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Secure Our Motherland
It is always a thing of concern when one is not safe to live in an environment which he or she calls MOTHERLAND. A motherland that is characterized by fear and insecurity political, economic, societal and environmental insecurity stares us in the face, while those we have voted in, who each time make promises to sustain our national security that will in turn pave way for a proper building of our nation, sits and mismanage the human and natural resources entrusted to them.
It is a truism that good governance cannot exclude the contributions of the masses, but in a situation when the so called 'Elite' exploit the sincerity of the masses for their own political and national gains, then our struggle for nation building will be fruitless. Our national and common interest has gone on vacation in the lips and words of our leaders, for none has successfully shown the way that leads to the promised dreams of our heroes past.

With the rate of bombing and other criminal acts prevailing around us, no individual is secure, and if the individual is not secure, the nation cannot be secure, and if the nation is under attack from internal sources, the nation and the individual cannot be secure. If an enemy comes from outside, one can easily defend such an attack, but when it comes from within, it sends a signal of doom, the 'step brother' of anarchy, which in turn can easily jeopardize our hope of a better Nigeria.
It is a pity that we have not learnt as a nation the many setbacks in our efforts of nation building, the civil war of 1967 and the June 12, 1993 annulled elections, even the Niger Delta problems which was allowed to aggravate at the expense of our national peace and security. This problem drew unwanted external attention to us with friends and detractors alike expressing their concern about Nigeria's human right credentials.

Now we have carved out a new name to soil our image externally BOKO HARAM. What a pity that 'sheep clothes' has now become our national uniform. We must know that “there can be no national development without domestic peace and neither development nor peace without democracy, durable institutions and respect for the human rights of the people” (Kofi Annan).

We are historically a youth in terms of nation building struggling within exuberance and fatigue, but being a youth or adult cannot suggest our failure to strengthen our democracy. If our democracy is strengthened by sincerity, strong will and national interest, then we can posses the capacity to enhance sustainable peace, security, stability and development.

Our task is a collective one and we have done our own through casting of votes, so let the masses reap the fruits of their labour and see concrete actions applied to unravel the mystery behind this trend of insecurity for concrete action backed by good intention is a prerequisite for good governance.
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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 posses, 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 divinae gratiae = Mother of Divine 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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Expounding The Concept Of Prayer
» By Rev. Fr. Anselm Jimoh
I had wanted to share a reflection in this edition on the question of whether our prayers change the will of God or the course of events. I however, to the contrary feel obliged by the reactions of some readers to respond to their enquiries on some of the views I expressed in the preceding/introductory edition. This is especially in the area of shouting when we pray.

I did say and maintain that raising our voices at God is not praying. This has been misunderstood by some readers as a view against vocal prayer. I take responsibility for the misunderstanding as I went through the published work and noticed that I used the expression; “raising our voices to God” instead of “raising our voices at God.” I guess the expression; “raising our voices to God” gives room for the mistaken interpretation. The difference lies in the “at”, which is definitely disrespectful as it means shouting at God.

The fact of the matter, which is the point I made and still emphasize is that shouting at God as many do today in the name of praying, and the unruly outburst of emotions are wrong and unacceptable ways to pray. Vocal prayer, which necessarily involves the use of our voices in communicating our praises and desires to God is a valid form of prayer like such other forms as meditation or mental prayer and mystical prayer.

A reader referred me to Acts 4:24 among other suggested passages of scripture to interpret in the light of my claim. Acts 4:24 says; “when they heard it, they raised their voices as one and called upon God .. .” The use of the term “raised” here does not in any way translate as “shouted.” The group of believers had just listened to Peter and John who shared with them their experiences with the elders and the chief priest and Pharisees who had arrested them and released them on the strong warning that they should no longer speak in the name of Jesus Christ. (Act 4:1 ff). As one body and group they prayed in thanksgiving to God with one voice. It is a common experience and expression that people talk about praying as raising our eyes to heaven, or looking up on God, or evening going up the mountain. These are common ways we expression our communication with God in prayer. They do not meaning shouting as in raising our voices at God, which is what I condemn.

Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies raising our voices at God during prayer. In the pattern of prayer Jesus gave the apostles, the popular “Our Father” (Mt.6:9, Lk. 11:1 and Mk 11:25), respect and homage to God “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name” comes first before any other thing. In my piece on “The Lord's Prayer: A Disciple's Prayer” published in two parts in previous editions of this newspaper, I explained, citing William Barclay that “holy is your name” or “hallowed be thy name” interprets as God's name is to be separated from others and given a special reverence as it differs from any other name. There is no conception of this phrase that out rightly disagrees with this interpretation. A son shows no respect to his father by shouting or raising his voice at the father!

In our time, the raising of our voices at God takes a different and worse dimension when speaking in tongues is involved. I do have my deep reservations about speaking in tongues but would rather not discuss that here or now. Suffice to note that at the point of speaking in tongues, most times, not all the times and not by all who speak in tongues, but most of those who do and most of the times they speak in tongues during prayer, the rudeness at God gets into the realm of reckless abandon. What is suppose to be a respectful and docile supplication addressed to a most superior Being becomes a reckless display of acquired “talent” and a show of disregard and disrespect to the divine.
Perhaps at this point, we should take an excursion through the scripture in relation to prayer. The idea is to see how the children of God prayed and pull out any noticeable trend as a model of prayer.

