world. Millions are unemployed, and millions are on the verge of starvation, and looking back beyond 1998, before the start of democracy, it will not be out of place to say, as a Nation we have experienced shattered dreams, lost opportunities, dashed hopes and experienced the violence that has become the Nigerian story a theory of hope. After 52 years of Independence, we seem to be in a state of hopelessness, with so many theories and no practice. For some average Nigerian, a strong religious faith in the afterlife is the only hope, while for others the inherent frustration has been substituted with uncompromising corruption and insensitivity to each other's needs, turning to alcohol and other socially deviant norms is the order of the day, because of our state of disillusion and hopelessness in what the future holds for us as a Nation.

Many theories have been propounded, and we still await the actualization of statement like - When I presented the 2012 Budget, you will recall, I emphasized the fact that it would be “a stepping-stone to the transformation of our economy and country in our walk to economic freedom ...”. I am glad to report that we have made progress in this regard. Today, in the face of critical resource constraints, the defining moment of our work is in actualizing our promises to Nigerians. We need to create a structured economy where everybody plays by the same rules, and contributes their fair bit. That is the Nigeria our heroes past craved for; that is the Nigeria we believe in; and that is the Nigeria we are building together.

The 2013 budget has been presented with the theory of hope, that, Government is determined to reduce the cost of governance by reviewing the recommendations aimed at rationalizing Agencies of the Federal Government with overlapping functions. For Mr. President, It is a budget that gives priority to our concerns for security, infrastructure, food security and human development sectors. It is a Budget that introduces a series of innovative features. This Budget is a push in the right direction borne out of our well thought-out and articulated developmental policies that will drive for real and sustainable growth for the wellbeing of Nigerians.

This theory called budget is claimed to be for every Nigerian, for every farmer, investor, entrepreneur, for the youths and elderly. The question I beg to ask is where is the fruit of previous theories in the lives of Nigerians? It is not enough to speak from printed paper and tell Nigerians that, ours is the task of transforming opportunities into reality, tangible outcomes which all our people can experience and call their own. Making things work is what we need, life now is every man to himself. We slept in 2011, only to wake up to see fuel price at 140 in 2012, which Nigerians are still buying today after twelve months with adjusted meters in virtually all filling stations, in the name of selling for 97, 110 or thereabout, only God knows where and at what point we shall wake up from in 2013.

We are just two years to hit the United Nations magic year, 2015, Nigeria still continues to score low on all the indices that would make life meaningful to the citizenry Religious strife, incompetent and corrupt leadership as well as deteriorating resources have made Nigeria a Hobbesian state, where life is nasty, brutish and short.

In the words of Omar, '…the hardship Nigerians are enduring now is slightly higher than what they were enduring at the end of last year, So, I think it would be unthinkable for government to want to compound the problems of the common man. So, let us hope and I add, we pray too that 2013 is going to come with good hopes and with a lot of prospects for everybody in this country.''
Back to Top
Children And The Right To Life: The Nigerian Experience
» By Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosime
“Robin Jones, RN, CNM, stepped into the maternity ward of a hospital in Nigeria; she was met by a wall of silence. In the corner of the room, she saw a motionless baby. Something was desperately wrong, but Robin knew immediately how to make things right. As the baby boy's life slipped away, the attendant Nigerian nurse hovered nearby, watchful but just as powerless as the despondent mother, because she wasn't trained to perform new-born resuscitation. Drawing on her previous experience, both in the US and as a veteran physician for Peace volunteer in rural Africa, Robin moved fast and fashioned a rudimentary resuscitation mask from the top of a water bottle. The makeshift mask fit perfectly above the baby's nose and mouth. Robin worked to revive the new-born, using techniques from both countries. After an hour-long fight, the baby could breathe, and his grateful mother could finally rejoice in the birth of her precious son”.

The case of the dying Child that was providentially resuscitated by Robin gives inkling into the dilemma of the Nigerian Child and the threat to his right to life. While there are different factors that threaten and oppose the Child's right to life in the world, the Nigerian Child suffers this from all corners: from his vulnerability as a minor, through his defencelessness to the unavailability of provisions to promote life, poverty, inexperience personnel at various levels, inadequate paediatric knowledge, inefficient laws, etc. The case of the Nigerian Child and his experience to the right of life is metaphoric of the State of Nature where it was survival of the fittest. Only the Child with a proverbial backbone survives it to live and grow healthily. The child right to life with all its attendant understanding can be said to be the most breached in Nigeria. Added to this, Nigeria is reputed to have the highest child mortality rate in Africa and among the top five countries with high mortality rate for kids in the world. It is confirmed that no fewer than 90,000 children die yearly through pneumonia-related disease in Nigeria for instance. The cases of child mortality seem not to be simmering down appropriately. It still suffers a staggering rate downward from the scandalously escalated rate at a time reduction of mortality rate among children under five by two-thirds is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The progress of any country is dependent on how healthy the children are and a country that pays no attention to the right to life of her children is steeped on the sloppy lane of self-annihilation. Gabriel Mistrel, Chile's Nobel Prize winner wrote: “We are guilty of many errors and faults. But our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we do can wait, the Child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed. His blood is being made and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer, 'Tomorrow', His name is TODAY.” Unless we tackle the case of the Nigerian Child with reference to implementing the right to life of the Child, we may have not worked for our future.

According to the Child's Rights Acts 2003 (section 27), the OAU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Article II) and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 1), a Child is every human being below the age of 18 years. The right to life of a Child is part of the larger understanding of Children's right which is understood to mean the rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young, including their right to association with both biological parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal unpaid education, health care and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child. Section 4 of the Child Rights Act, 2003 states: “Every child has a right to survival and development”. The African Charter on the Right and Welfare of the Child, Article 5 (I & II) state: “Every child has an inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. State parties to the present charter shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival, protection and development of the child”. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 33, paragraph 1 states: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”

The Child's right to life is thus expressly understood to mean both the right to life and the right to good living. While the former touches on the principle of existence, the latter touches on the principle of right support for one's existence. We have life when we can breathe and we can talk of living well when we are under the right conditions that seek to preserve this life. The right to life for children encompasses the right not to be killed. This is the formal interdiction against intentionally causing the death of a child. This implies that the child would not be subject to the death penalty as well as effectively protect the lives of children and condemning acts of infanticide and other conditions that undermine life or a good quality of life. It also involves the right to survival and child's suitable development. It is the right to benefit from appropriate health care, a balanced diet and a quality education, as well as being able to live in a healthy environment. This right covers both the unborn child and the born child till 18 years of age. Any bill that supports abortion at any level undermines this right.

