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CWO AT 10
Like a whirlwind, the Catholic Women Organization, Diocese of Auchi, celebrates her 10th anniversary in June. This group, one of the parent groups in the Church for all Catholic Mothers, models itself after Mother Mary, the role model for any woman who desires love, peace, respect and godliness to reign in her home.
Though the long walk to attaining this age may not have been easy, but through the difficulties and intimidating challenges, the group has continued to wax stronger, through the intercession of the Mother of Mothers, Virgin Mary, which attests to the various projects executed in the Diocese. Their numbers also, have continued to increase yearly as their physical and spiritual activities have in no small measure facilitated evangelization in all corners of the Diocese.
While it is proper to celebrate and be thankful to God on their one decade of existence, it is imperative for the women, individually, to reflect on their level of commitment and support to the growth of the group. It is saddening to note that, the younger women seldom attend meetings and usually stay away during elections in order to avoid being saddled with leadership responsibilities of the group. Moreover, some are not faithful in their financial responsibility to the growth of the group and are hardly seen in the blue and white attire of the CWO.
Also, this celebration calls for sober reflection on the lifestyle and spiritual growth of women. Each woman should look inward and examine her life if she is actually following the footstep of Mother Mary in her daily interaction, family commitment and responsibility as well as responsiveness to the Church's teachings.
It would be a dishonor to Mother Mary, if as a CWO member, a woman fails in the upbringing of her children in the proper Catholic way, she is not responsive to her family and marital obligations and there is no evidence of Mary-like nature to stir the wheels of evangelization in her neighborhood.
Therefore, we call on every Catholic Mother to make the CWO the enviable group in the Church through her lifestyle and thereby win more souls for Christ. The younger women should bear in mind that when the older women are called home, the mantle of leadership would fall on them. Therefore, they should endeavour to attend meetings and seminars to enable them learn the ropes. Also, the unique uniform of blue and poplin white can it be compared to any other, it is a symbol of godly women patterned after Mother Mary, therefore, CWO members should shun the habit of improper dressing to church functions that requires their uniform, in such manner, they make Mother Mary proud.
Happy celebrations!
Through Mother Mary, we succeed!.
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The Ark In Which The Way, The Truth And Life Must Be Known Exactly
In his valediction, the Lord Jesus decided to console and reconfirm his followers in the faith. Hence, he stated: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). He went on to assure his followers that there are many dwelling places that will be quite more than enough, for all who truly know, and follow him to occupy in the kingdom of God (cf. John 14:2). What is more, he obliged to go and prepare a place where the said dwelling-places are made available for those who are worthy before coming back to take them there (cf. John 14:3). Thomas in his ignorance or mischief told Jesus that they did not know the way to where he, Jesus was going to go, and asked Jesus how they could know the way which Jesus supposed they had known (cf. John 14:5). This necessitated Jesus' affirmative declaration: “Ego sum via et veritas et vita; nemo venit ad patrem nisi per me = I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
This way, the truth and the life must first be known, chosen or accepted, believed in, followed and dwelt in, with the full possession of the supernatural or theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. She or he who truly possesses the preceding virtues and gifts should concomitantly possess and produce other virtues and fruits such as the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance and the fruits of the Holy Spirit (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity) respectively (cf. CCC 1832).
In the history of the tradition of our religion, Christianity, the first and only person known to have possessed and produced respectively the supernatural or theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance and the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the fullest degree is the Mother of our Saviour, the Blessed Virgin Mary. For example, the Angel Gabriel, at the Annunciation, hailed the Blessed Virgin Mary as gratia plena, dominus tecum = “full of grace”, the Lord is with you (Luke 1:28).
Indeed, when the information of the possibility of the Blessed Virgin Mary becoming the Mother of Christ was communicated to her by the Angel, she quickly made some inquiry which led to further clarification by the Angel. With such further clarification the full knowledge of Jesus, the way, the truth and the life was conceived in her heart, mind, spirit and then in the womb. Hence, she conceded and accepted, dwelt in the way, the truth and life and to lead and guard all others to and in the same: “I am the handmaid of the Lord let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38).
What is more, the proof that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the indisputable depository of the way, the truth and life is clearly stated during the visit of the shepherds to Mary and her newly born baby: “As for Mary she treasured and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2: 19). No wonder therefore that the Church gives her the titles: Sedes sapientiae = the seat of wisdom, Mater divina gratiae = Mother of Grace, virgo fidelis = Virgin most faithful, speculum iustitiae = mirror of justice, Ianua caeli = the gate of heaven and so on.
Revealing true blessedness of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the one who truly knows, chooses, believes and dwells in the Way, the Truth and Life, both the woman in the crowd and Jesus declared respectively: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!...Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:27).
We are and can never be tired of proclaiming the fact that it is through the woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary and no other, that humanity can truly know, choose or accept, believe, follow, dwell and possess Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. Amen.
To Jesus through Mary.
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REASONS WHY WE SHOULD CONSECRATE OUR LIVES TO JESUS THROUGH MARY AND HONOUR HER
» By Prof. Michael Ogunu
Over two thousand years ago, Mary, a young girl in Nazareth who was chosen by God to be the Mother of His only begotten Son, full of the Holy Spirit, prophesied:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my savior; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name” (Lk. 1: 46b- 49).
We the members of the World Apostolate of Fatima, with great joy, want to be included among all those who from generation to generation turn their hearts to the sweet Mother of God who is also the Mother of the Church and our Mother and proclaim her blessed.
Here are reasons why we should consecrate our lives to Jesus through Mary and honour Her:
1. To provide the easiest, safest, fastest, most secure, and surest path to Jesus and to our own salvation
2. To obtain Our Lady's help in bringing us from our own unworthiness to the level of conversion, holiness, and perfection in our lives needed to enable us to become saintly
3. To turn our lives over completely and without reservation in service to Jesus through Mary to reflect our love and our trust in them now and for all eternity
4. To obtain special graces and protection under Our Lady's sheltering mantle
5. To help bring others to Jesus through Mary for their conversion, holiness, and perfection through this total consecration devotion
6. To hasten the day of the Triumph of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart and the day when Mary and Jesus will reign in all hearts
7. To fulfill Our Lady's request for individual consecration of our lives to her Immaculate Heart, as given to us through Sister Lucia during the Fatima apparitions
8. To become an effective counter-force to the legion of evil so prevalent in the world by offering up our prayers, sacrifices, and sufferings to Jesus through Mary
9. To renew our Baptismal promises and to evangelize the world to Jesus through Mary
The most important reason why we should honour the Blessed Virgin Mary is because She is the Immaculate Mother of God, the Mother of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God Himself first honoured Her. The Early Fathers of the Church, Popes, Doctors of the Church and some of the greatest saints have given us reasons why Mary must be honoured. Here are a few of them:
“O sinners, be not discouraged but have recourse to Mary in all your necessities. Call her to your assistance, for you will always find her ready to help. It is God's will that she should help in every need”. - Saint Basil the Great (329 - 379)
“Through Mary, the miserable obtain Mercy, the graceless find grace, and sinners receive pardon”. - Saint Augustine of Hippo. (354 - 430)
“Mary, ever Virgin, is a true Mother of Mercy, who disposes Jesus to clemency. As a consoler of the human race, she never ceases to pour out before Him her prayer for the salvation of the faithful crushed by the weight of their sins”. - Pope Saint Pius V (Reigned 1566 - 1572)
“Devotion to the Blessed Virgin in no way detracts from the Glory of God. Rather, it leads us directly back to that Author of all good, Who has willed her to be so great and so pure”. - Pope Pius Xll ( Reigned 1939 - 1958)
“Every time that you honor Mary, Mary praises and honors God with you”. - Pope John Paul ll (Reigned 1978 - 2005)
“The Mother of God is our mother. May the good mother ask and beg for us, may she request and obtain what is good for us”. - Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033 - 1109).
"Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on His Mother. The more Mary is honored, the greater is the glory of her Son." - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 -1153)
“I command all my brothers, who are living now and who will live in the future, always to praise the Mother of God, and with every means to honor her everywhere as well as they are able, and have recourse to her with the greatest respect and surrender”. - Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1226)
“Those who enjoy the favour of Mary are recognized by the citizens of heaven. And those that bear her stamp, that is, those that have the grace to be her servants, are inscribed in the Book of Life”. - Saint Bonaventure (1221 - 1274)
“Have recourse to that dear Mary who is the Mother of Mercy. She will take you into her Son's presence, and use her Motherly intercession with Him on your behalf, so that He will be merciful to you”. - Saint Catherine of Siena (1347 - 1380)
“The Blessed Virgin Mary has the power of delivering souls from purgatory by her prayers, and by applying her merits for them. This is especially true for souls that were devoted to her on earth”. - Saint Bernardine of Siena (1380 - 1444)
“Those who want to prevent their heart from being pervaded by the evils of earth should entrust it to the Blessed Virgin, our Lady and our Mother. They will then regain it in heaven, freed from all evils”. - Saint Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622)
“Let all hearts give themselves to Mary so that she will fill them with her Heart and the Heart of Jesus!” - Saint John Eudes (1601 - 1680)
“To go to Jesus through Mary is truly to honor Jesus Christ. It indicates that we do not esteem ourselves worthy of approaching His infinite holiness directly, that we need Mary to be our Mediatrix with Him, our Mediator”. - Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673 - 1716)
“Mary adorns her clients with her merits, assists them with her power, enlightens them with her light, and kindles them with her love. She imparts her virtues to them and becomes their security, their intercessor, and their all with Jesus”. - Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort. (1673 - 1716)
“Mary is the sure way to go to Jesus and to find Him perfectly. It is through her that holy souls, who are to radiate holiness, must find Jesus!” - Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673 - 1716)
“Although we are sinners, let us be of good heart and feel certain that Mary will come to assist us at death. We need only to serve her with love for the remainder of our time in the world”. - Saint Alphonsus Liguori. (1696 - 1787)
"Whoever bears the mark of devotion to Mary, God recognizes as His own."- Saint Alphonsus Liguori. (1696 - 1787)
“Happy is he who lives and dies under the protection of the Blessed Virgin” - Saint Jean-Marie-Baptiste Vianney, the Cure D' Ars, (1786-1859)

“Those who have great devotion to Mary not only will be saved, but also will, through her intercession, become great Saints. Furthermore, their holiness will grow from day to day. “ - Saint Vincent Pallotti (1795 - 1850).