The Old Testament (OT) shows prayer as a dialogue between God and Israel. The Psalms constitute the prayer handbook of the OT. In addition to the Psalms, you have the prayers of Eliezer (Gen.24:12-14), Jacob (Gen.32:1O-13), Moses (Ex.32: 11-14, 34:8f, Num. 14:13-19), Gideon (Jg.6:36-40), Samson (Jg. 15:18, 16:28), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:1 Off), David (2Kings 7:18-29), Solomon (1 Kings 3:6-9, 8:23-53), Elijah (1Kings 19:36f). These represent the Israelites' typical form of prayer. The prayers attributed to Moses are of special interest as they are more like the intercessory prayers we are used to in our own time. This is also the pattern of prayer in the story of Abraham and Sodom (Gen.18:20-32).

The common characteristics of these prayers are that they are short, dignified and humble. This immediately calls to mind the injunction of Jesus to his disciples when he taught them to pray; “When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen ... When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret.” (Mt.6:5-6). While this does not necessarily suggests that prayer should be a secret affair, it also does not say that we should turn our public address systems to the houses round about as many churches do today and disturb the entire neighbourhood in the name of prayers. Jesus out rightly condemns those who are unfair and unjust to others and yet offer long showy prayers in public. (Mk.12:40, Lk.20:47). The OT suggests that our prayers should be a humble dignified dialogue with God, not a jamboree or adverts to attract and distract others.

Prayers in the postexilic books of the OT, like Ezra 9:6-15, Tobit 3:1-6, 13:1-18, Judith 9:2-14, 2Macc.15:22-24, are longer and more formal than what we find in the pre-exilic period. They are often prayers of contrition. The prophetic literatures are replete with prayers and one spirit runs through all the forms of prayer; namely, humility or a humble submission to the Most High. The prophets were not known to command God or hold God to ransom on account of the covenant. The contrast in prayer style is seen in 1Kings 18:27-29, 36-37. This is the prayer of the prophets of Baal and Elijah respectively. The prophets of Baal shouted, gashed their skin with knives until they bled and raved, Elijah dignifiedly and humbly entreated Yahweh and at once, he was answered.

In the New Testament (NT), Jesus was very critical of pharisaic practices, including their “show-off” method of prayer. He cautioned his followers against such prayer practices (Mt.6:5-8), which he likened to pagan practice; a fact confirmed by the example of the prophets of Baal above.

Jesus does not actually condemn long prayers because they are long as there is nothing wrong with long prayers. What he condemned was the public show which to a great extent is the intent behind such lengthy prayers. In today's Christian world, it is like we want people to know we can pray eloquently for a sustained period of time. The Pharisee was eloquent in giving an account of himself to God while the publican was brief, contrite and humble. (Lk.18:lOff). The publican went home at right with God, indicating he left the presence of God fulfilled and renewed. It was not what was said and what was not said, but how what was said was said; for more than anything else, prayer is the raising up of our minds and hearts to God.