The Child right to life is one aspect of the entire Child Right Acts that suffers a lot of breaches. Children suffer from the overt capitalist systems of the world and the various anti-poor policies of the world. This spirals the nightmarish experience of many children in the world. In Nigeria, the right to life is trampled in many ways from the various forms of abortion, the notorious and ubiquitous forms of child labour, through child trafficking, child neglect, public violence on children, jungle justice meted on vulnerable children, police brutality against children, sexual violations, assaults, through the non-welfare health programmes for children and countless more. In 2005, it was reported in the Daily Independent Breaking News of Monday, March 21 how an SS3 student was beaten to death in Owode-Egba Grammar School, Ogun State by a teacher for refusing to contribute N20 meant for Send-forth party for a member of the National Youth Service Corp, (NYSC) in the school. This is only an apercu of the myriad cases in point. The Domestic violence against children is numerous and these flagrantly and arrogantly undermines the Child's right to life.

The disquieting ruptures of the Nigerian Child's right to life are even more evident in Health situations. Nigeria has a very high infant mortality rate, 93.93 per 1000 births. This compares to 6.31/1000 births in the US. This is attributable to the collapse of public health care. To show an even more health compromise in the public health of children in Nigeria, the National Malaria Control Project, Federal Ministry of Health shows that 300,000 Nigerian Children die of malaria annually, while 4 out of every 10 children are infected by malaria parasite. Nigeria is also the World's most endemic in the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. According to the Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Mr. Michael Sidible noted: “We have today 70,000 babies born every year with HIV in Nigeria” (This Day, 29, April 2012).

“Robin Jones, RN, CNM, stepped into the maternity ward of a hospital in Nigeria; she was met by a wall of silence. In the corner of the room, she saw a motionless baby. Something was desperately wrong, but Robin knew immediately how to make things right. As the baby boy's life slipped away, the attendant Nigerian nurse hovered nearby, watchful but just as powerless as the despondent mother, because she wasn't trained to perform new-born resuscitation. Drawing on her previous experience, both in the US and as a veteran physician for Peace volunteer in rural Africa, Robin moved fast and fashioned a rudimentary resuscitation mask from the top of a water bottle. The makeshift mask fit perfectly above the baby's nose and mouth. Robin worked to revive the new-born, using techniques from both countries. After an hour-long fight, the baby could breathe, and his grateful mother could finally rejoice in the birth of her precious son”.

The case of the dying Child that was providentially resuscitated by Robin gives inkling into the dilemma of the Nigerian Child and the threat to his right to life. While there are different factors that threaten and oppose the Child's right to life in the world, the Nigerian Child suffers this from all corners: from his vulnerability as a minor, through his defencelessness to the unavailability of provisions to promote life, poverty, inexperience personnel at various levels, inadequate paediatric knowledge, inefficient laws, etc. The case of the Nigerian Child and his experience to the right of life is metaphoric of the State of Nature where it was survival of the fittest. Only the Child with a proverbial backbone survives it to live and grow healthily. The child right to life with all its attendant understanding can be said to be the most breached in Nigeria. Added to this, Nigeria is reputed to have the highest child mortality rate in Africa and among the top five countries with high mortality rate for kids in the world. It is confirmed that no fewer than 90,000 children die yearly through pneumonia-related disease in Nigeria for instance. The cases of child mortality seem not to be simmering down appropriately. It still suffers a staggering rate downward from the scandalously escalated rate at a time reduction of mortality rate among children under five by two-thirds is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The progress of any country is dependent on how healthy the children are and a country that pays no attention to the right to life of her children is steeped on the sloppy lane of self-annihilation. Gabriel Mistrel, Chile's Nobel Prize winner wrote: “We are guilty of many errors and faults. But our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we do can wait, the Child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed. His blood is being made and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer, 'Tomorrow', His name is TODAY.” Unless we tackle the case of the Nigerian Child with reference to implementing the right to life of the Child, we may have not worked for our future.

According to the Child's Rights Acts 2003 (section 27), the OAU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Article II) and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 1), a Child is every human being below the age of 18 years. The right to life of a Child is part of the larger understanding of Children's right which is understood to mean the rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young, including their right to association with both biological parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal unpaid education, health care and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child. Section 4 of the Child Rights Act, 2003 states: “Every child has a right to survival and development”. The African Charter on the Right and Welfare of the Child, Article 5 (I & II) state: “Every child has an inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. State parties to the present charter shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival, protection and development of the child”. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 33, paragraph 1 states: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”
Back to Top
Dialogue And Conscience
» By Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua
I do not know how many people will agree with Socrates, the ancient philosopher of Athens that “no person does evil willfully. For those who killed Jesus, He prayed: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23, 34). St. Paul wrote to the Romans: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7, 15). In civil law, a suspect is not called a criminal until there is enough evidence that the crime under investigation was committed with full knowledge and volition. The human person is so complex that science has not been able to comprehend the dynamics of the totality of human actions. Even Medical Science can not boast of a complete knowledge of human anatomy. Many factors are involved in the analysis of human actions and acts of man. For instance, conscience is formed by environment, culture, religion and education. These define the world view and horizon of a person. These also determine the level of reception of a person in dialogue. Theologically, true Conscience is the voice of God in a person. It enables a person to judge between good and evil. It helps a person to identify and respect natural laws and civil laws that are derived from divine laws. In psychology, Conscience is the police of the mind that reminds a person of right and wrong while in spirituality conscience is like a guardian angel that directs a person to know the difference between virtue and vice. There are different types of conscience:

• Right/True conscience is good and well formed. It accepts what is good and rejects what is evil.
• Erroneous / False conscience is the power of the mind to wrongly decide that something is lawful whereas it is not.
• Certain conscience is a state of mind that lacks prudence to change a decision even when it is clear that the action is wrong. This may lead to conservatism as in the case of some people who often refer to the holy books to defend their actions.
• Doubtful conscience is the inability of the mind to take a decision.
• Tender conscience is the power of the mind to form correct judgment based on reason.
• Lapse conscience is the error of the mind to take wrong actions lightly.
• Pharisaic Conscience is the act of the mind to see sin in every action. The mind can not act because everything is sinful and the actions of others are critically judged.
• Dead Conscience is the power of the mind to do evil without remorse. It is a complete lost of the sense of feeling for human value as in the case of a “Kakos” in Greek mythology.

Very often we hear some people say: “my conscience is clear”. The immediate question should be whether this clear conscience follows the principle of wisdom and love that naturally corrects whatever injures oneself or another. Does this clear conscience promote the principles of courage, empathy, commitment, acceptance, understanding, love, joy, peace, and liberation? Does this conscience has the noble qualities of love, respect, charity, compassion, reconciliation, uprightness, brotherhood, generosity, hospitality, humility, forgiveness, patience, perseverance, politeness, gratitude, service and sincerity? According to Dr. Vincent E. Rush, “when you violate a value that is residing in your innermost judgment, you commit psychological suicide because you lose your self-respect. And when you lose your self-respect, you have lost it all. If love is giving, if love is sharing, you have to believe you are somebody in order to give”.

The formation of character and conscience begin from the very day of conception. The condition of a pregnant mother has a lot to contribute to the formation of the child. Pregnant mothers react differently to the environment and persons. There are some who are easily irritated and easily get angry. This according to some psychologists sometimes affects the fetus. It has been discovered by some empirical psychologists that even the period of birth has a lot of influence on the baby. For instance, if a mother is in the process of giving birth, clasps her legs while the head of the baby is already coming out, the baby is likely going to suffer some psychological defects like:

• The baby will grow up to be afraid of narrow spaces. That means that the baby will not be able to pass through a tunnel. Such a child may not be able to pass a military test and consequently may not be able to be a valiant soldier
• The baby will be afraid of heights. That is to say, may not be able to live in a storey building or climb high mountains.

In the early stages of life, the external manifestations that are stored in the memory of a baby could have some positive or negative effect when the baby becomes an adult. There are some people for instance who would not like to see certain faces. This faces are hated and absolutely detested. What could be responsible for this? It is likely that a person with a similar face must have done something terrible to the person when he or she was a baby. There are others who do not want to associate with people from a particular tribe either because they have had ugly memories of the tribe or heard from others negative stories of the tribe in question without proper enquiry. There are people who detest certain actions no matter how noble and interesting. It is likely that the person must have received these actions as a child in a very ugly or violent passion. For example, there is a story of a lady who detested and hated sex with passion. When ever the husband approached her for sex, she screamed and shouted: Rapist! Rapist! Thief! Robber! It was later discovered that when she was 12 years old, armed robbers raped her violently. That painful experience gave her a negative impression of sex and men.

There are some personality disorders that can appear in childhood and later become obstacles to dialogue. Some of the causes of these personality traits may be attributed to inheritance as in the case of children raised in an aggressive environment. Consequently, we should know that a lot of issues are involved in dialogue. We have often been confronted by many people that we have not started dialoguing with the real people. What I understand by REAL here are those who are actually involved in violence for whatever reason to narrate their grievances. For instance, the Federal Government of Nigeria's amnesty programme in the Niger Delta should include in their scheme some scientific capacity to identify the different personality traits and behavioral pattern of the ex-militants as a case study to know why some Nigerians behave the way they do. The prisons should not only be reduced to punitive actions. Reformation of prisoners should have facilities for counseling and psychotherapy. That means that every prison should have the services of psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, logo- therapists, clerics and crafts experts.

Perhaps we can take a scientific and critical look with a sense of empathy at the terrorism in the Northern part of Nigeria. It is important to take a critical look at the environment where these violent activities are being carried out. A proper therapy on the terrorist suspects under arrest should be carried out with an attendant mechanism that would be capable of healing Nigeria of terrorism from the root. Terrorism is not just a political and religious problem but an aspect of abnormal personality that needs a psychological and clinical attention. This is the time for Nigeria to dig deep into her intellectual wealth by identifying Nigerian professors and experts in the various forms of human sciences to heal Nigeria of human abnormalities that is crippling the nation.
Back to Top
The Human Heart
» By Pharm. Nzewi
What God laid down in the human being is marvelous and amazing and above all testifying to the supremacy of God. The human being who appears physically simple harbours a lot of delicate organs with so many intricacies, performing delicate functions .These organs are on their own performing certain functions to achieve what keeps a person healthy and alive. Basically these organs need no contribution from man in effecting their activities but man can through his lifestyle disturb this function thereby introducing a disorder that can be fatal. If you must live a healthy life even at old age, you must strive to understand some facts about your body and the organs there. This way you will surely avoid the many untimely death and early grave that has overcome so many people. The internal organs include the heart, the kidney, the brain, the liver, the pancreas, the bladder, the womb, the reproductive organs, the organs involved in the respiratory system, the urinary system etc. While man can do without some organs such as the womb, the loss of an organ such as the heart or the kidney will lead to death.

We want to talk about the human heart. Associated with the heart are the blood vessels and blood circulation. This link brought about the word CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM. Cardio (heart), and vascular (blood Vessel).