“We find ourselves on earth as in a tempestuous sea, a desert, and a vale of tears. But Mary is the Star of the Sea, the Solace of our desert, and the Light that guides us to heaven”. - Saint John Bosco. (1815 - 1888)
“Love our Lady, make others love her. Always say your Rosary and say it well. Satan always tries to destroy this prayer, but he will never succeed. It is the prayer of her who triumphs over everything and everyone”. - Saint Padre Pio (1887 - 1968)
“Those who belong to Mary should do all they can to win the hearts of others to her. And Mary will enlighten those hearts, enkindle them with the love of her Maternal Heart, and inflame them with the fire of charity that burns in the Divine Heart of Jesus”. - Saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941)
“If you want to grow in perfection, you cannot advance by yourselves - you need a guide. Hence, when you go to God, go through Mary and with Mary!” - Saint Maximilian Kolbe (1894 - 1941)
“My Immaculate Heart shall be your refuge and the road that shall lead you to God” - Our Lady of Fatima, 1917
“Jesus wishes to make use of you (Lucia) to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. I promise salvation to those who embrace it, and those souls will be loved by God, like flowers placed by me to adorn His Throne” - Our Lady of Fatima, June 13th, 1917.
As we consider the wonders which God has worked in and through Mary, let us never tire of invoking Her as Mother of God, Mediatrix of all graces, Help of Christians and Queen of Peace.
Let our faith in the power of Her intercession on our behalf before the throne of grace grow ever stronger, for as St. Bernard has said:“Following Her, thou strayest not; Invoking Her, thou despairest not; Thinking of Her, thou wanderest not; Upheld by Her, thou failest not; Shielded by Her, thou fallest not; Guided by Her, thou growest not weary; Favoured by Her, thou reachest the goal”.
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The Healing Power Of Confession
» By Rev. Fr. Thomas Anavhe
The Sacrament of penance is known as a sacrament of healing. To approach this sacrament is to experience a complete healing in our lives; most especially, spiritual healing, physical healing and psychological healing.
God said in his word, “Now let us settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will eat the good things the land produces. But if you defile me, you are doomed to die I, the Lord, have spoken” (Isaiah 1: 18). If we need a complete healing, we must embrace this sacrament. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1422) stresses that those who approach the sacrament of penance obtain pardon from God for the offence committed against him, and are at the same time, reconciled with the church which they have wounded by their sin and which by charity, by example and by prayer laboured for their conversion.
If we must enjoy the healing power of God and its favour in our live, we must necessary purify ourselves.
Sin puts us into a box of slavery. As such, we are denied the joy we derived in being in the presence of God. This box of slavery, which sin subject us into, actually reduces in us the aura of God that covers us as God's people. More so, sin exposes us into spiritual “Cloudiness” that deprives us from true happiness in life. This spiritual “Cloudiness” takes over our whole being especially when we refuse to confess our mortal sins. Our refusal to confess our sins causes a spiritual, “Comatose” in our lives and things around us. Hence, one becomes spiritual and physically unproductive, since the spirit of God in us is not given space to work in us. Roman 3:23 says, for everyone has sinned, and fallen short of God's glorious standard. So we must turn away from our sinful life style. For people who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn away from them they would receive mercy (Proverbs 28:13).
No doubt that there is a connection between our evil deeds and our ill health (We must know that, we have both physical and spiritual illness). The scripture says: Woe to the wicked: Disaster is upon them? They will be paid back for what their hands have done (Isaiah 3:11). Since they have separated themselves from God who is the source of life, we must know that to live in sin is to open door to pains and anxiety in our lives. Sin actually deprive us from enjoying the favour of God in our lives. All the men who were of fighting age when they left Egypt died because they disobeyed the Lord. Just as he had sworn, they were not allowed to see the rich land that God promised their ancestors. (Joshua 5: 5-6)
The Hands of God stops their full operation in us when we are living in sin. In fact, there are some fundamental levels (success) we cannot achieve in life if the Hands of God is not in our lives. We lose the Hands of God in our lives when we eventually remain in a sinful state by refusing to approach the sacrament of reconciliation (Confession). Isaiah 3:10-11 “for the righteous men will be happy, and things will go well for them. They will be able to enjoy what they have worked for. But evil men are doomed, what they have done to others will now be done to them”. When we refuse to approach the sacrament of reconciliation, we deny ourselves from the grace of God in our lives. As such, we become more prone to sin and the guilt of our sin brings more pains, worries and anxiety within us, which eventually give rooms to other ill health. This sacrament helps to restore more grace to our wounded soul and brings healing to us.
Man's experience of sin in the garden of Eden brought ill health, fear, tension, anxiety, shame and death into the history of human existence (Genesis 3:10). To enjoy good health and be free from the pains in which sin imposes in us, we must ensure to make regular confession of our evil deeds.
For those who make regular confession, are actually making their way(s) into the kingdom of God. And they share in the divine healing power of God that Christ has brought for mankind.
CONFESSION OF SIN: A TREATH TO SATANIC KINGDOM
Satan has enjoyed the joy of being in communion with God in heaven. He lost his friendship with God through envy, jealousy and hatred. As such he was expelled from heaven together with his follow rebellious angels. So, they were cut off from the heavenly joy, peace and glory. Satan, haven deprived himself from the joy and peace that flow from being in the communion with God, because he refused to repent from his sins; has taken a primary responsibility of ensuring that men and women are also deprived from this stream of life by ensuring they conceal their sins. Satan does not only feel happy when we sin against God, he feels happier when we decide to remain in our sinful state and refuse to confess our sins. To approach the sacrament of reconciliation is to put the satanic kingdom into confusion.
Confessing our sinful acts is a true means of healing in our lives. Friends, let us not hold back our sins to ourselves for this leads to destruction. We must ensure to make regular confession. And if possible to open up to these people whom we have greatly offended (sinned against). For healing and progress in our lives, family and society, we need to open up our evil deeds to others. I do not know whom you have greatly offended that you have not yet opened up to and apologize sincerely for your mistakes. It may be your father, mother, father in-law, mother in-law, husband, wife etc. Without seeking for their forgiveness, our lives may experience relative dryness.
Adam and Eve were not basically sent out from the Garden of Eden because of their sins, but because they refused to be responsible for their actions and repent of their sins (Genesis 3:10-13). We must not take the sacrament of penance with negligence. For many Christians today say that they do not need to confess their sins to the priest who is a human being like them but the most important thing is to confess our sins to God directly without the second party. According to Scott Hahn (2003), “Sacramental forgiveness is one powerful way we experience this long-awaited deliverance”. The scared scripture recorded that Jesus breathed only upon His Apostles and gave them the authority to forgive peoples sins (John 20:20-23). Therefore, we need those who are the representative of both the Christian earthly community and heavenly community to hear our confession and absolve us from our sins through the authority of the church. When we sin, we not only break our relationship with God, we also break our communion with the earthly, or pilgrim church. We need the earthly leader chosen by God and ordained by the Church to mediate for us, to absolve us from our sins, and reconcile us back to God and the Church. Francis MacNutt (1976) says, “just speaking out our sins and bringing them into the light is in itself part of the healing process, recognized by psychologists and counselors”.
THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH
Dear friends in Christ, the joy we derive in being with Jesus is greater than the pleasure we get in our sinful acts. These pleasures do not last long. Hence, they are associated with regret, pains and anxiety. So, we cannot afford to lose our anointing, holiness, and faith that has taken us long time and strength to build to the strikes of Satan. We need Jesus for joy, peace, healing and fulfillment in life. Let us make restitution for our evil deeds and approach the sacrament of penance.
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HOW IS MARY THE ARK OF THE COVENANT? (Part 1)
» By Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede
As we once again observe the month of May which is the month of Mary, in which we have special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is pertinent to reflect upon her life and her role in the history of salvation and her continuous protection of Christ's faithful here on earth. A good way to do this is to salute Mary by her titles and attributes while deriving a profound flow of strength from the springs of grace upon which these attributes come to bear in our Christian life and salvation history. A very helpful source in this regard is the “Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary” which we recite after the praying of the Rosary to invoke her intercession. Mary's titles and attributes are mentioned therein. For our write-up this month, we shall treat Mary's Attribute as the “Ark of the Covenant”, which we mention in the Litany.
First, what is the Ark of the Covenant? To understand Mary as the Ark of the Covenant, we must begin from the Old Testament history of the Ark and the covenantal relationship between God and his people Israel.
According to the biblical records especially beginning from the Book of Exodus, the Ark is a wooden box containing two stone tablets which reminded the people of Israel of their covenant with God. These stone tablets carried “the testimony”, i.e., the Law and the commandments of God, as Moses received them on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:12). In Exodus 25:10-22, Moses was directed on the construction of the Ark. It was to be made along with the “mercy seat” above which God would speak to His people, flanked by a pair of protective genii, i.e., two winged creatures called cherubim to protect it (Ex. 25:21-22). It was to be fitted with golden rings and acacia poles for conveyance like a royal palaquin. He was to make lampstands of six branches and other lamp stands around the Ark (Ex. 25:31-40). And the Ark was to be kept in the Tent of meeting; right inside the Holy of holies (Ex. 26:34-36). It thus stood at the centre of Israel's worship, for on the one hand, it was a covenant repository routinely called “The Ark of the Covenant”; and on the other hand, it was the locus of God's invisible presence in the midst of His people Israel.
For all that the Ark of the Covenant was and represented in the life of the people of Israel, “the Power of the Ark” is made manifest not only by spiritual leaps, but also by salvific ascents. The Ark was carried by the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the desert. Whenever the Israelites camped, the Ark was placed in a special and sacred tent, the Tabernacle. When the Israelites, led by Joshua on their way to the Promised Land, arrived at the banks of the River Jordan, the Ark was carried in the lead preceding the people and was the signal for their advance (Joshua 3:3,6). During the crossing, the river grew dry as soon as the feet of the priests carrying the Ark touched its waters, and remained so until the priests with the Ark left the river after the people had passed over on dry ground (Josh. 3:15-17; 4:10, 11,18).
In the Battle of Jericho, the Ark was carried round the city once a day for seven days, preceded by the armed men and seven priests sounding seven trumpets of rams' horns (Josh. 6:4-15). On the seventh day, the seven priests sounding the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Ark compassed the city seven times and, with a great shout, Jericho's wall fell down flat and the people took the city (Josh. 6:16-20).
After the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, the Ark remained in the Tabernacle at Gilgal for a season before being removed to Shiloh until the time of Eli. The Ark is very much spoken of as being in the Tabernacle at Shiloh during Samuel's apprenticeship (1 Sam. 3:3).
During the first war between Israelites and Philistines at Eben-ezer, the Israelites were defeated. In the second battle, the Israelites brought in the Ark of the Covenant with joy hoping to have control over the Philistines but unfortunately they were defeated for the second time, and the Philistines captured the Ark (1 Sam. 4:3-5,10,11). The news of its capture was at once taken to Shiloh by a messenger “with his clothes rent and with earth upon his head”. The old priest, Eli fell and died when he heard it; and his daughter-in-law, bearing a son at the time the news of the capture of the Ark was received, named him Ichabod, meaning, “Where is the glory?” in reference to the loss of the Ark (1 Sam. 4:12-22).