Jesus' own prayer life which dominates the gospels is our perfect example of how to pray. His method of prayer illustrates his recommI had wanted to share a reflection in this edition on the question of whether our prayers change the will of God or the course of events. I however, to the contrary feel obliged by the reactions of some readers to respond to their enquiries on some of the views I expressed in the preceding/introductory edition. This is especially in the area of shouting when we pray.
I did say and maintain that raising our voices at God is not praying. This has been misunderstood by some readers as a view against vocal prayer. I take responsibility for the misunderstanding as I went through the published work and noticed that I used the expression; “raising our voices to God” instead of “raising our voices at God.” I guess the expression; “raising our voices to God” gives room for the mistaken interpretation. The difference lies in the “at”, which is definitely disrespectful as it means shouting at God.
The fact of the matter, which is the point I made and still emphasize is that shouting at God as many do today in the name of praying, and the unruly outburst of emotions are wrong and unacceptable ways to pray. Vocal prayer, which necessarily involves the use of our voices in communicating our praises and desires to God is a valid form of prayer like such other forms as meditation or mental prayer and mystical prayer.
A reader referred me to Acts 4:24 among other suggested passages of scripture to interpret in the light of my claim. Acts 4:24 says; “when they heard it, they raised their voices as one and called upon God .. .” The use of the term “raised” here does not in any way translate as “shouted.” The group of believers had just listened to Peter and John who shared with them their experiences with the elders and the chief priest and Pharisees who had arrested them and released them on the strong warning that they should no longer speak in the name of Jesus Christ. (Act 4:1 ff). As one body and group they prayed in thanksgiving to God with one voice. It is a common experience and expression that people talk about praying as raising our eyes to heaven, or looking up on God, or evening going up the mountain. These are common ways we expression our communication with God in prayer. They do not meaning shouting as in raising our voices at God, which is what I condemn.
Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies raising our voices at God during prayer. In the pattern of prayer Jesus gave the apostles, the popular “Our Father” (Mt.6:9, Lk. 11:1 and Mk 11:25), respect and homage to God “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name” comes first before any other thing. In my piece on “The Lord's Prayer: A Disciple's Prayer” published in two parts in previous editions of this newspaper, I explained, citing William Barclay that “holy is your name” or “hallowed be thy name” interprets as God's name is to be separated from others and given a special reverence as it differs from any other name. There is no conception of this phrase that out rightly disagrees with this interpretation. A son shows no respect to his father by shouting or raising his voice at the father!
In our time, the raising of our voices at God takes a different and worse dimension when speaking in tongues is involved. I do have my deep reservations about speaking in tongues but would rather not discuss that here or now. Suffice to note that at the point of speaking in tongues, most times, not all the times and not by all who speak in tongues, but most of those who do and most of the times they speak in tongues during prayer, the rudeness at God gets into the realm of reckless abandon. What is suppose to be a respectful and docile supplication addressed to a most superior Being becomes a reckless display of acquired “talent” and a show of disregard and disrespect to the divine.
Perhaps at this point, we should take an excursion through the scripture in relation to prayer. The idea is to see how the children of God prayed and pull out any noticeable trend as a model of prayer.
The Old Testament (OT) shows prayer as a dialogue between God and Israel. The Psalms constitute the prayer handbook of the OT. In addition to the Psalms, you have the prayers of Eliezer (Gen.24:12-14), Jacob (Gen.32:1O-13), Moses (Ex.32: 11-14, 34:8f, Num. 14:13-19), Gideon (Jg.6:36-40), Samson (Jg. 15:18, 16:28), Hannah (1 Sam. 1:1 Off), David (2Kings 7:18-29), Solomon (1 Kings 3:6-9, 8:23-53), Elijah (1Kings 19:36f). These represent the Israelites' typical form of prayer. The prayers attributed to Moses are of special interest as they are more like the intercessory prayers we are used to in our own time. This is also the pattern of prayer in the story of Abraham and Sodom (Gen.18:20-32).
The common characteristics of these prayers are that they are short, dignified and humble. This immediately calls to mind the injunction of Jesus to his disciples when he taught them to pray; “When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen ... When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret.” (Mt.6:5-6). While this does not necessarily suggests that prayer should be a secret affair, it also does not say that we should turn our public address systems to the houses round about as many churches do today and disturb the entire neighbourhood in the name of prayers. Jesus out rightly condemns those who are unfair and unjust to others and yet offer long showy prayers in public. (Mk.12:40, Lk.20:47). The OT suggests that our prayers should be a humble dignified dialogue with God, not a jamboree or adverts to attract and distract others.
Prayers in the postexilic books of the OT, like Ezra 9:6-15, Tobit 3:1-6, 13:1-18, Judith 9:2-14, 2Macc.15:22-24, are longer and more formal than what we find in the pre-exilic period. They are often prayers of contrition. The prophetic literatures are replete with prayers and one spirit runs through all the forms of prayer; namely, humility or a humble submission to the Most High. The prophets were not known to command God or hold God to ransom on account of the covenant. The contrast in prayer style is seen in 1Kings 18:27-29, 36-37. This is the prayer of the prophets of Baal and Elijah respectively. The prophets of Baal shouted, gashed their skin with knives until they bled and raved, Elijah dignifiedly and humbly entreated Yahweh and at once, he was answered.
In the New Testament (NT), Jesus was very critical of pharisaic practices, including their “show-off” method of prayer. He cautioned his followers against such prayer practices (Mt.6:5-8), which he likened to pagan practice; a fact confirmed by the example of the prophets of Baal above.
Jesus does not actually condemn long prayers because they are long as there is nothing wrong with long prayers. What he condemned was the public show which to a great extent is the intent behind such lengthy prayers. In today's Christian world, it is like we want people to know we can pray eloquently for a sustained period of time. The Pharisee was eloquent in giving an account of himself to God while the publican was brief, contrite and humble. (Lk.18:lOff). The publican went home at right with God, indicating he left the presence of God fulfilled and renewed. It was not what was said and what was not said, but how what was said was said; for more than anything else, prayer is the raising up of our minds and hearts to God.
Jesus' own prayer life which dominates the gospels is our perfect example of how to pray. His method of prayer illustrates his recommendation as he often prayed in solitude. (Lk.6:12). The event and prayer in the garden of Gethsemane showed how Jesus controlled his emotions in and through his prayers. (Mt.26:36-46, Mk.14:32-42, and Lk.22:40-46). He was overwhelmed with the reality of his forthcoming agony, suffering and death and wished it could pass over him. But it was not a matter of “by fire by force” as we are used to today, rather he prayed; “... Yet not what I want, but what you want.” (Mt.26:39, Lk.22:39, Mk.14:32). This is indeed a very sharp contrast to today's practice by most Christians.
Most Christians today will remind God what a faithful God he is and how faithful they have tried to be; they will remind God of His promises to His children and command that the “Holy Ghost fire” should consume them. “Them” here refers to the persecutors.
Jesus preferred and indeed most of his prayers were in solitude, but was not against cultic prayer. By “cultic prayer” we mean public liturgical prayers as different from personal, private, or family prayers.
I do sincerely hope that this elucidation has improved our understanding and corrected the mistaken interpretation in the last edition on the concept of prayer. I gratefully acknowledge and thank readers for their comments and reactions; most of which were positive, constructive and contributive, to the preceding edition. These reactions necessitated this further expansion. All such reactions are welcomed at all times and should be directed to the Editor of this newspaper, who I am sure will forward same to me with instructions and what to do. On the alternative, your reactions may be sent directly to my e-mail box; jimohanselml@yahoo.com or sms/call 08069701056. Till next edition, have a grace-filled month.