The heart is situated between the two lungs and behind the chest (sternum) in the thorax. It is surrounded by a tough sac called the pericardium. The pericardium has a space between its inner and outer layers and this space is filled with a fluid called the pericardial fluid. This fluid reduces the friction between the heart wall and the surrounding tissues when the heart is beating. Also overfilling of the heart with blood or overstretching of the heart is prevented by the inelastic nature of the surrounding pericardium. The heart consists of four chambers. The two upper ones called the atria are thick, while the two lower chambers known as the ventricles are thick. The circulated blood returns to the heart through the veins. From the veins the blood enters the atria which then pump the blood to the ventricles which in turn pump it into arteries. The right side of the heart which consists of the Right atrium and Right ventricle is completely separated from the left side made of up of the Left atrium the Left ventricle. The Right side is handling the blood which has gone round the body and has given up its oxygen content to the cells. This is why this blood is called deoxygenated blood. The Left side of the heart is dealing with oxygenated blood. This is the blood that passing through the lungs receives oxygen and gave up carbon dioxide at respiration (breathing in and breathing out). This blood enters the heart through the Left atrium. The circulation to and from the lungs is called the pulmonary circulation. The pulmonary circulation starts from the pumping of the Right ventricles and the blood goes to the lungs, gets oxygenated and returns to the Left atrium, into the Left ventricle from where the blood is pumped round the body. This circulation is called systemic circulation.
The first stage of human existence is the embryo. This embryo has a heart which starts beating at about 2l days of conception. The heart has some specialized cells that can generate electrical stimuli and cause the muscle of the heart to contract. The different cells of the heart performing different important functions and at the same time has a coordinated activities bring about the expected normal heart function. The activity of the heart begins from the control given to it by the sympathetic nervous system of the brain. This nervous system stimulates the Sino Arterial (SA) of the heart, and penetrates most heart tissue triggering off some physiological activities to bring about the normal function of the heart include the rhythm. Anything that interferes with this given trend will cause some problems to the heart. Whenever the SA node is not the controlling pace maker, the heart be suffers adequate coordination .This may also bring about inefficient pumping by the heart and inefficient circulation of blood.

As people age, they become prone to diseases of the heart and blood vessels and also cancers. An early habit of good lifestyle can offer you a healthy ageing process. Exercise is heart protective. Avoid consumption of red meat as much as possible, goat pepper soup, cooking with water from boiled meat, saturated fats (source of bad cholesterol). Avoid cigarette, alcohol, kola nuts, and coffee. Obesity and diabetes can also facilitate cardiovascular disorders.
Back to Top
Auchi Diocese Holds Christmas Carol

Bello Benedicta

The Catholic Diocese of Auchi, has recently held their annual Christmas festival of Nine lessons and carols tagged “fear not the Lord has come”, at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.

In his Christmas message, the Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, noted that Christ has been born unto us, to take away our fears. He stressed that fear is one of the basic problems of many, but the birth of Christ has brought the Good news which has dispelled all forms of darkness.

Continuing, the Chief shepherd of the Diocese who tasked the faithful to shun fear as it has hindered their effort towards attaining success in life, added that fear is the greatest problem of man, since the devil often use it to intimidate people in order to hold them capture, while urging them to ignore anxiety, as even when Mary was afraid, the angel urged her to be firm in God.

The Shepherd of souls harped on the need for faithful to turn to God as He is the only one that can remove fear from their lives, pointing out that God was aware of all their anxieties and worries hence it was repeatedly explained in the Holy Bible, on the need to believe in the power of God who would conquer their fears in life.

Further, the Bishop wished all present a fruitful Christmas celebration, praying that as they celebrate the birth of Christ who is the saviour of the world, God will take away their fears.

Welcoming all present to the occasion earlier, Rev Fr. Francis Ikhianosimhe, appreciated the Bishop for attending the ceremony, noting that the event has become an annual event and enjoined all present to see the event as an opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Giving the vote of thanks, the Cathedral Administrator Rev Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai who commended the Bishop of the Diocese for attending the event, praised the effort of the sponsor of the programme, Sir S.K Ilugbekhai, for his continuous support, while appreciating the priests, religious and all parishes and mass centre as well as the Anglican church choir for the 2012 edition of the celebration and wished them journey mercies to their various destinations.

Highpoint of the celebration were rendition of Christmas songs in various languages, chorography and distribution of gift items by Father Christmas.

Some of the priests present were Very Rev Fr. Isaac Bossey, the vicar General of the Diocese, Rev Frs. Gregory Ogbenika, Leonard Anetekhai, Alfred Ebalu, Gregory Onimhawo, Paul Inanoreme, Godstime Irabor, Kingsley Okodugha and others.

The Bishop Emeritus of Orlu Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gregory Ochiagha, has again tasked Catholic faithful to be good ambassadors of Christ and defenders of the truth in all circumstances, stressing that charity and truth are the treasures of God's kingdom.

He made this known while delivering a homily at the mass to mark the centenary celebration of the ecclesiastical province of Owerri at Maria Assumpta podium, Owerri, Imo state.

Describing the Catholic Church as the only authentic church established by Christ on earth, Bishop Ochiagha pointed out that the church is a “… community of faith, hope and charity, a visible organization through which Christ communicates the truth and grace to all men” and commended the missionaries and first recipients of the faith for their commitment, dedication and collaboration to bequeath the Catholic faith to the present generation.

Continuing, the Bishop emeritus who cautioned all present to be careful of the kind of live they are living, outlined the problems of Nigeria to include gross lack of discipline and lack of love for fatherland, selfishness and lack of patriotism. He however expressed optimism that “when the functionaries of the church demonstrate love of church and fatherland in words and action ….then the tides will change”. He further sued for the setting up of a committee by each local church to draw up a programme to focus on standards, noting that members of such committee should be pastoral workers, versed in the gospel, to serve as agents of evangelization.

In his address, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, also congratulated the province on their centenary celebration and commended the early missionaries and the first recipients of the faith in the area for their cooperation in ensuring the growth of the faith in their area.