The Philistines took the Ark to several places in their country, and at each place misfortune befell them (1 Sam. 5:1-6). At the town of Ashdod it was placed in the temple of their gods, Dagon. The next morning Dagon was found prostrate, bowed down, before it; and on being restored to his place, he was on the following morning again found prostrate and broken. The people of Ashdod were smitten with tumors; a plague of rats was sent over the land (1 Sam. 6:5). The affliction of boils was also visited upon the people of Gath and of Ekron. Consequently the Ark was removed (1 Sam. 5:8-12).
After the Ark had been among them for seven months, the Philistines, on the advice of their diviners, returned it to the Israelites, accompanying its return with an offering consisting of golden images of the tumors and rats with which they had been afflicted. The Ark was set in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite, and the Beth-shemites offered sacrifices and burnt offerings (1 Sam. 6:1-15). Out of curiosity the men of Beth-shemesh gazed at the Ark, and as a punishment, seventy of them were smitten by the Lord (1 Sam. 6:19). The Bethshemites sent to Kiriath-jearim, or Baal-Judah, to have the Ark removed (1 Sam. 6:21); and it was taken to the house of Abinadab, whose son Eleazar was sanctified to keep it. Kirjath-jearim remained the abode of the Ark for twenty years. Under Saul, the Ark was with the army before he first met the Philistines, but the king was too impatient to consult it before engaging in battle. In 1 Chronicle13:3 it is stated that the people were not accustomed to consult the Ark in the days of Saul.
David eventually brought the Ark to Jerusalem (1 Sam. 6:1-23). With its relocation from Baalah (Kiriath-Jearim, cf. 1 Chron. 13:6, 1 Sam. 7:1-2) to Jerusalem, the wanderings of the ark seemed to be over. Great rejoicing marks the account, and David, the King of Israel put up a frenzied dance before the Ark as it entered Jerusalem. Indeed, all the events that took place therein remind us that the Ark is a sacred object and represent the awesome power of God.
Now, we come to the main point of our reflection. Why do we call Mary the Ark of the Covenant? Or put differently, what makes, or how is Mary the New Ark of the Covenant? With the above explanation on the meaning of the Ark, it is not difficult to see the close relationship between the old Ark and Mary as the New Ark.
The Ark was the box that contained the two tablets of stone that had stood as the mark of God's covenant with his people. Worthy of note is the fact that the covenant of Exodus chapter 19 that was ratified in Exodus chapter 24 was the third in the list of covenants that were clearly noted in the Old Testament. The first covenant was with Noah and the mark of that first covenant was “Rainbow” (Gen. 9:8-17). The second was with Abram and his sons and the mark was “Circumcision” (Gen. 17:1-14). The third covenant was the covenant with Moses and all the Israelites and the mark was the 'Law', i.e., the “Ten Commandments” contained in the tablets of stone. It was this testimony of the third covenant in a box that is called the Ark of the Covenant. This testimony was always carried and protected in the ark. In most cases, the ark was seen, but the testimony that was the power of the ark was not seen.
The third covenant however was not the last covenant, but only a preparation for the last and eternal covenant which was yet to come. In Jeremiah 31:31-32, we have the prophesy of the New Covenant. That New Covenant is realized in Jesus and sealed with his blood. Indeed, Jesus declares that his blood is the mark of the New and Eternal Covenant (Matt. 26:26-28; Mk. 14:23-25; Lk. 22:19-20). At the Last Supper of Jesus, this New Covenant was in fact made with the institution of the Eucharist, an act to be rendered in perpetuity, and to last forever.
To call Mary the Ark of the New Covenant is to acknowledge the role she played as the mother that carried and protected the blood of the New Covenant. In those nine months of pregnancy, the mark of the New Covenant was only known and felt in the Ark. The biblical record of the manifestations that filled the house of Zachariah during her visitation to Elizabeth is loud enough to help us understand that the mark of the New Covenant was already active in the New Ark before the covenant was consummated. (Lk. 1:46-55).
It is very interesting, revealing and striking to make a comparison between David's journey to bring the Ark to Jerusalem in 2Sam. 6:1-13, and Mary's journey to the house of Elizabeth in Lk. 1:39-56. It is interesting to note that in 2Sam. 6:2, David went to Baalah of Judah, and in Lk. 1:39, Mary went to the hill country of Judah. David asked, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” (2 Sam. 6:9), and Elizabeth asked, “Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43). David danced before the Ark (2Sam. 6:15), and John the Baptist danced before Mary, the New Ark when he leapt in Elizabeth's womb for joy (Lk. 1:41). David took the Ark to the house of Obed-Edom and the Ark stayed in the house of Obed for three months (2Sam. 6:11), while Mary stayed in the house of Zachariah for three months (Lk. 1:56). In 2 Sam. 6:12, the house of Obed was blessed because of the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, and in Luke 1:42, the house of Zachariah was blessed by the presence of Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant.
When the Old Testament Ark arrived in Jerusalem, it was greeted with shouts of joy (2. Sam 6:5). Likewise when Mary arrived the house of Zechariah, she was greeted with a great exclamation and a resounding expression of joy (Lk. 1:39-45). In the Old Testament, the ark returns to its home and eventually ends up in Jerusalem where God's presence and glory is revealed in the temple (2 Sam. 6:12; 1 Kgs. 8:9-11). In the New Testament, the New Ark, Mary returns home and eventually ends up in Jerusalem, where she presents the God Incarnate in the temple (Luke 1:56; 2:21-22).
There are other significant references in the Bible that bring out the striking similarities between the Old Ark and the New Ark of the Covenant. Steve Ray observes that, apart from the Old Testament record on the contents of the Ark, Hebrews 9:4 informs us that two additional items were placed in the Ark: “a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded”. Notice the amazing parallels: In the ark was the Law of God inscribed in stone; in Mary's womb is the Word of God in flesh. In the ark was the urn of manna, the bread from heaven that kept God's people alive in the wilderness; in Mary's womb is the Bread of Life come down from heaven that brings eternal life. In the ark was the rod of Aaron, the proof of true priesthood; in Mary's womb is the true and eternal priest. In the third century, St. Gregory the Wonder Worker declared: “Mary is truly an ark, gold within and gold without, and she has received in her womb all the treasures of the sanctuary.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches and states clearly that: “Mary, in whom the Lord himself has just made his dwelling, is the daughter of Zion in person, the Ark of the Covenant, the place where the glory of God dwells. She is 'the dwelling of God ... with men'.” (C.C.C. 2676).
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My Oga At The Top Syndrome
» By Rev. Fr. Leonard O. Anetekhai
The popular story of 'my Oga at the top' is definitely not new to any of us as Nigerians. A theory propounded by Mr. Shem Obafaiye of the Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), when he appeared on Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme. Mr. Shem thrown off balance by the Sunrise crew on what the name of the NSCDC website was, he fell into the tight spot that now has the whole world reeling with laughter.
In his words, “I cannot categorically tell you now. The one that we are going to make use of is going to be made known by my oga at the top…yes…I cannot announce one now and the oga says it's another one that we are going to use”. Pressed further to make a point for Nigerians to take home, he continued, “Hmmm, the website is, excuse me, my oga at the top”, he said, pointing his right index finger sky high, “knows the website. My oga at the top is working on the website and I don't have them”. Not satisfied, the interviewers reframed the question and launched it again. Then came the final blow from Shem: “ww.nscdc. that's all”.
Sounds like a joke for anyone who is familiar with this household name, 'my oga at the top'. It is surprising to know that Mr. Shem is a Commandant of the National Security and Defence Corps, NSCDC, one of the contenders for the topmost post of Commandant General; posted to the nation's economic capital and the most populous metropolis, the nation's foremost gateway to the world, and cannot communicate effectively in the official language on worldwide television in this age of technological progression.
This national discomfiture that has become slogan for thought, rhythm for musicians and phase for produces, says a lot not just of the individual involved or of the organization in which he has grown to such enviable height, but on Nigeria and Nigerians at large. Each time I am bored, I flip over to 'my oga at the top' in my phone, just to make me laugh, but on a second thought, the sad story it tells about the Nigeria of our time calls for serious reflection.
Back in the days, our parent went to school and had to read and learn hard, because they knew and understood the challenges of their time. They worked hard to merit what they were given to handle, we can of course call their era, 'the merit age'. But today, we see people occupy positions that they do not merit, all in the name of 'I have my brother in position', he is the 'Oga at the top'. It is painful to know that many youths with 'First Class degrees' from Nigerian universities are unemployable because they cannot defend the credits on their result sheet when it comes to a situation of one on one interview. These persons, fight tooth and nail to be given the opportunity to work in private or government office not because of service but for the take home pay involved, no commitment and dedication to service anymore, every man for his pocket.
It is heartbreaking to see a student with A1 in English language finding it difficult to construct a simple sentence, not to talk of speaking it in the public and in Nigeria today, such people are occupying positions and we know that a snake cannot give birth to a lizard. It is what the society receives that it will work on; grace it is said builds on nature and does not destroy it.
Mr. Shem's story line tells us to a great extent the collapse of our educational system. In May 27th, we celebrated our Children. We called them the hope of tomorrow. But how many of these children are given the care and proper education they need to prepare them for tomorrow? Our government schools are corrupt; teachers are not committed to instructing children, all we see today is government job or work places becoming where you just go to gist and gossip, do whatever you like and when month ends, one waits to get credit alert and go to the bank for salary, no sense of commitment and determination for excellence. Even the cheap so called private schools we find around us are now miracle centres because many of them exist primarily as money making ventures, a channel to promote and aid children to cheat and pass test and examination, with the corporation of their parents, who see merit as alien and expensive.
For children fortunate to be educated in expensive private schools with stolen public funds, we see them coming out in flying colours and being given preferential employment in top corporate institutions, ministries, departments and agencies and those privileged to get educated abroad mostly refuse to come back to their country because the system is not working. Those who do come back home are celebrated and given preferential treatment when it comes to employment because they are well educated.
It is a sorry state we are in and the danger is that the masses of poorly educated children, who suffer from “my oga at the top syndrome” because they are unemployable, will in future see the few children of the rich ruling them as their class rival. This certainly is what makes violence imminent in our society. This situation daily is creating a leeway for more insurgency because those who cannot reach the oga at the top to give them their daily bread will have to make themselves 'oga' just to fight the ills which is not promoting good living in a democratic state like Nigeria.