ndation as he often prayed in solitude. (Lk.6:12). The event and prayer in the garden of Gethsemane showed how Jesus controlled his emotions in and through his prayers. (Mt.26:36-46, Mk.14:32-42, and Lk.22:40-46). He was overwhelmed with the reality of his forthcoming agony, suffering and death and wished it could pass over him. But it was not a matter of “by fire by force” as we are used to today, rather he prayed; “... Yet not what I want, but what you want.” (Mt.26:39, Lk.22:39, Mk.14:32). This is indeed a very sharp contrast to today's practice by most Christians.
Most Christians today will remind God what a faithful God he is and how faithful they have tried to be; they will remind God of His promises to His children and command that the “Holy Ghost fire” should consume them. “Them” here refers to the persecutors.
Jesus preferred and indeed most of his prayers were in solitude, but was not against cultic prayer. By “cultic prayer” we mean public liturgical prayers as different from personal, private, or family prayers.
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The Years Eaten By The Locusts In The Nigerian Polity
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
Democracy in Nigeria from 1999 till date can rightly be regarded as the years eaten by the locusts. These locusts are the dubious political leaders who came in sheep clothing but are ravenous wolves devouring the national cake like a termite devouring wood. Now the time for change has come. The change we need in Nigeria today include a drastic reduction in the cost of maintaining those in the three tiers of government, the salaries of the members of Senate and House of Representative. It is unthinkable that in a country were the actual labour forces of the nation (those who make things happen) are scouting for a minimum wage of 18,000 naira per month (216, 000 naira per annum) even though most Governors are claiming that they will not be able to pay unless the Federal Allocation is increased, Senators and members of the House of Representative are receiving fabulous salaries, 25 per cent of the nation's budget. Where is the justice and equality then?
The last administration was indeed wasted years. Despite the numerous lootings carried out by the members of the House of representative, yet cars that were purchased at the sum of 4.6 million naira each for the members of the House of Representative were auctioned for N850, 000 for outgone members of the House of Representative. What is the rationale behind the sale of the cars? Why were the cars retained as government property or even if they had to sold, why they not sold to the common Nigerians? If those who looted for four or eight years could be given such privilege, then what is the privilege given to those who have served as a civil servants for many years? Indeed, our leaders take delight in wasting the country's resources.
No doubt, the causes of discord in the world are: economic inequalities, bad leadership and quest for power. These trio viruses have eaten the Nigerian unity. In order to restore harmony there must be a downward review and not consolidation of the allowances and privileges of the legislators and ministers alike by Revenue Allocation Mobilization and Allocation and Fiscal Commission in order to bridge the economic inequality that exists between the legislators and the people they are suppose to serve. The Greek philosopher, Plato, maintained in his republic that to promote civil peace and good government, social inequality must be minimized. We must therefore reduce the social inequality that exists among us.
Besides, the Nigerian political system has become an avenue where people who are illiterate and incapacitated are steering the nation in their own interest and giving instructions to citizens who are far enlightened and educated than they are. In short, members of the Senate and House of representative should be people who are well educated and groomed in the acts and principles of law making. Not riff raffs, looters and business tycoons who do not know the difference between moving a motion and passing a bill. The political system in Nigeria needs serious and urgent sanitization. In short we need to be delivered from wastage and self-interest as a nation. This is part of the change we need. One of the bills to be proposed and passed into law is that those who aspire to Senatorial position and House of representative must be vast in law-making. In short, as Plato suggested, the state should be governed by the philosopher kings. These philosopher kings in our own context are those who have the wherewithal to move this nation forward both morally and intellectually.
In order that this administration will not be eaten up by locusts, the President must choose ministers who are selfless and ready to serve the nation. He must wake up to tackle the two tragedies that are troubling this nation: the tragedies of bombing and kidnapping. While in the Northern part of the Country, bombing and Boko haram crises are holding sway, in the Southern part it is the issue of robbery and kidnapping. These are all issues of threat to human life. The president needs to come up forcefully before the problems become outrightly out of control. Not coming to tell us that terrorism is common to all the nations of the world. This is not what Nigerians want to hear. He should rather tackle the problem from the root by providing Security in the nation and at the boarders where most of these weapons are shipped into the country. Otherwise he will be giving Nigerians the impression that he is incapable to deliver the dividend of democracy especially with regard to security. Security is one of the basic needs of every human being. What Nigerians are asking for are not extra-ordinary things but basic human needs.
The president should therefore not disappoint Nigerians who because of the confidence they have in him voted for him massively. In order to succeed in this task he needs not to be afraid to lose friends who are not ready to make sacrifice. To fail to provide basic needs for Nigerians is to have failed in his administration.
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What Is The Essence of Thanksgiving?
» By Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede
There shall be heard the voices of those who sing as they bring thanksgiving to the house of the Lord. For the Lord will bless them and restore their fortunes. (Jer.33: 11)

The Psalmist does not mince words each time he acknowledges, resounds and re-echoes the fact that the Lord is Good. This is actually an immensity of Goodness which is of an immeasurable magnitude and which demands reciprocity. Thus, we hear those words: “O give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps. 100:5; 118:1; 2 Chron. 5:13; Ezra 3:11).
Everyday of our life elapses with the manifestation of God's mighty hand enwrapping us in peace and progress. We experience myriads of blessings, which flow from the superabundant benevolence of God. For all these, it is pertinent to “sing aloud songs of thanksgiving, and enact activities to the Lord in thankful praise, announcing his wondrous deeds to all peoples” (cf. Ps. 26:7).
As commonly used as the term “thanksgiving” is, its real meaning and essence remain elusive to so many minds. Its integral dynamics remain underwritten and underplayed by so many people, and the end result is that many people do not engage in practically expressing appreciation or making thanksgiving, while some people carry out acts of thanksgiving without actually rendering thanks. It is pertinent to state from the onset that it is a serious human tragedy for a person to dissociate himself from this excellent and priceless pearl of life, which thanksgiving really is.
It behooves us therefore to examine what 'thanksgiving' is all about, its importance as well as the exercise of it.

THE MEANING OF THANKSGIVING
In its simplest ordinary dictionary definition, “Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude, especially to God”. It is a way of valuating an act of kindness or favour received especially from God, and is best described with the invitation: “O come let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation as we come into his presence with gifts of thanksgiving” (Ps 95: 12).
Dramatically expressed, the meaning of the term 'thanksgiving' is to be found in the example of the Assyrian, Naaman who after he had been cured from his leprosy returned to the prophet, Elisha with “an offer of gifts” (2kgs 5: 15). In the same way, the great king Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon fell at the feet of Daniel and offered many great gifts because his dream was interpreted (cf. Dan 2: 1-48). For as it were, whoever makes an offering of thanksgiving, proves himself a virtuous person and glorifies the Lord (cf. Ps 50:23).
As a matter of fact, 'thanksgiving' from the foregoing, becomes very clear as an act of giving thanks, or rather, a public acknowledgement of Divine Goodness and Mercy. Because of His marvelous deeds and benefits to us, God is superabundantly thanks-worthy, that is, ultimately deserving of our thanks even up to the most momentous ultimacy.

PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE OF THANKSGIVING
When we look at the starry skies over us, the movement of the tides, the brilliance and luminousity of sunlight and moonlight, the dynamism of the various forms of life all around us, the beauty and course of nature, and the wonder of our own life itself, when we consider how weak and limited we are yet constantly being strengthened and nourished by God, our all-loving Father, we shall come to discover that the nobility and import of expressing gratitude through thanksgiving cannot be overemphasized.
God has been gracious to us, for he has let the earth yield its fruit and has blessed us with increase (cf. Ps 67:2,6). He will continue to bless us as long as we show gratitude for past favours received; for by that, He will be pleased with us and will make his blessings ever new in our lives. The gratitude people show for what happens to them via the mercy of God is a noble undertaking and the blessings it engenders or brings to those who do so is incalculable. Those who keep the law of the Lord make straight his path (cf. Is 40:3; Mk 1:3) and they sing his praises by bringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord (Jer 17:26), for anyone who joyfully brings gifts of thanksgiving to the Lord's house will be abundantly blessed (cf. Jer 33: 11).
The thanksgiving offering of the people of God today is joined with the most ancient practices of glorifying God through sacrifices of thanks. The people of Israel “celebrated the dedication of the city wall in Jerusalem with rejoicing, with thanksgiving and with singing” (Neh. 11: 10-19; 12:27). This is in keeping with the command of the Lord on the regulations concerning offering and sacrifice (Lev 22: 17-33). It is rather explicitly emphatic that such offering is for the individual's own good, for as it is written: “When you sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to the Lord, you shall do it with all your heart so that it may be acceptable on your behalf” (Lev 22 :29).
The quality of thanksgiving to be rendered is not without mention. For it to be acceptable, it must be whole, complete and good (Lev 22: 19-20). If we have to live up to the commandment of the Lord therefore, thanksgiving must become for us, a realistic personal acknowledgement of the Lord's goodness, emanating from a sincere heart and which is alive in God.
Everyone who expresses gratitude must give as he has made up his/her mind, not reluctantly or selfishly but cheerfully for “God loves a cheerful giver” (Sir 20:10-15; 2Cor 9:7). St. Paul exhorts us further on this saying, “Anyone who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). To drive home the truth regarding the irreducible significance of thanksgiving, St. Paul further writes: “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the harvest of your righteousness and produce. You will be enriched in everyway for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us” (2 Cor. 9: 1 0-11).
If we have to keep enumerating the factors that enwrap the importance of thanksgiving, we can continue “ad infinitum”. However, we can humbly and submissively sum it all up with the song of the Psalmist, "How can I repay the Lord, for his goodness to me? I will pay my vows, give my gift offerings to the Lord in the presence of all his people" (Ps. 116: 1 2, 14).
THANKSGIVING: SPRINGBOARD FOR A FULFILLED LIFE
According to Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, “The less you have the more you give seems absurd, but it is the logic of love”. This all-encouraging message is complimented by St. Jose-Maria Escriva with the words: “An authentically lived life is measured by the magnitude of appreciation one shows and renders for favours received from God, for when anyone gives from what he has, even more will be added unto him”.
To enunciate the spice which thank-offering renders to life, St. Paul urges that all should be involved in making supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings for themselves and for everyone (cf. 1 Tim 2: I), We must therefore follow the trail blazed by Jesus Christ himself who gave worthy thanks to God when he multiplied loaves and fish (In 6: 11,23), and at the raising of Lazarus from death to life (In 11 :41-42), and at the institution of the Holy Eucharist in the Upper Room (Matt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:14-21).
The early Christian community led by the Apostles carried on this practice of thank-offering and many of them had to give up their possessions for the common good of the people of God (Acts 4:32-37). All these experiences are a pointer to the fact that there can be no life satisfactorily lived without a mutual show of thanks to God for all the benefits one receives from him everyday of his life.
The history of the followership of God in faith is fraught with examples of thanksgiving acts, which bring fulfillment and further blessings to the persons involved. When Noah and his family survived the destruction of the world with flood, they offered gifts of thanksgiving (cf. Gen 8:20); after his victories in battles, Abraham offered thanks to God through the great priest, Melchizedek, King of Salem (Gen 14:20). Others include, Moses and the Israelites after they were delivered from bondage in Egypt (cf. Ex 13: 1-16); David and the chosen people of God offered thanksgiving when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6: 1-23); as well as numerous other examples, which all join to become a sign of a happy union with God here and hereafter.
For this reason, the words of the Psalmist resound again and even more, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 118: 1). Here forth is the invitation to all of us in songs of joy that cuddle the heart in the form of heavenly dove: “O come let us sing to the Lord and approach his presence with gifts of thanksgiving, for the Lord is a Great King above all the world (cf. Ps 95: 1-2).
When we offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, we glorify and please God who in turn enriches us with multifarious graces and blessings to live virtuous lives and attain fulfillment in our daily experiences of earthly life, at the end of which Heaven will be our ultimate reward. May the Lord of the Harvest enrich us with grace and life's fulfillment, and inspire us as well, to approach His courts with noble thank-offerings. And may His Word abide in our hearts forever, Amen.
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Nigeria We Hail Thee
» By Rev. Fr. Leonard O. Anetekhai
Once upon a time, my father told me, Nigeria's hope was bright and beautiful, every individual was proud to associate with the name Nigeria. This pride clearly was seen in the way and manner we chanted our National anthem, Nigeria we hail thee, Our own dear native land, though tribes and tongues may differ, In brotherhood we stand, Nigerians all are proud to serve Our sovereign Motherland. Our flag shall be a symbol that truth and justice reign, In peace or battle honoured, and this we count as gain, to hand on to our children a banner without stain. O God of all creation, Grant this our one request, Help us to build a nation where no man is oppressed, And so with peace and plenty Nigeria may be blessed.