Further, Cardinal Filoni noted that “with the celebration of the Eucharist, we are also giving thanks and praise to our Lady, our Mother and Mother of the Church” while describing her as the greatest model of discipleship in the life and times of the church, and admonished faithful that “like Holy Mother Mary, let us commit ourselves as a Christian community to evangelize remembering that evangelization is an expression of universal love to witness to others, the new life in Christ and to proclaim Christ's message of hope, is to love them”.

In his goodwill message sent on behalf of the Holy father Pope Benedict XVI, the secretary of state at the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, noted that “among difficulties and hardships, the Gospel of God's grace was embraced with noble, open hearts and has produced many fruits of renewal including a profusion of Christian virtue, reconciliation and abundant vocations both to the priesthood and to the consecrated life”.

He prayed that “commemoration will bring ever greater growth among you of the new life in the Holy Spirit who gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, godliness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Further, the Holy father encouraged all present to grow in their commitment to Christ and to the church as a communion open to all peoples, to a life nourished by the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist and expressed in the practice of the two great commandments of love of God and of neighbour.


Bishop Ochiagha Task Catholics To Be Defender Of Truth

The Bishop Emeritus of Orlu Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gregory Ochiagha, has again tasked Catholic faithful to be good ambassadors of Christ and defenders of the truth in all circumstances, stressing that charity and truth are the treasures of God's kingdom.

He made this known while delivering a homily at the mass to mark the centenary celebration of the ecclesiastical province of Owerri at Maria Assumpta podium, Owerri, Imo state.

Describing the Catholic Church as the only authentic church established by Christ on earth, Bishop Ochiagha pointed out that the church is a “… community of faith, hope and charity, a visible organization through which Christ communicates the truth and grace to all men” and commended the missionaries and first recipients of the faith for their commitment, dedication and collaboration to bequeath the Catholic faith to the present generation.

Continuing, the Bishop emeritus who cautioned all present to be careful of the kind of live they are living, outlined the problems of Nigeria to include gross lack of discipline and lack of love for fatherland, selfishness and lack of patriotism. He however expressed optimism that “when the functionaries of the church demonstrate love of church and fatherland in words and action ….then the tides will change”. He further sued for the setting up of a committee by each local church to draw up a programme to focus on standards, noting that members of such committee should be pastoral workers, versed in the gospel, to serve as agents of evangelization.

In his address, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of peoples, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, also congratulated the province on their centenary celebration and commended the early missionaries and the first recipients of the faith in the area for their cooperation in ensuring the growth of the faith in their area.

Further, Cardinal Filoni noted that “with the celebration of the Eucharist, we are also giving thanks and praise to our Lady, our Mother and Mother of the Church” while describing her as the greatest model of discipleship in the life and times of the church, and admonished faithful that “like Holy Mother Mary, let us commit ourselves as a Christian community to evangelize remembering that evangelization is an expression of universal love to witness to others, the new life in Christ and to proclaim Christ's message of hope, is to love them”.

In his goodwill message sent on behalf of the Holy father Pope Benedict XVI, the secretary of state at the Vatican, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, noted that “among difficulties and hardships, the Gospel of God's grace was embraced with noble, open hearts and has produced many fruits of renewal including a profusion of Christian virtue, reconciliation and abundant vocations both to the priesthood and to the consecrated life”.

He prayed that “commemoration will bring ever greater growth among you of the new life in the Holy Spirit who gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, godliness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Further, the Holy father encouraged all present to grow in their commitment to Christ and to the church as a communion open to all peoples, to a life nourished by the celebration of the liturgy, especially the Eucharist and expressed in the practice of the two great commandments of love of God and of neighbour.



Use New Social Media In Championing Evangelization Goals - Fr. Uwah

Ibharayi Wilson

The need for Catholics to use the new social media in championing a new course for evangelization goals has again been stressed.

This was contained in a lecture delivered by Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Innocent Ebere Uwah, a lecturer in the Department of Communication, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, titled “citizen journalism in the context of evangelization: the place of digital social media in church communication”, at Bishop Kelly Pastoral centre Benin City.

Continuing, Fr. Uwah who noted that social networks allow the exchange of textual, visual and video information among participants, added that it can connect audiences across boards and boarders at the same time, affirming that the sociality or socializing nature of the digital networks is found not only on the nature of the sites but also on the psychology of human beings to satisfy the desire to connect, communicate and share life with others.

Further, the resource person explained that citizen journalism is self empowerment of individuals in reporting cases from their own perspectives with the use of digital technologies, assenting that they are not constrained by conventional journalism processes or methodologies as they usually function without editorial oversight, pointing out that “citizen journalism can be extended to evangelization in and outside the church and especially with the new multifaceted digital frontiers be made to appeal to younger generation while sustaining the faith of users”.

More, Fr. Uwah hinted that “in the light of present day social networking devices, therefore, the argument here is that dioceses and individuals in the Catholic Church can report religious event that highlightes human angle…” adding that if effectively utilized it would help in propagating and spreading the gospel of Christ to all.

Also, in his lecture titled “from facebook to faceGod:. A case study of an online evangelization webpage”, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Walter Ihejirika who is the Head Department of Communication studies, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State advocated the appropriation of the new media for the purpose of evangelization, explaining that “facebook helps people to interact and share with friends and loved one. It can also help to interact with our God, that is face our God…”, while tasking them to make use of modern means of communication to spread the word of God to all, and enjoined all those using it wrongly to desist from it as it was not meant for people of such, but for one to share personal experiences with others.

Other papers presented at the event were “harnessing social media for new evangelization in Nigeria” by Rev. Fr. Joseph Faniran, “Unveiling the diocesan Easy-P” by Rev. Fr. Gabriel O. P and “Enhancing the CNSNg Networking partnership/critique of print organs of Diocese” by Otunba Jide Fadugba Pinheiro.


Catholic Media Workers Hold Workshop In Benin City
… As Archbishop Akubeze Task Them On Evangelization

Ibharayi Wilson

As part of efforts to further enhance effective performance by the Catholic media workers in the era of modern information communication technology, the directorate of social communications, Catholic secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), has recently, organized a two day workshop for Diocesan Directors of Communication and Catholic Media Practitioners in the old Lagos Province, at Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre, Benin City.