Every time we are admonished as citizens by our leaders at any given opportunity they have, not to lose faith in our country, but as our 'Ogas at the top' they cut the national cake and eat it alone. They forget with ease their promise to be FAITHFUL, LOYAL and HONEST, when they begin to spend public funds that leadership is not for personal gains, but for service to the people. Our leaders need to be sincere in their dealings with the citizenry. The 'Oga at the top syndrome' should not be interpreted in the light of the 'One man theory' of leadership, which states that the leader is the great man we all answer to and he can do no wrong, every decision is taken solely by him, BUT should be a method of COLLABORATION, DEDICATION, COMMITMENT and SERVICE to humanity.
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Childlessness: A Guide For Infertile Couples
» By Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosime
It is common saying and belief that children are the fruits of a marriage union. To become barren therefore, is often viewed as a sign and symbol of shame. This point is even strengthened by the common belief, particularly amongst Africans that being born is a blessing and being able to reproduce is a double blessing. A couple being without children is for the most conceived as a loss of hope for the future. This probably accounts why many a couple would go any length to see they have a child, even when medicine certifies them alright, they would damn such a supposed unsympathetic and unproductive report to seek other means of having children.
Infertility/childlessness causes, great personal suffering and distress. Most of the agony and misery is hidden from the public gaze, and that is why this topic is still not talked about openly. The reasons for the lack of public support for the childless couple include the dismal ignorance about the causes of infertility and its treatment. Infertile couples are socially isolated and emotionally very vulnerable. More and more couple is showing up at fertility clinics these days, searching for answers, hope and eventual parenthood. There are different reasons for childlessness. When some are designed by the couples, the most being cases of infertility. In this work, we shall devote attention to some of these causes and at the end pay particular attention to infertile couples and in fact suggest a guide to assist them.
THE WHAT AND WHY OF INFERTILITY
Infertility is a phenomenon that is contingent on either parties of a couple. The general causes of infertility are traceable to depression, anxiety and psychological problems. In men, poor quality of sperm, abnormal sperm production, sexual dysfunctions like impotence are hinge causes of infertility. On the other hand, it is necessitated by varied reasons in women. The failure to ovulate is said to be the basic cause of infertility in women. The presence of Cyst (a sac of semi-solid material) in the ovary may cause infertility. This can however be removed.
Similarly, some infertile women have problems in the uterus. They may be able to conceive but tend to miscarry at an early stage. Growth in the uterus known as fibroid may interfere with embryonic stage. Infertility may occur too as a result of pelvic inflammatory diseases, uterine adhesions, etc. It must be noted that abortion especially by dilation and curettage (D&C) predispose to uterine and tubal factors in infertility. There may be a case of Idiopathic infertility where there is the failure to conceive with no apparent physical explanation.
From the enunciated points above, there need to be certain conditions which necessary need to be fulfilled before there can be fertility and absence of these cause infertility. Adequate number of healthy spermatozoa must be deposited in the vagina and cervix (neck of the uterus) these spermatozoa ascends through receptive mucus of the cervix and pass through the uterus into normal patent fallopian tubes. The ovary must produce mature ovum (embryo) is then transported through a normal patent fallopian tube into the uterine cavity. Conditions in the wall of the uterus must be favourable for successful implantation to occur and pregnancy to continue unabated. (See, Esomonu, A. I, “Christian Marriage and the Problem of the Childless couples in Africa” in NACATHS Journal of African Theology, Vol 17., March 2007, p.160)
When any or all of the processes are altered, then we talk of infertility. Couples who have never had a child are said to have "primary infertility", those women who have become pregnant at least once, but are unable to conceive again said to have "secondary infertility". It must also be noted here that childlessness can either be voluntary or involuntary. By this I mean, there are some couples who may decide not to bear children and there are others who by some physical or other circumstances cannot conceive.
For the most, getting pregnant is the dream of virtually all couples. But it must be noted that pregnancy is like a game of odds. Infertility poses more concern for women than men because, apart from the fact that the effect of our patriarchy will very often impress on the woman her seeming worthlessness, she stand the chance of being interrogated more than by the man. Also, as the biological clock ticks on, the quality of egg and their number start decreasing. All these set into what is called "Trying time". This is how long the couples have been trying to get pregnant. This is an important concept. Some medical findings explains this period quite starkly saying, 'the longer a couple has been trying to conceive without success the lesser their chances of getting pregnant without medical help.'
COUPLES AND THE AWARENESS OF CHILDLESSNESS
My discussion of childlessness here pays attention to involuntary childlessness. That is, the couples want to bear children but situations do not allow them. The childless couples are a object of serious misgivings in society. One of such is that childlessness is thought to make the couple lonely at old age. This may not be a sustainable argument. Many couples who are childless and manage good social ties are not lonely at old age, because by their association with friends and neighbours, they fill up those areas their children would have felt. However, Childless women who believed it was better to have a child were much more likely to report being lonely and depressed than their female counterparts who said it didn't make a difference.
Also, the issue of childlessness may tend to impress on those couples that they are failures. But this should be far removed from the reality. A look at voluntary childlessness will reveal that couples who willingly become childless do that as a result of reasons not necessarily a succumb to self defeat. In 1992, psychologists Rathus and Nevid conducted a study that focused on hundreds of couples without children. Couples were asked the reasons behind their decision not to have children. The thirteen common reasons were: the desire for couples to spend more time together; the freedom to pursue other interests; the ability for both partners to pursue their careers; greater financial security; more opportunities to become involved with community welfare and help other children; concern regarding strain on environmental resources and over-population; concern regarding the difficulty of parenthood; the fact that becoming a parent is an irrevocable decision; the decision to have children is not mandatory; a fear of failure; that it is not fair to bring a child into an unsafe world. All these reflect couples views about parenthood.
Infertility and childlessness should not so much be seen as a curse from God by those couples who wish to bear children and cannot. Rather it should be seen as a vocation they are called to altogether. One of the first steps to take in couples who are involuntarily childless is that they must see it as a privilege even when it does not square with our cultural ethos. It is a privilege and vocation because; they are thus called to higher responsibilities. An attempt of wanting to circumvent their infertility by hook or crook will have a sweeping affect on them, their psychology and they way they will view family life afterward and in fact their old age is likely to be marred with disillusionment.
THE HURT OF CHILDLESSNESS
Couples who are not able to have children may experience a wide spectrum of feelings jealousy, despair, envy, isolation, and bitterness. They may feel singled out for an ordeal few others seem to experience, and they might find it difficult to fit into social circles where everyone else has children. The anguish can go so deep that seeing a baby can feel like a knife in their hearts.
Men and women tend to react somewhat differently to infertility. Women often experience profound grief and sadness. They tend to cry a lot and to reduce their anxiety by talking about what they're experiencing. Men, on the other hand, express fewer anguished feelings and seem to be less affected by being childless. They generally don't feel as free to talk about their feelings and tend to have less opportunity to discuss them with friends.
Childlessness can cause stress on a couple's personal, social, and sex lives. The anger and disappointment that often accompanies childlessness can rub off on the marital companionship, and cause couples to blame one another. Many couples suffer with depression which in turn can lead them withdraw themselves from friends and family. Going to a party or family gathering where children are present can cause the pain of childlessness to surface. As a result couples avoid these types of situations. When couples place procreation as the focus of their intimacy for an extended period of time, sexual intercourse becomes solely a way to create children; it no longer has the element of love, affection, or spontaneity.
TOWARD A GUIDE FOR CHILDLESS COUPLES
Couples struggling with childlessness need support from family members and friends. However, it's important not to be intrusive into this very private dimension of a marriage. Here are a few tips to help the ones you love.
- Show understanding and acceptance.
- Listen without giving advice.
- Let the couple know you are there for them.
- Don't ask a woman if she is pregnant.
- Give the couple respect and privacy.
- Don't offer false hope.
- Don't joke about infertility.
- Don't suggest solutions, such as infertility treatments, adoption, or foster parenting. These are options that should be privately discussed between couples.
- Don't offer the commonly repeated misinformation that a woman who adopts often gets pregnant soon after.
- Learn about infertility so you can be an informed listener.
WHAT OPTIONS DO COUPLES HAVE?
Couples can parent children in many ways. Some of the options include the following: Adopt an infant, adopt a child with special needs, become a foster parent (and possibly adopt the child later on), nurture the children of extended family members, friends, and neighbours. For many couples, adopting an infant is their first choice. This option can take years, and most adoption agencies have criteria that are very restrictive. Agencies can discuss their eligibility requirements and placement options with you. Infant adoption also can be very costly. It's important to talk to an adoption professional and make sure you're aware of all costs.
Adopting children with special needs is another option. The definition of "special needs" varies from agency to agency and state to state. Generally it means a child with one or more health or emotional problems, a history of neglect or abuse, prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol, other conditions that may lead to problems, or siblings that need to be adopted as a group. Generally it's easier and less expensive to adopt a child with special needs because fewer couples are interested.
Foster parenting is another very important alternative. Foster parents share their home, time, energy, and love, with a child, youth, or sibling group in need of a temporary home. To be approved as foster parents, you'll go through background checks, home studies, training, and paperwork. State and private agencies try to return a foster child to his or her parents if possible, but foster parents sometimes have the option to adopt a foster child. Foster adoption is the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost. States often provide subsidies to couples who adopt after being foster parents.
More so, one can be a great influence to children without necessarily being a parent. The couples can play a god-father, god-mother figure. There are many ways to influence the lives of children without becoming full-time parents. Below are some suggestions: Volunteer to coach for a girls' or boys' sports team, volunteer to teach youth for a local religious group especially in catechisms, bible studies, etc, take a special interest in nieces, nephews, or the children of friends, volunteer for programs of some social sort in your locality, volunteer for a Learn-to-read program, volunteer in an orphanage in your locality, volunteer as a tutor at your local school, volunteer to help during activities at a local school, teach youth about your career, volunteer to help with children at a family crisis center and many other alternatives.
The alternatives one can explore to quell the tensions that may so sporadically arise from the feeling of childlessness are numerous. I think the question of happiness in marriage is not one that is necessarily contigent on children but one that is dependent on the couples themselves. No one can take away one's happiness from him or her, only the individual can. Couples must see a new image about themselves far above the ridicule of society to correct the anomalous thinking that children makes up a social status. They must also stand different in their situation and not just like any other situation. This is the secret, the secret of a happy childless marriage.
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What Happened To African Hospitality?