This was the joy that clouded the being of every Nigerian at her birth on 1st October 1960 under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary government and a considerable measure of self-government for the country's three regions Northern, Eastern and Western region. Going back memory lane as told, Jaja Wachuku from 1959 to 1960, was the First black Speaker of the Nigerian Parliament - also called the "House of Representatives". He replaced Sir Frederick Metcalfe of Great Britain. Notably, as First Speaker of the House, he received Nigeria's Instrument of Independence - also known as Freedom (Charter - on October 1, 1960) from Princess Alexandra of Kent, the Queen's representative at the Nigerian independence ceremonies.
From this very beginning, our land was green; the bright hope of the Nigerian child was seen even while kneeling down. The ever loud in brotherhood we stand was the order of the day. The federal government at this time was given exclusive powers in defence (of the right of her citizens), the commercial and economic policy were not without attention.
But, months after months, political parties gradually gained root and tended to reflect the make-up of the three main ethnic groups in Nigeria. The Nigerian People's Congress (NPC) represented conservative, Muslim, largely Hausa interests, and dominated the Northern Region. The National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) was Igbo- and Christian-dominated, ruling in the Eastern Region, and the Action Group (AG) was a left-leaning party that controlled the Yoruba west. The first post-independence national government was formed by a conservative alliance of the NCNC and the NPC, with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a Hausa, becoming Nigeria's first Prime Minister. The Yoruba-dominated AG became the opposition under its charismatic leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
After years of battle for supremacy among our leaders, which lead to series of assassinations and coup, ethnic and religious tensions were magnified by the disparities in economic and educational development between the south and the north (1963 1966). The worst came on May 29, 1967 when Lt. Col. Emeka Ojukwu, the military governor of the eastern region who emerged as the leader of increasing Igbo secessionist sentiment, declared the independence of the eastern region as the Republic of Biafra. The ensuing Nigerian Civil War resulted in an estimated one million deaths before the war ended with the famous "No victor, no vanquished" speech in 1970.
Following the civil war the country turned to the task of economic development. Foreign exchange earnings and government revenues increased spectacularly with the oil price rises of 1973-74. On July 29, 1975 Gen. Murtala Mohammed and a group of officers staged a bloodless coup, accusing Gen. Yakubu Gowon of corruption and delaying the promised return to civilian rule. General Mohammed replaced thousands of civil servants and announced a timetable for the resumption of civilian rule by October 1, 1979. He was assassinated on February 13, 1976 in an abortive coup and his chief of staff Lt. Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo became head of state.
After Shehu Shagari and Muhammadu Buhari had their fair share of power, Maradonna came in August 1985 to completely put Nigeria and Nigerians on the path of no return, may God help us. He stole billions of dollars in Nigerian state resources and mismanaged the rest. His children and cohorts became rich overnight. But most importantly, Maradonna is yet to answer to his crimes against humanity and the Nigerian people, including the killing of Dele Giwa. To show his disdain for the dead journalist and the constitution, he refused to testify before the hapless Oputa Panel; Human Rights Panel about Dele Giwa's murder. The most painful aspect of Dele Giwa death was that he was killed via a bomb with a parcel bearing the coat of arms of the Nigerian state, which reminds us of the pledge to serve our motherland.
It beats my imagination that each time a leader is sworn in, he or she recites the National anthem and pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity, and uphold her honour and glory, So help me God. But afterwards, they forget because they have allowed money to help them and not God. The bombing we are experiencing today did not begin today. For our selfishness and lack of integrity, our leaders have lost the right sense of judgement to act on issues but hide under the guise of perpetuators will be brought to book. The killers of Dele Giwa are still living freely, even contesting for elections as free citizens Nigeria, we hail thee.
When will our lips service stop, the society is getting more and more insecure. More people are going into crime and they are getting more ruthless, desperate and sophisticated. With the way the society is, it is a knowable result of a cruel environment dominated by man's insensitivity to man. “The most serious of these negative consequences is the complete breakdown of law and order. Our case can now be summarised as “When the morning of doom dawns, even the soldiers and the police will run for their lives”.
Yes, we blame BOKO HARAM (the evil of our time) and term them terrorists and their act terrorism, but we forget that the real terrorist are those who use state and the nations apparatus to kill, to maim and to detain yet they go on freely, because they have paid their 'tithe' to the appropriate authority. The world is running out of patience with us as a nation, the world is mad that Nigeria cannot get things right at 50 because of the activities of few criminals among us. The world cannot understand why an election in Nigeria will be equivalent to war, the world cannot understand why a politician will insist that whether his people want him or not, he must win an election just to live fat on the people's wealth.
How sad and distressed that we have not grown beyond the level of No Job for our youths, No Electricity to power the vital aspect of our economic development, No Drinking Water to stop the spread of malaria, typhoid and their cohorts, No HealthCare to battle the growing diseases of our time, No Food to move us on and fight for our pride anymore. Now we are into kidnapping, bombing in different shades. I dare to ask, where are the Compatriots, Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria calls us to obey and serve our Fatherland with love and strength and faith. Let the labour of our heroes past not be in vain, let us serve with heart and might, one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.