Delivering the homily at the opening mass, the Archbishop of Archdiocese of Benin City, Most Rev. (Dr.) Augustine Akubeze who welcomed participants to the Archdiocese, appreciated God for bringing them safely to Benin City, noting that the workshop which consist of participant from three provinces; Archdiocese of Lagos, Ibadan and Benin, would further intimate media workers on how to use the new media for evangelization of the people of God.

Continuing, Archbishop Akubeze tasked participants not to be discouraged even in the face of challenges, stressing that truth and balance reportage should be their outmost priority, adding that they should be prepared to face all kinds of opposition from friends and family members. He pointed out that the church needs men and women who will hold on to the truth and be ready to defend the work of God at all times, while urging them to shun any act of manipulations that will make their reports not to be objective, noting that the church has suffered a lot in the hands of the media.

Further, the prelate emphasized that evangelization of faithful is very important and charged all present to use their medium to promote and teach the true gospel of Christ.

Welcoming participants to the workshop, the Director of social Communications Archdiocese of Benin, very Rev Fr. Stephen Okojie, who represented the Archbishop of Benin City, Most Rev. Augustine O. Akubeze, appreciated all present, noting that the workshop was timely, as the principal task of the church is the evangelization of the people; as it is a great commission given by Jesus Christ, hence, it is aimed at the salvation of humanity without discrimination of any sort, adding that the church has continued to carry out this mission since the day of Pentecost and will not relent until all are brought to the joy of heaven, using the various media.

Fr. Okojie affirmed that the gains of the media in evangelization cannot be overemphasized, stressing that attention should be on how to make good use of the media in the propagation of the church's mission of evangelization. He noted that there is urgent need to flood the media with the truth of the gospel, while urging participants to use their talent to correct the distorted image of the church through positive reportage and wished them a fruitful deliberation.

In his keynote address, the Director of Social communications Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Abuja, Rev. Fr. Raph Madu, who represented the Chairman of Directorate of Social Communications CBCN, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, commended the Archdioceses, dioceses, as well as media workers present for attending the workshop, noted that the workshop was to make Catholic media workers be on the same page with the secular journalist. Further, he hinted that the workshop was also to update them on the modern aspect of social communication and how to use it for evangelization, while tasking all Catholic media worker to be concerned with how to use the media effectively for evangelization.

Fr. Madu also enjoined participants to always be a part in ensuring that Christian principles are visible in the discharge of their duties, while commending the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Benin, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, for his support in making the event possible, thanked all present for attending the event and charged Communication Directors to educate their correspondents at their dioceses and parishes, on their role in modern journalism.

The event also featured paper presentation by various resource persons on topical issues.

St James Children Hold Christmas Party

In the spirit of Christmas, the Sunday school department of St. James Mass centre water board, Auchi, has celebrated their 2012 Christmas party , thanking God for a successful year.

Giving her speech at the opening of the event, the coordinator of the children's department Lady Roseline Ogbemeh, thanked the children for gracing the occasion, while commending the parents present for their encouragement , support and prayers which has made the section grow from strength to strength, stressing that without them, the section wouldn't have succeeded.

She also thanked the Rector, Rev Fr. Francis Emodogo, for being a strong supporter of the children's department, who spares nothing to see that the children and teachers are comfortable and prayed God to bless him for all his good works in the church.

While congratulating the children for the grace to witness another Christmas party, the coordinator pointed out that the good behaviour of the children shows that the teachers are up and doing, noting that St. James children department is the best in the diocese, owing to the level of dedication and commitment of the teachers.

More, she tasked the children to endeavour to put into practice all they have learnt as they continue the festive merriment, warning against being lazy at home during the holiday.

Further, Lady Ogbeme called on parents who are yet to allow their children to attend Sunday school classes, to endeavour to allow them, stressing that the children learn faster in the Sunday school classes.

Thereafter, there were quiz, competition between the boys and girls' group, dance competition, bible recitation as well as a visit to Father Christmas, who was on hand to entertain the children.

In his closing remarks, the rector of the church Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo, appreciated all the teachers for a successful outing and prayed God to bless them all, while commending the children on their orderly conduct. He thereafter led the closing prayers.


St Theresa Fugar Send Forth Fr. Oshiokede

Catherine Izuagie

The Parishioners of St. Theresa Catholic church, Fugar have recently organized a send forth party in honour of their out gone assistant parish Administrator, Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oshikede who has been posted to Mary Mother of God parish, Okpekpe.

In his remarks the parish Administrator Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika who praised the parishioners for attending the event, appreciated the out gone assistant parish administrator for contributing to the growth and development of the parish, while charging him to continue in the good steps he displayed when he was in Fugar and prayed God to strengthen him to enable him succeed in his ministry.

On his part, the parish laity chairman Mr. Moses Onwumuma who appreciated God in the life of the celebrant, noted that he has been elevated to enable him serve the people of God and enumerated his virtues to include humility, dynamic and steadfastness in discharging his duties, while commending him for his contribution to the development of the parish, Mr. Onwumuma added that his elevation was for a higher responsibility and urged him to keep the flag flying.

In his response Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oshiokede thanked God for making the event possible, appreciated the parish administrator Rev. Fr. Gregory Ogbenika and the entire parishioners for organizing the send forth party in his honour and prayed God to bless them accordingly.

The celebration also featured presentation of gift items to the out gone priest by parishioners, individuals and groups.

Diocesan CWO Gets New Executive

Catherine Izuagie

The Catholic Diocese of Auchi Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), has put in place a new executive to run their affairs in the next three years. The election was conducted at St. James mass centre water board, during their recently concluded diocesan seminar.

During the inauguration ceremony, the provincial CWO president Mrs. T. O. Enahoro, who tasked the newly elected executive to work in unity to further enhance their activities in the diocese, noted that a house divided against itself cannot stand, stressing that they should work together to enable them succeed, while calling on all members, to continue to support the executive to enable them attain their set goal.