» By Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua
I feel nostalgic for the African village setting. The things I took for granted as a child make so much meaning to me now. Even with all the technological development and advancement I have come to realise that our fathers and mothers were heroes in the past. I am grateful to God for enabling me witness the time when visitors were accommodated in our homes without having to pay rent. I witnessed the time when land was never a commercial commodity in our villages. Land was joyfully given to those who have enough resources to build houses. Land was leased unconditionally to those who have the energy to farm. Marriage was not dictated by religion otherwise, I would not have seen the light of day if my maternal grand father who was a Muslim did not allow my mother to marry my father who was not a Muslim. Even when the drums of the Nigeria / Biafra war echoed very loud my father did not allow the Igbos in our house to go home. When the soldiers invaded our house with the booming frightening question, “where are the enemies you kept in this house”? My father responded: “We do not have enemies in this house. The Igbo people in this house are members of this family”. I wonder where he got the courage to do this. Perhaps he was lucky that his elder brother who was a soldier in the Nigerian Army was home that very day. At the end of the war, one of the Igbo men married my cousin. When he was leaving finally, he prayed: “May whoever comes from this family find favour with any Igbo person anywhere in the world”. I dare to say that today; God is still answering this prayer for members of my family. Where a person comes from should really not make a difference to us. What should matter to us is that we share a common humanity and a common destiny.
The report by Hamza Idris and Yahaya Ibrahim on Sunday, 27 January 2013 that the Shehu of Borno appealed to the fleeing subjects to return to Maiduguri reveals the need to recapture the African tradition of hospitality. The statement of His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al- Amin El-Kanemi, the Shehu of Borno and vice chairman of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Nigeria captured the fact that the value of hospitality in Africa calls for a fresh appraisal. The Shehu said: “If we go back to the traditional system of administration, a situation whereby a stranger comes to your domain, his first port of call is the palace of the village head who will know why he comes, what his occupation is, for how long he would stay or has he come to stay permanently? This is done before the visitor is allocated a place to stay and a land to farm. If we have a register that we keep all these things, you would know who your subjects are. If such powers were given to the village head, and district heads, most of the challenges will be over. I feel if we can go back to that era, things will augur well.”
This is particularly important to me because what the Shehu narrated is not different from what obtained in Edo State where I come from. This will also confirm the opinion of those who believe strongly in the unity of Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. Today, things have changed drastically because almost everything is valued in money. In the past the value of money is what money could buy yet it was not everything that could be given in exchange for money. Children where seen has gift from God. In the past, children belonged to the whole community. Today, children have become victims of religious, communal, and ethnic violence. In the past, even some snakes respected children. In Africa it was unheard of that a child was bitten by a snake. What has gone wrong with the African sense of human value? In the past, the joy of one person was the joy of the whole community, today; the joy of a person can become bad news for another person. In the past, the sorrow of one person was shared by the entire community. I still remember what happened when I was young. When a person died, the news spread like wild fire. It did not matter whether the person was a Christian or a Muslim, everybody would begin to return from the farm. The community was at a stand still until the person is buried. Today, it is “to your tent”. When did things really fall apart? What actually happened to African sense of community? How and when did we drop our values of unconditional generosity, the unconditional readiness to share, the willingness to give, to help, to assist, to love and to carry one another's burden without reward? What exactly was the African driving force to create a celestial community out of a terrestrial family?
Some people are really getting nauseated with the argument and appeal to the destabilization of traditional life by colonialism, foreign world views, new religions, technology and modern living. Can all these accused elements not be transformed into more capacity, skills and tools to make African life better? Once upon a time, African hospitality was described as a way of “being an African” and African culture was captured in this context. It is a scandal that some of the violence we suffer today in some part of the African nations and Nigeria in particular bothers on “who owns the land”. When Sony Okosun sang “I want to know who owns the land”, he was fighting for the emancipation and liberation of the blacks from the white dominated South Africa. I wonder if today the relationship between the whites and blacks in South Africa is not better than the discrimination and ethnic tensions we experience in some other parts of Africa today. I hate to think about the recent news that is being reported in some part of Nigeria where people who speak the same language are being disengaged from work because they do not come from the state where they are working. The introduction of “non indigenes” syndrome in some states is a systematic way of dismembering a people who once lived together as brethren. What do we do with the pledge that” though tongue and tribe may differ in unity we stand”? The time has come for us to identify the elements that are further tearing us apart as a nation in order not to contradict our nature as Africans.
That there are still some generous individuals in Africa indicate that the present chronic selfishness found in some people and communities is not in “African character”. The gift of hospitality and generosity is innate in us and hidden deep within us. We can still find it if only we can make the sacrifice to conquer the fear that our guest can turn against us tomorrow and capture our land as it has happened in some places in the past and even now. I pray that those who have turned terrorists to their hosts in some part of Africa may have a change of heart. May we have the courage to endeavour to sustain the desire to do “good” to all who come our way! Otherwise, we may not know when God's angels will pass us bye. Whatever good you do to assist a person, you do it to God who will surely reward you (Matthew 25, 40). In the Qur'an, hospitality is obligatory. “They feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan, and the prisoner, for love of Him, saying, "We wish for no reward nor thanks from you” (Qur'an 76.8-9). May we recover that which has passed us bye!
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Urinary Tract Infection
» By Pharm. Nzewi
Let us recall the layout of the urinary tract. The urinary tract is made up the kidney, two tubes (the ureters), each opening from the kidney and enters a muscular bag (the Bladder). These tubes lead urine from the kidneys into this collecting bag called the bladder. When the bladder is full, the urine leaves it through a single tube (the urethra) to be voided via the genitals. This passage thus described as the urinary tract. The infection found associated with this tract, is called urinary tract infection. The urinary tract is subject to two sources of infection: From the upper part through the blood fed into the kidneys (hematogenous infection) and from the lower part (ascending) infections. The infections of the lower urinary tract are usually the more common. In urinary tract infection UTI we have the following categories.
PYE LONEPHRIT1S .This means inflammation (-itis), of the pelvis of the kidney (- Pyeloneph). Thus pylonephritis is the inflammation of the pelvis of the kidney. Pylonephritis is an ascending urinary tract infection that has reached the pelvis of the kidney. In severe cases, it can lead to pyonephrosis which is accumulation of pus around the kidney, Urosepsis which is a systemic inflammatory response of the body to infection, Kidney failure and even death. Pylonephritis signifies a serious UTI which has involvement of the lower (cystis, prostatitis, urethritis) or upper urinary tract or both.
Other disorders that could be found affecting any component of the urinary tract are,
1. Nephritic syndrome. This is a situation where protein is found in the urine (proteinuria), and this will in turn cause hypoalbuminemia (levels of albumin in the blood serum are unusually low), and edema.
2. Nephritic Syndrome---This is characterized by the presence of blood in the urine (hematuria), production of abnormally small amount of urine (oligourea), presence of high levels of nitrogenous waste products in the blood (azotamia) thereby detected in the urine, presence of protein in the urine, and hypertension.
3. Tubulo intestinal nephritis--- The renal tubules and interstition are primarily marked with inflammatory disease.
4. Analgesic nephropathy. This is a disorder emanating from consumption of large amounts of certain analgesics. This can degenerate to dysfunction of the kidney.
5. Benign Nephrosclerosis There is acute and severe malignant hypertension. This established condition, progressively leads to chronic kidney damage.
6. Malignant nephroclerosis Here there is hardening of the kidney associated with hypertension and diseases of the arteries and arterioles.
7. The urinary tract may also face the effects of tumor (cancer), urinary passage obstruction and cystic disease.
CAUSES OF UTI.
The organisms that cause urinary tract infection can find their way through various sources.
Urethral instrumentation. For example the use of catheter (cauterization), and cystoscopy (endoscopy of the urinary bladder via the urethra)
Infectious organisms not due to instrumentation are also in existence. The female folks are most commonly affected due to the proximity of the urethrionructa to the rectum. The enteric organisms are most favored. Bacteria can also reach the urinary in process of coitus. Whichever way bacteria gets to the urinary bladder, if undisturbed will multiply and ascend along the ureters to infect the renal pelvis.
Urinary tract infection is frequent in persons with urinary tract obstruction. Obstruction at the level of urinary bladder results in incomplete emptying and increased residual volume of urine.
Prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate gland), and uterine prolapsed are situations encouraging UTI.
UT) is also common in diabetes because of susceptibility to infection neurogenic bladder dysfunction.

SIGNS
Pylonephritis (ascending urinary tract infection that has reached the pelvis of the kidney) present with fever, painful urination, increased heart rate, nausea, abdominal pain which radiates to the back. Pyronephriti may progress to urosepsis. People with urosepsis have bacteria in their blood and this can be fatal. Urosepsis itself is a serious secondary infection which occurs when infection in the urinary tract spreads to the blood. Patients are advised to go for prompt treatment. Urosepsis may be accompanied by septic shock, rapid decreased BP, shivering delirium. Septic shock is a serious medical condition caused by decreased tissues perfusion and oxygen delivery as a result of severe infection.
pyelonephrits may be treated with adequate antibiotics, sometimes the situation calls for surgery. The underlying cause has to be handled so as to avoid reoccurrence. A rare form of chronic pyelonephritis may demand that requires removal of the kidney is called xannthogranulomatous pyelonephritis.
HEALTH OF THE URINARY TRACT.
1. Drink plenty of water daily. Water helps to flush the urinary tract.
2. Don't delay in passing out urine when you are pressed.
3. After defecating, wipe from front to back and not the other way round, This will prevent the entry of bacteria into the genital especially in the females.
4. Wash the genital region before and after coitus.
5. Feminine sprays and douches should be avoided.
6. Acidic urine will discourage establishment of bacteria. This can be achieved by regular consumption of vitamin C.
7. Pants should be of cotton stuff. Nylon pants will constitute incubators for bacteria
8. Cleanliness is essential in avoiding urinary tract infection. Keep homes, panties, toilets clean.
The most common infections associated with women are, yeast (candidiases), Trichomoniasis, and bacteria. Men are asymptomatic to these infections hence if detected in the female, the sexual partner must also undergo same treatment so as to avoid re-infection. All these infections are curable.
We have seen that toxins can affect the kidneys therefore wash your fruits very well before consumption. The preservatives or fertilizer used on these fruits could introduce toxins to your system.
Pay serious attention to your BP treatment.
Prevention is better than cure. Do not wait until you are a victim of one disorder or the other before you go out seeking solution. Cease this opportunity offered by the PROMISE NEWSPAPER to acquire befitting knowledge to your health and that of your dear ones. This knowledge may save a lot of money for you
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The Sacrament Of Apostolic Ministry (Part 2)
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
INTRODUCTION
In the last publication, we discussed the first part of the Sacrament of Apostolic Ministry focusing on the three degrees of the Sacrament of Orders and how they are related. Besides the three degrees of the Sacrament of Orders, further offices otherwise known as minor orders developed in the course of time which includes the offices of tonsure, acolyte, exorcist, doorkeeper, lector and the office of sub-deacon. These orders were abolished in 1972 by Pope Paul VI in his Ministeria Quaedam, thus giving rise to the offices of Lector and Acolyte without the rite of ordination.