God of creation, we ask that you direct our noble cause; guide our Leaders right: Help our Youth the truth to know that bombing and kidnapping are evil and a crime against humanity, so that in love and honesty we may grow and build a nation where peace and justice reigns.
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HIV/AIDS And The AB Approach
» By Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosime
Tackling the issue of HIV/AIDS has been an issue for many pro-health organization and institutions. Many ways to tackle it have been proffered since the virus has defied medical cure. There have been two polarities in tackling the problem. These I can categorize as conservative protectionists and liberal protectionists. We can also categorize them into pro-faith and anti-faith. Exciting in both perspectives is that both claim to aim at one cause. Whereas, one group is concerned about the means and ends, one is concerned about the means alone and not the effect or remote implications of their process. Basic also among these too are platitudes that have been advanced. The conservative protectionists talk of AB approach, while the liberal protectionists talk of ABC approach. The former is an advocacy for Abstinence and Be Faithful; the latter however talks of the ABC approach of Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom. I shall in this short piece revisit the rich reposition of the AB platitude as a sure means of HIV total annihilation.

HIV which is a Human immuno-deficiency virus is the lesser of AIDS; Acquired Immune Deficieny Syndrome, the full blown stage of HIV, is an incurable disease. It is a hemal virus; that is a virus contracted by blood. So, most of the ways of contraction is by means that have to do with the blood. Like, sex, the use of piercing instruments, breast feeding, mother-child transmission by birth, etc. It is in this regard, pro-health organizations who have recognized the realities of this virus have adopted different ways of prevention, or reduction since cure has an illusive future. It is on this plain, we make a leap on the AB approach. The foremost proponent of the AB approach is the Catholic Church and a specific forerunner in this regard is the pro-life group.

The A in the platitude first represents the higher in the hierarchy of relevance and preference in HIV/AIDS reduction methodology. This talks of Abstinence. By abstinence, we talk of a refrain from an indulgence. Now, the indulgence talked here takes cognizance that sex, statistically speaking is the highest form of contracting this deadly disease, while others combined form an insignificant fraction of less than a tenth of the whole of sexual contraction. Abstinence therefore, is recognition of this fact, and so the Church says, don't indulge in sex. This is no more than a reiteration of the Church's old theology and advocacy that sex before marriage is improper and sinful. Thus, sex which is not a conjugal communion permitted by sacred injunction among unmarried people and should be abstained from.

Abstinence consequently is in reference to unmarried people from whom this virus is allegedly populated and canonized. HIV/AIDS is no more than a pillory on the institution of marriage. This is so because; the actions and activities proper to the institutions have been hijacked. It is pertinent to claim here, that this is the most distinguishing factor of the institution (sex here covers the act of procreation which is the end; all sexual unions are geared towards). This is so because, companionship can even be achieved outside of marriage, taking Priesthood for instance or some who have made themselves singles not in any ecclesiastical institution or purpose. One can rightly then question, since sex has been hijacked by unmarried people, going into marriage in the future is more than a fulfillment of social requirement or societal expectation. Marriage thus is just but a clever foolery of the self for such a typically sexually indulgent unmarried fellow.

Abstinence, should also be understood within the context of 'being careful'. Here, the Church gives accommodation to the insignificant other by which Aids is contracted. Since, it can be contracted by other means, the Church says be careful, and be wary of unhealthy behaviours. This would mean, an individual be careful of what he is injected with, how long he kisses a woman, (it is said, kissing a person with HIV/AIDS for more than 1hour or that the consumption of spittle up to a glassful is enough for the contraction), prevention of Mother to child Transmission (PMCT), etc are healthy ways of prevention. This is Abstinence further defined. Abstinence thus is abstain, be careful.

The B in the platitude is 'Be faithful'. I wish to admit quickly that while the Church gave accommodation to unmarried people for HIV reduction; it also gave accommodation to reduction among Married people. Sad enough, is that the 'be faithful' platitude advocated for married people has been hijacked too by young people. It has been misconstrued for faithfulness between two unmarried young people of opposite sex. Palpably, the reason for this hijack is that the 'B' in the platitude of the liberal protectionists is 'Be Faithful' also but fidelity with one's partner. The Church notes here stoically that extra-marital sex is not just a reality but common to among restless adult people who are married. Although, AIDS is no good news to us, it deadliness of the disease is suppose to have scared people to be more cautious. This however is not the case. The Church says now, stay with your wife alone. Take note that this is also not a completely new theology. Scripture says in Genesis, from the beginning, God created man, male and female He created them (Cf. Gen. 1:27-28). The expression of gender is in the singular not in the plural or the like. It is not meant to read: male and females; or males and female. That is, one in the singular and the other in plural or vice versa. Fidelity is thus, an action between one man and one woman.

The Church has put forward the fundamentals of HIV reduction. I am strongly of the opinion that it is the advocacy of the liberal protectionists that has in fact fertilized the thriving of the HIV pandemic and at best its spread. This is so because, to promote contraceptive is to promote illicit sex which is not the aim but which it inadvertently gives credence to. The reason for this is the belief that sex in realism is an insurmountable moral problem. This is a leftist opinion about morality. To despair in the fight of any sought and particularly on a moral issue like sexual abstinence is to be steadily steeped on perdition and an eventual and well prepared self immolation. Let us analyse the method put forward by these liberal protectionist for 'C' platitude. They begin by saying abstain from sex. If you cannot abstain, then be faithful to one and if you cannot be faithful then use condom or contraceptive. Apart from the inherent weakness of the argument for contraception, the force upon which they make the postulation for a preceding one is despairing. Since they recognize that 'if you cannot abstain', then,… most people would usually want to experiment all the options. This is what has demystified the moral dogma of sexual abstinence before marriage and sex.