Addressing the newly elected executive, the out gone president Mrs. C. O. Sumanu who charged the executive to cooperate with members, noted that unity will enable them to succeed.

In her acceptance speech, the newly elected diocesan president Mrs. C. O. Iredia, thanked God for the opportunity given them to serve and expressed their determination to take the group to a higher height, while enjoining members to continue to cooperate with the executive to attain their set goals.

Meanwhile, some of the elected executives were Mrs. Izobo Felicity; Vice president, Mrs. Edeberi Agartha; 2nd Vice president, Mrs. Lawani E. Mabel; secretary, Lady Oniakhena Mabel; Assistant secretary, Mrs. Omoba Regina; Treasurer, Mrs. Izuagie Catherine; Social secretary, Mrs. Imimole Clara; Financial secretary, Mrs. Olori Cecilia; PRO, Mrs. Adekola A. I.; Auditor I, Mrs. Imiere Vero; Auditor II and Mrs. Anae, Veronica D. as provost.


Always Pray For The Dead - Fr. Enegbuma

Catherine Izuagie

Very Rev. Fr Richard Enegbuma, has reiterated the need for Catholic faithful to make it a part of their daily task to book masses for their friends and loved ones that have passed on, stressing that praying for the dead is very important as Catholic .

He stated this recently while delivering a homily at a funeral mass held in honour of Mrs. Catherine Edemode the mother of Dr. John Edemode, a board member of THE PROMISE Newspaper, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Afashio/Afowa, Uzairue.
Fr. Enegbuma, who commiserated with the family of the deceased, commended the children for organizing the funeral mass for their mother and appreciated them for complying with the diocesan directive of two weeks to organize funeral mass for the departed. He added that the deceased was an active Catholic who was always attending masses and a member of CWO, while urging them to emulate her Christian virtues.

Also, the homilist praised the effort of late Mrs. Catherine Edemode for taking adequate care of her children and enjoined all to continue to emulate her, as she was a role model and prayed God to grant her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed eternal rest in His bosom.

Giving his remarks, the parish administrator of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Afashio/Afowa, Uzairue, Rev. Fr. Mark Akhibi, who described the deceased as a leader of BCC and a devout Catholic, commiserated with the family and prayed God to grant her eternal rest.

In his vote of thanks, one of the sons of the deceased, Dr. John Edemode, commended the priests present and all present for attending the funeral mass, described his mother as caring, loving and a devout catholic and prayed God to receive her soul.

The final commendation rite was performed by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Gimah.

GAD Celebrates Graduation Ceremony

Ibharayi Wilson

Gadium Angelis Dei (GAD) Computer Institute Igbe Road, Auchi, has marked their 2012 graduation ceremony with fun filled activities.

Speaking at the ceremony, the seminarian at the Institute, Bro. Germanus Omunagbe, charged the gradaunts to remain steadfast as they have successfully completed their training, stressing that they should always try to make the institute proud in every area they might find themselves in future.

Continuing, Bro. Germanus solicited for more support from all to enable the institute stand out as the best in Auchi and charged the graduants to utilize the knowledge gained from the institute to impact positively on others and urged those who are willing to gain a better knowledge about effective usage of computer to register with them and prayed God to bless all present for making the event worthwhile.

Commending the institute for organizing the graduation party in their honour, one of the gradaunts, Ojo Ruth, praised the effort of the institute in impacting on the present generation the required knowledge of computer, tasked the management of the centre to develop the centre to make it an enviable one in Auchi, while stressing that she would use the packages learnt effectively.

The event also featured drama presentation, chorography, among others.

Ighaewo Holds Parish Laity Election

Maria Odidi

The Catholic Community of All saints Catholic Church Ighaewo, has elected their parish laity council executive to run their affairs in the next three years.

Appreciating members for the co-operation during the election, the diocesan delegate Sir Ayemoba, who conducted the successful election, charged the newly the parishioners to cooperate with the newly elected executive in order to move the parish forward.
In his post election speech, the chairman, Mr. George Odidi, who was re-elected, appreciated the diocesan laity executive for conducting the election, noting that his re-election was an opportunity for him to further contribute to the development and growth of the parish, while tasking the parishioners and the executive to continue to support and work together as a team, to enable them achieve their aims.

Other parishioners who emerged successful at the election to make the executive team were; Mr. Peter Agono; vice chairman, Mrs. Lovelyn Emodogo; Secretary, Kingsley Atenele; Assistant Secretary, Joseph Imhochi; Financial Secretary, and Mrs. Maria Ogbitebu; Treasurer. Others were Mr. Matthew Gomment; Welfare, Mr. Francis Adiomhagbor; PRO I and Mr. Eric Anani; PRO II.

Death Is A Golden Key That Opens The Door To Eternity - Fr. Okhah

Death has been described as the golden key which opens the door to eternity for all. This was the crux of the homily delivered by Rev. Fr. Francis Okhah of the Catholic Diocese of Uromi, at the funeral ceremony of late Christian Usunobun Ukhurebor, at Mary the Queen Catholic church, Ekpoma recently.

Fr. Okhah charged Christians not to see death as a punishment, but a glorious exit to behold the face of God their creator, stressing that death must not be seen as a passage for those who are sick, old, young, but for all who are alive, noting that ill health and unpleasant circumstances may make some people to seek for death but they will not die, while others who are not expecting death are taken too soon even when they are not prepared for it.

While extolling the exemplary life lived by the deceased, the homilist charged all to remember that there is nothing so certain in life except death, as death will certainly come to the old and to the young, hence it is God who has the final say.

Continuing, Fr. Okhah noted that late Christian Ukhurebor who was a talented young man, was brought up in a Christian home, has lived his life and gone before older ones to rest with his maker and called on all to always live a good and holy life, while urging them to prepare for that day, so that it will not be a shock to anyone.