The focus of this second part is Ecclesiastical offices as well as how those who occupy these offices are addressed. These offices are:
1.) THE POPE: The Pope is the visible head of the Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome. The word Pope is derived from the Greek word Pappas which is a colloquial child's word for Father. The authority of the Pope is expressed in a fatherly manner. The Pope is addressed as Your Holiness.
2.) THE CARDINALS: A Cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official. He is an ecclesiastical prince of the Church. Cardinals are collectively referred to as College of Cardinals. Their function is to elect a new Pope as well as to advice the Pope. Some Cardinals have the duty of running a department of the Roman Curia. There are three degrees of Cardinals. They are: Cardinal Bishop, Cardinal Priest and Cardinal Deacon. A Cardinal is addressed as Your Eminence.
(a.) Cardinal Bishop: Cardinal Bishops are among the most senior prelates (high ranking member of the clergy-bishop) of the Church. Cardinal Bishops are those Cardinals that are titular bishops in one of the Suburicarian Sees. The Dean of the College of Cardinals is usually from among the Cardinal Bishops.
(b.) Cardinal Priests: Cardinal Priests are Cardinals who control important Parishes in the Diocese of Rome. They are Bishops of important Dioceses in the world and they are below Cardinal Bishops. Cardinal Proto Priest, that is, the longest serving Cardinal Priest is from this category. He has certain ceremonial duties in the Conclave during the election of a new Pope.
(c.) Cardinal Deacon: Cardinal Deacons is the lowest rank of Cardinal. It is derived from the Seven Deacons of the Papal Household and the Seven Deacons who supervised the Church's works in the district of Rome in the Middle Ages. Cardinal Deacons have Diocesan responsibilities as Bishops. Cardinal Proto-Deacon who is the most senior Cardinal Deacon in the order of appointment to the College of Cardinals is from this category. He has the privilege of announcing the election of a new Pope.
Special types of Cardinals:
There are other Cardinals who function when the seat of Papacy is vacant. They are:
(1) The Carmerlengo: The Cardinal Carmerlengo and the vice Carmerlengo and other prelates of the office of Apostolic Camera are those who function during sedes vacante of the Papacy. The Cardinal Camerlengo gathers information about the financial status of all administrations of the Holy See and presents the result to the College of Cardinals at the Conclave.
3. ARCHBISHOP: An Archbishop is a Bishop who has been promoted to preside over a Metropolitan See or an Archdiocese (the principal see of an ecclesiastical province constituting more than one diocese). He is the authoritative teacher of faith in his region and has the prerogative of calling all the bishops in his Metropolis to a provincial council. An Archbishop is addressed as Your Grace, while a Bishop is addressed as Your Lordship.
4. PAPAL LEGATE: The term Papal legate is from the Latin word Legatus which means a personal representative of the Pope to foreign nations or to some part of the Catholic Church. Among the Papal Legate we have:
(a.) Nuncio: Nuncio is from the Latin word Nuncius meaning “envoy.” It is an ecclesiastical diplomatic title. A Nuncio is a Papal legate of the highest rank permanently accredited to a civil government. He is vested with both political and ecclesiastical powers. He is equivalent to an ambassador to any other nation. He can represent the Pope in a state or international organization. Usually, he is an Archbishop and he serves as a liaison between the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Diocesan Episcopate in any nation or region.
(b.) A Legate a latere: He is a temporary papal representative or a representative for a special purpose.
(c.) Pronuncio: The term Pronuncio was used between 1965 and 1991 for a Papal diplomatic representative to a country that did not accord the Papal legate precedence over other ambassadors.
(d.) Apostolic Delegate: An Apostolic delegate is a Papal representative who serves as a liaison between the Roman Catholic Church in any nation and the Holy See. Apostolic delegate is not accredited to the nation but only to Roman Catholic Church. He has the Rank as a Nuncio, but he has no diplomatic status.
In a nutshell these are the Ecclesiastical offices apart from the three degrees of the Sacrament of Orders in the Catholic Church. One who occupies any of these offices must be conferred with the Sacraments of Orders.
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Governor Oshiomhole Thanks God At Auchi
…As Bishop Dunia Sues for Unity

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, has recently appreciated God at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi on the level of development recorded so far by his administration in the State.
Delivering the homily at the thanksgiving mass which coincided with World Day of Communications, the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia who noted that in all circumstances they should give thanks to God, congratulated Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on the level of development recorded so far in the State. While noting that Jesus prayed earnestly for unity among His ministers and people, the Bishop enjoined all present to remain united to promote more development in the State and Nigeria in general.
Continuing, the Shepherd of Souls tasked all present to foster peace among Nigerians, as it would enable leaders to discharge their duties effectively to the people and urged all present to continue to respect and show high esteem for their leaders. He also harp on the need for them to continue to comfort the weak among them and enjoined them not to return evil to those who plot against them, but tasked them to remain prayerful at all times, no matter the circumstance they might find themselves.
Emphasizing on the need for continuous peace and unity among all, the prelate reiterated that promoting peace and unity irrespective of political, religious, socio-cultural and ideological inclination, is of outmost importance among Edo people. The Bishop pointed out that it would encourage more development, while calling on all to learn to appreciate God in the life of the Governor who has brought more development to the people of the state, stressing that the celebration was an opportunity for all present to re-examine themselves and be ready to act positively for the good of all.
Further, the Shepherd of Souls harped on the need for all to continue to look ahead and think of better ways of developing the state, enjoined all to put their past behind, stressing that appreciating the good things done by an individual is indirectly thanking God. He further charged the people of the State to constantly commend their leaders in the hands of God, as the heart of a king is in the hands of God, affirming that in the race of life, God can use anybody to bring changes to the people no matter the size or shape, while urging all present to emulate the Comrade governor's exemplary qualities.
Further, the Bishop of the Diocese enjoined all to continue to strive hard in their endeavour no matter the tribulation, suffering and oppression, pointing out that they should not be complaisant but should rather work towards attaining their positive goals in life and prayed God to continue to strengthen the celebrant to enable him bring more development to the people of the State.
Commending all present for attending the celebration, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who appreciated the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Auchi, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel Dunia for his prayers and support for his administration, noted that the Bishop's advise is always full of wisdom and thanked the people of Edo State for their co-operation towards his government, while pledging his continuous supports to the growth and development for the Catholic Diocese of Auchi.
Giving the vote of thanks, Prof. Ignatius Onimhawo thanked the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, Priests, Religious and all present for attending the thanksgiving Mass and praised the efforts of all who made the celebration possible.
Highpoints of the Mass was a thanksgiving procession to the altar by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole accompanied by his mother, Alhajia Ashietu Oshiomhole, family, friends and well wishers. Also there was blessing of communication tools by the Bishop and commissioning of the offices for Social communication, Education, JDPC and GAD at the former Fr. Grace Memorial Education Centre, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.
Also present at the celebration were the Vicar General of the Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Bossey, Director of social communications Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, Director Pontifical Mission Society of Nigeria, Auchi Diocese, Rev. Fr. James Anelu, Cathedral Administrator Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai, Senator Obende Domigo, commissioners, friends and associates of the governors among others.
Continuing, Comrade Oshiomhole who also praised the efforts of the royal fathers present, appreciated the royal fathers and Afemai sons and daughters for celebrating his developmental strides in the State and assured them of his determination to work for the betterment of all the citizens of the State irrespective of political, socio- cultural and religious affiliation, while enjoining all the people of the State to continue to pray for the success of his administration.
Collaborative Ministry is Important in the Church - Msgr Aniagwu
Msgr. John Aniagwu, Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, has harped on the importance of collaborative ministry, stressing that the Church has everything to gain by embracing the idea of collaborative ministry and putting it into full effect.
He dropped this hint while presenting a paper titled “Collaborative Ministry of Clergy, Religious and Laity” at a retreat for Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful to mark the year of faith at the Catholic Diocese of Auchi Pastoral Centre, Sabo- Iyakpi.
Msgr. Aniagwu who noted that Collaborative Ministry entails working together from the planning stage to the execution of programmes and projects, stressed that it is not good for any group to be excluded at the planning stage where decisions are taken, only to be called in at the stage of execution, stressing that it diminishes their sense of responsibility for the task to be undertaken and reduce them to the level of second grade involvement in it. He asserted that “… religious be part of decision making organs of the local Church like the Priests Council and Pastoral Council at both Diocesan and Parish levels. In that way, they will be actively involved when programmes and projects are being planned and decisions are taken as to how they are to be carried out,” adding that “the Laity are quite understandably always represented on Pastoral Council at both Diocesan and Parish levels.”
Continuing, the retreat master reiterated that “for all the gigantic missions of the Church to be carried out effectively and efficiently, all who are engaged in it must work as one. They cannot afford the luxury of working in isolation from one another or, worse still, bickering about their respective roles within the Church. Hence, the need for Collaboration Ministry in the Church in Nigeria”, affirming that it is the way forward for the Church, and all who are engaged in the work of the apostolate must recognize that fact and put it into effect.
Further, the resource person who made reference to events in the Bible that hinted on the idea of Collaborative Ministry, enjoined the Priests, Religious and Laity to work for the growth and development of the Church, stressing that in the New Testament, Jesus Commission His Apostles to teach the Good news.
Rescue Nigeria from Collapse – CBCN
Following the inceasant terrorist attacks and President Goodluck Jonathan's declaration of State of emergency in three Northern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has reiterated the need for all Nigerians to work co-operatively to rescue Nigeria from Collapse.
This was contained in a statement signed by the CBCN President, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama and the CBCN Secretary Most Rev. William Avenya, issued at the end of their retreat to mark the year of faith held at the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Centre, Abuja.
According to the CBCN, “for the last two years, we have witnessed an unprecedented escalation of violence and criminality across the country. We must admit that apart from the tragic civil war, our nation has never known so much warton destruction of lives, properties and institution.”They affirmed that “what started as a mere clash between law enforcement agencies and members of the Islamic sect commonly labeled as Boko Haram, has since spiraled into what can at best described as a low- intensity war, especially in some northern States of the country,” stressing that “taken together with a range of other crises in other parts of the country such as armed robbery, kidnapping, communal clashes, our country is now almost on the brink”.
Continuing, the prelates lamented the magnitude of the crisis which has been staggering and overwhelming, noting that “families have been wiped out, communities displaced are now refugees and internally displaced persons roam. The Nigeria landscape”, they pointed out that “everyday, we hear more and more ugly stories of death and destruction in the land. Sadly, the entire apparatus of State security seems totally overwhelmed by the agent of darkness,” adding that “what we must ask, is the way out and how will it all end?”
Highlighting on some of the ways of resolving the problem, the Bishops noted that “we commend Nigerians for their steadfastness and their long suffering, trust and belief in the power of prayer. However, “we encourage our people to remain committed to the principles of democracy” and added that “we appeal to all our politicians to place the survival of our country before partisan political interest and consideration”.
Further, the statement revealed that “we appreciate the sacrifices that members of the security agencies and the armed forces have continued to make as they constantly face danger in the course of their duty” enjoined them to remain patriotic and loyal to constitutional government to protect the nation’s hard earned democracy.
More, the Bishops stressed that “it is clear that what our country is witnessing, is the cumulative effect and the corrosive impact of corruption. It is evident that unless our political leaders surmorn the courage to use the relevant institution of State to confront this monster, it will devour our entire nation”. In addition, they commended the President's effort in seeking to bring the challenges under control, adding that “we believe that given the serious nature of the crises, the President must use all available resources and opportunities required to resolve the tension in various parts of the country,” asserting that “in the spirit of bipartisanship, we urge that the President mobilize the leadership of the political class especially the members of the dominant ruling party to resolve the lingering crises in the country.”
Commenting on the forth coming 2015 elections, the statement revealed that “we must note that first, there has to be a nation before we can conduct elections,” and stressed that “Democracy ought to offer a level playing field in which every citizen should feel free to aspire to any office in the land. We therefore hold the members of political class squarely responsible for ensuring the stability of our dear nation”.
Also, the CBCN who noted that they are aware of the various initiative by government to resolve the Boko Haram issue such as setting up of the Amnesty committee and in particular the declaration of the State of emergency in some States in the country, hinted that “we insist that genuine amnesty should mean offering pardon to repentant militants and not appeasing criminals and their sponsors to stay calm. We pray and hope that the declaration of State of emergency in some States of the country will achieve the desired objective”. More, the Bishops and encouraged the government to energize the justice system such that adequate and speedy punishment for crime serves as a deterant to impurity” and called on federal government to continue to explore the most effective means of dialogue, with a view to restoring the country to normalcy.
The shepherd of souls noted that “as religious leaders, we again call on our people and leaders to genuine repentance as we continue to pray in earnest for our country. We believe that with the right resolve, we can put these crisis behind us and strive forward to build a strong and prosperous society,” the statement read.
Cathedral Mourns Catechist Daughter
… As DSP Braimah is laid to rest at Udochi
The Catholic community of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi has recently commiserated with the family of Catechist Jude Osakwa of the Cathedral, over the loss of his daughter, Judith Osakwa.
Delivering the homily at the funeral Mass, the Cathedral administrator Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai enjoined them to put their grief aside and look forward to the resurrection day when they shall be reunited to part no more. He also urged all present to take heart and be careful in their utterances, as no one knows when they will be called to rest by God, adding that God is the owner of their lives.
Continuing, Fr. Anaweokhai who described the death of the deceased as a colossal loss not only to the family but to the society in general, enjoined the family to remain steadfast in the Lord, as it was the will of God to give and take.
The homilist noted that although it might seem to be a turbulent and challenging period for the Osakwa family, he further tasked them to remain focus in God as He will never let them down, while praying God to receive her soul in His bosom.
The final commendation rite was perform by Rev. Fr. Kingsley Okodugha, as the body was laid to rest at the Church Cemetery in Afashio.
Similarly, the remains of the retired District Superintendent of Police (DSP) Anthony Izibril Azemobor Braimah, has been laid to rest at his home town, Udochi.
Delivering the homily at the funeral Mass, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Gimah who commiserated with the family, stressed that at death, no one would know sufferings or pain of any kind, but rather, sleep in the Lord, tasked all present to always pray for their deceased love ones.
Extolling some of the exemplary qualities of the deceased, the homilist noted that he was a devout Catholic who served God with his life, adding that he was always willing to serve, teach love and encourage others to be happy in Christ Jesus. He added that late Braimah was an active member of St. Jude Society, St. Anthony as well as a worthy Parishioner and a Policeman of good repute who was never feeble in serving God and enjoined all present to emulate his good virtues.
Continuing, Fr. Gimah harped on the need for all faithful to endeavour to reconcile with God and be in a state of grace, as no one knows the day or hour and prayed God to receive his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.
The final commendation rite was done by Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai, Cathedral administrator, while the body was later interred at his home town, Udochi.

Igarra Parish Gets New Laity Executive
St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, Igarra has elected a new Laity Executive to run their affairs for the next three years.
Giving his remarks at the election held at Rev. Fr. Thomas Oleghe's hall, the Parish Priest Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Bossey who welcomed members of the Laity Council to the event, frowned at the attitude of some members who were not willing to accept responsibilities at the Parish and tasked them to desist from such act and work for the growth of the Parish.
Continuing, Fr. Bossey thanked all present for putting in place an executive who is ready to lead by example, while urging the newly Executives to work for the growth of the Parish and congratulated the newly elected Executive.
Appreciating all present on behalf of the newly elected Executive, the Parish Laity Chairman Mr. Moses Olufemi, thanked the Parish Priest and members for the opportunity given them to serve and solicited for the co-operation and support of the Parishioners to enable them succeed.
At the end of the election, the following emerged as members of the Executive, Mr. Moses Olufemi; Chairman, Mr. John Alugbe; Vice Chairman, Mrs. Benedicta Jimoh; Secretary and Mr. Moses Augustine; Assistant Secretary. Others were Mrs. G. A Obamodi; Treasurer, Mrs. V. F. Okoricto; Financial Secretary, Anthony ThankGod Balogun; PRO, Mrs. C. O. Sumanu; Welfare 1, Lucy Ogumah Welfare 11, and Chief L.A. Oshomah; Provost.
St. Philip-Neri Jattu Marks Pentecost Sunday
St. Philip-Neri Catholic Church, Jattu has recently marked Pentecost Sunday with a thanksgiving to God, for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Delivering the homily at the Mass, Rev. Fr. Philip-Neri Ebakhaye noted that the feast of Pentecost is a festival in which Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, noting that as Christians and children of God, they cannot do without the gift of the Holy Spirit. He also added that the gift of the Holy Spirit ushers in blessings which include Wisdom, Understanding, Self control, Good counsel, Piety, Knowledge, Fortitude and the fear of the Lord, pointing out that without the gift of the Holy Spirit, the human flesh would remain valueless.
Continuing, Fr. Ebakhaye who hinted that the twelve gifts of the Holy Spirit are Charity, Joy, peace, Patience. Goodness, Faith, Modesty among others, affirmed that the Spirit of God gives life, unity and peace to all in their communities and families. He stressed that if all allows the Holy Spirit to take control of their lives, the world would become a better place.
Further, the homilist enjoined all present to continue to fear God, who is the universal king, adding that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, as whoever obey's the Lord's commandment will receive His blessings that would enable them lead others, while tasking all present to dispose themselves to the Spirit of God as promised by Jesus Christ. The Priest added that the Spirit of God is always revealing the truth at all times and prayed God to bless them and grant them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
NFCS Sends Forth Fr. Aligamhe
The Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students, Auchi Polytechnic, Chapter, has sent forth their Chaplain Rev. Fr. John Aligamhe, at St. Augustine Chaplaincy Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi.
Delivering the homily at the Mass, the former Chaplain Rev. Fr. John Aligamhe who appreciated God for His mercies and goodness in his life, noted that before true unity can be achieved, there must be love and charged all present to love one another and remain united, as it will foster more development among them, adding that promoting peace and unity is required of a good Christian.
Continuing, the out gone Chaplain, reiterated that as a Christian community, they should endeavour to practice unconditional love among themselves, stressing that in order for them to attain success in their education, they should put God first and always learn to work hard, as behind every cross, there is a corresponding grace.
Further, the homilist enjoined all present to continue to emulate the exemplary qualities set for them by Jesus Christ, pointing out that working on the path of Christ while in the Polytechnic would enable them attain their set goals, adding that having passion, interest, determination and hard work in their academic activities are key to success, and further urged them to keep their Christian faith alive at all time and prayed God to grant them success in their studies.
Highpoint of the celebration was the presentation of gift items by NFCS members, friends and individuals to the Priest as well as a thanksgiving procession by the out gone Chaplain accompanied to the altar by NFCS members, friends and well wishers.
Also present at the celebration were Rev. Fr. Alfred Ebalu, Rector Mary the Queen Catholic Church, Agbede and Rev. Fr. Anthony Erin-Ola, Chaplain, St. Augustine Chaplaincy, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Students from Sacred Heart College Agenebode among others.

Auchi Diocese Holds Retreat at Pastoral Centre
… Participants Laud Bishop Dunia for the Initiative
As part of spiritual activities to mark the year of faith, the Catholic Diocese of Auchi Pastoral Initiative Commission, has organized a retreat for Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Diocese, at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, Sabo-Iyakpi.
Welcoming all present to the event, the Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr) Gabriel G. Dunia, who noted that the event was timely as it was to enlighten Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful on the need to encourage collaborative ministry among them, commended the retreat master Msgr. John Aniagwu, the Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos for honouring their invitation.
Continuing, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese hinted that the retreat was to renew and reform all with the Spirit of God, as they mark the year of faith, and urged all present to utilize the knowledge gained from the retreat effectively to enhance their lives and promote unity among faithful. He further commended all present for attending the retreat.
Speaking on the purpose of the retreat, the Chairman Pastoral Initiative Commission, Rev. Fr. (Dr) Gregory Ogbenika who noted that the retreat was to begin a new decade as the Diocese has recently marked ten years and the Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop, hinted that there is the need for greater collaboration among Priests, Religious and the Lay Faithful to enhance more development in the Diocese.
Further, Fr. Ogbenika who stressed on the importance of collaboration, noted that there is the need for all to be educated and enlightened on the value of co-operation, adding that it will enable the Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful work together to facilitate more development at Diocesan, Parish, Mass Centres and the Out Stations level. He commended the participants for their turn out, describing it as encouraging and thanked the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr) Gabriel G. Dunia for the event.
Appreciating the Bishop Most Rev. (Dr) Gabriel G. Dunia for the bold initiative, some of the participants who spoke with the PROMISE Correspondent; Rev. Sr. Kelechi Okere of Mother of Perpetual Help of the Angel's, Rev. Sr. Gloria Okafor, Sister of Notre Dame and Sir George Umoru, the Diocesan Laity Chairman, praised the Bishop for organizing the retreat, pointing out that its importance cannot be overemphasized and described it as timely.