Until his death on Friday 15th November, 2012, in an auto crash along Auchi Agenebode Road, Christian was a member of both the Deanery and the Diocesan Exco choir in Uromi diocese. Also he was a member of the Catholic LAW students Association, A.A.U. Ekpoma, where he graduated as a law student, awaiting his call to law school.

He was aged 26, and will be remembered by his parents, brothers, sisters, friends and associate.

Marriage Is Not A Social Cultural Affair - Bishop Okeke

The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Hillary Okeke, has reiterated the need for pastoral preparations for intending couples before marriage, stressing that pastors of souls should create the enabling environment of faith to show the spouses and others that marriage is a sacred institution and not merely a social cultural affair.

This was contained in his keynote address titled “the pastoral care of the family: mission and challenges” at the 2012 conference of cannon law society of Nigeria, at St. Gabriel spiritual year seminary pastoral and conference centre, Ozubulu, Anambra State.

According to Bishop Okeke “the family is under threat in Africa and there is urgent need for it to be evangelized in order to bring out and display the glory and greatness of African Christian families”, adding that “the threats to the family come from the traditional society and to the modern permissive society.

The Bishop pointed out that “the traditional society by permitting polygamy has jeopardized the unity and peace of the family founded on love, stressing that “the desire for more children, for more social influence, for higher status leading to instrumentalization of women who are now in the marriage as objects and not as persons demanding dignity and equality, also noting that “polygamy creates and fosters the centre of exploitation, domination, division and conflicts which are definitely antithetical to the culture or civilization of love ordained by God for the family”.

Further. Most Rev. Okeke affirmed that “the modern society for its part by encouraging a culture of licentiousness, is cutting off the family from its mooring on the solid foundation of stable heterosexual union” and lamented that “it is unfortunate that people encourage promiscuity in free love, free unions, live-in and other forms of marriage” and described it as an aberration which are inimical to happy family life and values.

Continuing, the Bishop noted that “the church as a family of God, has the mission of protecting the unity, indissolubility and heterosexual nature o f marriage which provides the basis for sound, stable and grace filled families”, stressing that “with her catechesis and discipline of laws, the catholic church provides a system of doctrines and norms, which is meant to protect marriage and families in general and of Catholics from social and cultural aberrations that militate against marriage and the family.

More, the Bishop hinted that “the family must be an educative society”, hence marriage is a mystery which mirrors the mystery of Christ and the church, he added.

Christ The King Marks First Year As A Parish

Judith Agbi

Christ the King Catholic Church, Fugar has celebrated their first year of erection as a parish.

Delivering the homily at the mass to commemorate the event, the parish priest Very Rev. Fr. Richard Enegbuma, who noted that the day was set aside for them to appreciate God for His abundant blessings in the past one year, charged all present to make it a point of duty to always thank God, no matter the situation they might find themselves.

Continuing, Fr. Enegbuma enjoined all present to obey the voice of God, pointing out that if they put God first in their lives, they would lack nothing, adding that it was God that made the success recorded in the parish possible. Hence, they should surrender totally to Him to further attract His favours and blessings while praying God to continue to give them the strength to prosper as individuals and as a parish.

Highpoint of the mass was a thanksgiving procession to the altar by all present in appreciation for the blessing bestowed on them in the past one year.

Meanwhile, a reception was later held at the church premises in honour of the ceremony.

St. Theresa Choir Holds Retreat At Fugar

Catherine Izuagie

The choir of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Fugar has held a one week retreat filled with spiritual activities, to renew and strengthen members.

Delivering a lecture titled “what the choir needs to know and do”, the assistant parish administrator Rev. Fr. Simon Osikwemhe, noted that the major duty of a chorister is to sing to the glory of God, adding that they should use their God given gift to praise God.

Continuing, Fr. Osikwemhe who pointed out that the retreat was an opportunity for the group to look inward and make positive indelible impart on the parishioners through their songs as well as knowing what to do at the right time, tasked them to always carryout any assignment they are given, as the choir has a significant role to play in the church.

Fr. Osikwemhe pointed out that the choir is a core part of a church as their role cannot be overemphasized and charged them to be of good behaviour at all times, while urging them to shun indecent dressing and any act that would create barrier between them and God.

Meanwhile, the weeklong event also featured talks by various individuals which includes Mr. Gabriel Inofuomoh, Mr. Simon Osigwe and Mr. Michael Ikhaghu, an interactive session as well as other activities.

Be Sincere Agents Of Reconciliation Arch. Ndagoso Tells Religious Leaders

The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna Archdiocese Most Rev. Matthew Ndagoso, has harped on the need for religious leaders in the country to be sincere agents of reconciliation and peace in order to ensure the development of the country and peaceful coexistence of all the people, irrespective of their ethnic or religious differences.

He gave this assertion during a homily at the funeral mass in honour of the four victims of Bokoharam bomb attack on St. Rita Catholic Church Badarawa, Kaduna State.

Archbishop Ndagoso noted that “let me once again challenge us, religious leaders to be alive to our responsibilities as agents of reconciliation and peace. We must take the initiative and come together to work for peace. I challenge us, particularly Christians leaders, to make sincere efforts to extend a hand of friendship and fellowship to our Muslims counterparts because this is the way of our Lord and master, the dialoguer per excellence.

According to the prelate “good Christians and Muslims must work together to fish out and fight fanatics and terrorists in the two religions, isolate them and deal with them accordingly” and warned that “if good and honest Christians and Muslims remain silent in the face of terrorists masquerading around as zealots of their religions, we shall continue to suffer the consequences”.

Continuing, Archbishop Ndagoso pointed out that “let me reiterate once again that the challenge we have at hand in the country, especially, the northern part is a war between Christians and Muslims”, adding that “No, Christians and Muslims are not at war with each other. Our country is at war with fanatics and terrorist who are killing innocent Nigerians, regardless of their religion”.

More, the homilist commended the county's security outfits for their efforts in forestalling breakdown of law and order in Kaduna during the attack and called for an improvement in the area of intelligence gathering as well as more commitment and dedication to duty.
Back to Top