Continuing, they thanked the resource person for his extensive and educative lecture, stressing that the lessons learnt would be used effectively to promote better collaboration among the Priests, religious and Lay Faithful of the Diocese, while urging all present to abide with some of the points raised by the retreat master to encourage peace and unity among the people of the Diocese.
Giving the vote of thanks, Rev. Fr. (Prof.) John Onimhawo appreciated God for making the event possible, commended the chief shepherd of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr) Gabriel G. Dunia for organizing the spiritual event aimed at promoting collaboration among all the people of the Diocese. He added that the lessons learnt from the event would further help in promoting unity in the Diocese.
More, Fr. Onimhawo who thanked the retreat master Msgr J. K. A. Aniagwu for the lecture, described him as a teacher who has impacted positively on those around him and praised the efforts of the Pastoral Initiative Committee for the work done. He also commended the Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful present for attending the retreat, while urging them to unitize the knowledge gained from the retreat positively for the development of their Parishes and the Diocese in general.
Highpoint of the retreat was the presentation of lecture titled “Collaborative ministry of Clergy, Religious and Laity” by Msgr John Aniagwu, Benediction, as well as decoration of the resource person in Afemai traditional attire among others.
Sacred Heart Society Holds Seminar in Jattu
The Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary Society of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, has held a one day seminar at St. Philip-Neri Catholic Church, Jattu.
In his welcome address, the Diocesan President of the society Donatus Arewah who appreciated God for journey mercies granted all present, noted that the event was an opportunity for members to interact and learn from one another about the great Hearts of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary which would enhance their spiritual wellbeing and enjoined members to participate actively in the seminar.
Continuing, Mr. Arewah commended the executive at the Out stations, Mass centres, Parishes and the Diocesan level for their large turnout at the seminar and praised the Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Godwin Itakpe, for his prompt response to the association's activities.
Giving a talk titled the “Ark of the new covenant” Rev Fr. Romanus Ughovhe pointed out that the Ark is a symbol of God's presence with His people, as it is a blessing to the people.
He pointed out that Mother Mary was an Ark of the new Covenant who gave birth to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Further, Fr. Ughovhe affirmed that Mary who carried Jesus Christ in her womb, was an Ark of the New Covenant and hinted that the Ark of the new covenant is still with all, as when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, Mary was the first to receive the grace of Salvation. He enjoined Christians to always study the word of God and be grateful to Him for what He has done for them.
In separate lectures delivered by Bro. Stephen Akinlade titled “Humility, sign of Conversion and Holiness” and Bro Augustine on the “Duties of Officers” the duo noted that any Christian who wish to succeed in his endeavour, must be humble and be selfless in service, and tasked all to co-operate effectively to enable all succeed in their endeavours.
More, the resource persons hinted that no one can achieve success without humility and dedication to duty, adding that anyone who wish to succeed in his spiritual and social activities, must always submit to God at all times and urged all to endeavour to forgive one another. Also, the guest speakers tasked all present to be dedicated to the work of God and shun pride which will deprive them from achieving their goals, while tasking members of the society to remain Holy and be responsive to their duties.
In his remarks, the Chaplain of the society Rev. Fr. Godwin Itakpe who appreciated God for the success of the programme, urged members to remain humble while carrying out their activities in the association and prayed God to bless them and wished them journey mercy to their various destinations.
Ayogwiri CWO Mark Mother's Day, Laity week
The Joy of motherhood was recently celebrated at St. Mathew Catholic Church, Ayogwiri as the parish Catholic Women Organization (CWO), marked Mother's day with thanksgiving.
In a homily delivered at the Mass, the parish administrator Rev. Fr. John Awaebe noted that day was a special one for women to recognize their importance in the Church, adding that women have played vital roles in humanity.
Continuing, the homilist enjoined the parishioners to continue to have faith in Christ Jesus and stop looking for solutions elsewhere during their trying times, as Christ has taken away their sorrows and prayed God to bless them.
Speaking shortly after the mass, the parish CWO president Mrs. Magdalene Emoabino who appreciated the parish priest for celebrating with the CWO of the parish, thanked all present for attending the event, while commending them for contributing towards the completion of the parish Grotto and enjoined them to continue to support the developmental stride of the parish Priest.
The event also featured presentation of awards to twenty six parishioners who have contributed immensely to the development of the parish.
In a similar vain, the parish Laity council has recently celebrated her Laity week with spiritual and physical exercise to strengthen the faith of the faithful.
In his remarks, the parish administrator who noted that the event is important to all faithful, urged all to participate actively in their activities, as it will enrich them spiritually.
Presenting the National Laity president's address, the parish Laity Chairman Si.r Oyarebu Philip who enjoined all faithful to make it a point of duty to be part of the celebration, noted that the celebration was important to enable all faithful understand their role as a people of God and work harmoniously with their Priest while urging them to actively participate in the celebration.
In a separate lecture delivered by the parish Laity Chairman, Sir. Oyarebu Philip titled “who are the Lay faithful” and Seminarian Peter Inusah titled “the importance of Lay Apostolate” the duo noted that Lay faithful are non ordained members of Christ and non professed members of religious institutes sanctioned by the Church, adding that they constitute 99% of the members of Christ faithful.
They further noted that Clergy and Religious constitute one percent, pointing out that the Church is made up of Laity and Clergy.
On his part, catechist Bruno Imoesi in a talk titled “the dignity of the Lay faithful”, charged faithful to continue to live a holy, and good Christian life, enjoined them to live up to their baptismal calling, which signifies an embodiment of dignity per excellence, and prayed God to grant the grace to emulate the exemplary life of Christ.
Other resource persons during the celebration were Sir Emmanuel Apakhade who spoke on the topic “Lay person in the parish and in the diocese” and Mrs. Patience Aighu.
The event also featured visitation to hospitals, orphanage, and old people's home among others.
Cathedral Marks Pentecost Sunday
The faithful of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi have recently marked the feast of Pentecost.
Delivering the homily at the Mass, the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia who concelebrated with Rev. Fr. Kingsley Okodugha, noted that the gift of the Holy Spirit makes them to be good people in the service of God, stressing that Holy Spirit plays the part of being an advocate as well as a comforter in any situation they may find themselves. He pointed out that as an advocate, he bore the message of the birth of Jesus Christ and the message become fruitful through its overwhelming power on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Continuing, the Shepherd of Souls, pointed out that the Holy Spirit has gifts and fruits which they should pray daily to posses. Bishop Dunia who noted that as the Catechumens are taught that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and fear of the Lord, added that when the Holy Spirit dwells in them they would have fortitude and satisfaction in whatever that is happening around them.
Further, the prelate affirmed that if faithful can all commit their Souls to God, they will have peace and calmness of the heart, patience and kindness, adding that other attributes of the Holy Spirit are Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self Control, Chastity, Joy, Patience among others. He thereafter and prayed that the gift of the Holy Spirit will continue to increase and sanitize every area of their lives.
St. James Water Board Ends Laity Week
… As CYON Holds Seminar
The Laity Council of St. James Mass Centre, Water board, Auchi has recently held their Laity Week in line with Diocese Laity Council annual programmes.
Delivering the homily at the Mass to flag off the celebration, the Rector of the Mass Centre, Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo who enjoined faithful to always participate in activities taking place in the Church, noted that without the Laity, the Church will not exist and affirmed that Christian’s call is a call of sacrifice and humility to God.
Continuing, Fr. Emodogo enjoined the Laity Council members to continue to give their best to the service of God, pointing out that the Laity week was an opportunity for them to be educated on issues bordering them and enable them grow spiritually.
Delivering a talk shortly after the Mass, titled “who are the faithful”, Sir N. Ogbemhe noted that the Church as the body of Christ is made up of Lay faithful and Clergy and enjoined the Lay faithful to be alive to their duties and collaborate, complement and work effectively for the growth and development of the church and propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In his talk, titled “the importance of Lay Apostolate” Sir P. Imanogor enjoined all present to endeavour to join Lay Apostolate Groups in the mass centre to enable them grow spiritually, stressing that belonging to Lay Apostolate Group would enable them contribute their quota to the Church.
On her part, Mrs. Julia U. Ezurike in her talk titled “the dignity of Laity”, noted that the dignity of the Laity is the ability of the Laity to have a sense of importance to enable them contribute to the activities in the church while hinting that the Clergy is chosen from the Laity, as the Lay faithful are dignified and urged all present to bow to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Speaking separately on the topic “Lay persons in the Mass Centres, Parishes, Dioceses and the duty to evangelize”, Mrs. V. E Braimoh and Mr. Christopher Ighodaro, tasked faithful to continue to embark on evangelization to enable the gospel of Christ to spread to all corners of their society, stressing that bringing God's message to all is the duty of the faithful which should not be left for the Clergy alone, as they prayed God to strengthen them to enable them carry out the duties bestow on them by Jesus Christ.
Giving the vote of thanks, the Mass Centre Laity Chairman Chief Omogbemhe, appreciated the Rector for attending the celebration and thanked all present.
The events also featured interactive sessions, visitation and presentation of gift items to Orphanage homes among others.
In another development, the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON), St. James Mass Centre, water board, Auchi has organized a seminar tagged “Know Your Genotype and Blood group”.
Educating participants at the programme facilitated by the Mass Centre CYON President Gregory Ogbemhe, in collaboration with some Youth Medical Laboratory Scientist, from Irrua Specialist Hospital, Miss Rosemary Ekpeh harped on the importance of knowing one's genotype and blood group before choosing a spouse. She also enumerated some of the possible dangers inherent of its ignorance to include giving birth to an anaemic and Pregnancy complications among others.
More, the resource person tasked youths to always endeavour to ask questions on Medical issues, as it will enable them make the right choice and avoid some mistakes in future.
In his remarks, the Chaplain of St. Augustine Chaplaincy, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi and Priest in residence in St. James Mass Centre, Rev. Fr. Anthony Erin-Ola encouraged all Youths to always go for Medical test to know their genotype and blood group, noting that it will go a long way in averting unnecessary problems in future and commended the organizers for the event and prayed God to bless them.
Appreciating all present for attending the programme, the Mass Centre CYON President Gregory Ogbemhe, thanked God for the success of the event and praised the participants for making themselves available to be tested, while thanking Rev. Fr. Anthony Erin-Ola for attending the programme, affirming that the event was part of their contribution to humanity.
Some of the Youths who spoke to our correspondent shortly after the event, commended the organizers of the event and enjoined all Parishes/Mass Centres to endeavour to organize such programme in their Parishes, adding that lessons learnt from the seminar would go a long way in helping to enable them chose their right partner in future.
The programme also featured interactive session, testing of blood group and genotype among others.
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