The ABC approach is seen to be fraught with inconsistencies and in fact achieves an end which it fights itself. This is why we fall back to the AB approach of the Church. Although the options are not novel, if practiced, they are more likely to bring about a healthy reduction to HIV and it will help the unmarried as well as married people to develop healthy behaviours. Doing this is keeping the promise and stopping Aids. This is the theme of this year's World Aids day theme. We must spread the message, not the virus
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The Role Of Culture In Mass Media
» By Ogbiti Omone Veronica
PREAMBLE
We live in an increasingly complex world today, but a fragile and unstable one. This complexity is the result of the deep changes taking place in every sector of our life, especially our cultures, on the one hand; and scientific and technological trend, on the other hand; at such a very high speed. This change consists in the gradual detraditionalization of cultures and a reinterpretation of values that come close to identifying what is of value with what makes an individual and society feel good, comfortable, happy and secure. A pervasive consequence of this change is the gradual shift from a sense of commitment built on enduring values to the emotive ideology of immediate gratification of desires as exercise of personal freedom and freedom to exercise roles by corporate bodies such as the mass media, which in itself is assumed on the rule of law of the freedom of the press. This change is more still, stimulated by the progress in science and technology and its globalization is the most profound achievement of the media. Thus, the media diffuse information in a flux of time, thereby playing an impact on every culture of the world. However, culture, the totality of a people's way of life, also exercises some major roles in the realm of the mass media, especially in shaping the passage of information.
Exclusively, this work seeks to examine the role of culture in mass media, by an explicit analysis of the key concepts first; culture and mass media, with an exemplary illustration of a culture. Progressively, it shall delve into the nub of the subject; propose recommendations and then a conclusion.

CLARIFICATION OF TERMS
CULTURE: Simply, this can be defined as the way of life of a people. But the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary further adds that it is the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group. This definition presents culture as encompassing the belief patterns, attitudes, customs, behavioural patterns, etc of any group of people. Apparently, research reveals that there are a number of conceptions of culture. A number of them include that of a British Anthropologist, Edward Tylor, the first to offer a definition of culture. He puts it so; culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.
Explicitly, every society has a culture, it is connected with a cultural pattern, customs, beliefs, etc. And everyman is a product of these societies: a product of various cultures. So, culture is acquired not biologically, but socially. This leaves us to say that culture is a social rather than a genetic phenomenon. Also, that man acquires culture only as members of society. In other words, culture is a group rather than an individual product. Society evolves the culture peculiar to it, and such culture affects the society in its peculiarity.
Another definition which would be of great importance is that of Hoebel (1960:248). He defines culture as the integrated sum total of learned behaviour traits which are manifest and shared by the members of a given society. Thus, humans acquire cultural products through learning and these products are shared. Morestill, Appelbaum (1970:6) adds that major emphasis is given to the learning and transmission of values and symbols.
Succinctly, one can say that culture is the totality of what is learned by men as members of society, embracing not only a people's art, music, literature, but also their science and technology, commerce and political organization, philosophy and religion, and all the ideas and values, implicit and explicit, which permeate the society and bind its people into a recognizable unit.
Culture has its characteristics, customs, rituals, laws, mores, folkways, etc, that mould it, and they vary from society to society.

MASS MEDIA: These are the means of communication by the instrumentality of radio, newspaper, bills, postals, etc, aimed at the widest possible audience. They are the sources of information and news such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television, that reach and influence large numbers of people. By means of the mass media therefore, a large number of people in the world, receive information and are abreast with the events unfolding in the universe. In this piece, the term media shall be used interchangeably to mean the same thing with mass media.
The place of the media has flourished tremendously as an upshoot from the development science and technology has come to experience. Thus, the overwhelming impact of the subculture of science and technology, the enormous capital gains that come from them, and the tremendous improvement it brings to human life cannot be underestimated. This also accrues to the media. So, within modern society, the media play a major role in formation, cultural promotion and transformation as a result of technological progress, the extent and diversity of the news transmitted, and the influence exercised on public opinion.
No doubt, the information provided by the media is at the service of the common good. For society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice and solidarity.
However, the mass media divulges information to people of various kinds, of various cultural milieus, of various societies. This, therefore, means that there is a need for a contact between culture and the mass media. Invariably, the culture of any given society has a role to play in the mass media.

THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN MASS MEDIA
The mass media employ various instruments and methods in achieving their goal of informing the public. Now, these various methods can be applied either in the context of the prevalent culture, which in our time is the western paradigm, or in the African mentality. This is where the concept of culture vehemently comes in. Thus, we shall examine the roles that such a cultural application will play in better informing the public.
Noteworthy and important to state is that culture applies to the media as it befits the society in which they (the media) are situated. Thus, in the situation of the western society, the western culture would affect the media as it fits the western society. In turn, the media would be effective in such society if it adapts the tenets of the western culture. However, the western culture should not be used as a paradigm for all cultures, for what may be applicable in the western society may not he suitable for the African society.
Among the roles culture plays in the media include:
1. Culture guides the media in the method or pattern by which information is diffused, especially for effective communication. That is the method employed by the media. In the western society, there may be no harm inflicted in the moral standards or views if the media should advertise a new brand of soap or cream by making a display of a half-nude lady or even a nude lady who takes her bath with the soap or goes on a swimming expedition and then applies the cream on her skin. But this means would injure the African culture if so adopted, hook, line and sinker. So, culture helps in determining the best modality of passing information as it befit the society in which they are located.
2. Culture also helps to boost the productivity of the mass media. If the content of information of the media is not relative to the cultural media, it tends not be productive. But if the programs of the media include the cultural setting as a determinant, it becomes more productive. Thus, understanding the culture helps the media in a great way. For example, in a society of the Indian culture, where there is a particular mode of dressing, the media would be engaging in an almost futile effort advertising 'G-strings and bras', 'jeans trousers and spaghetti tops' for the ladies.
3. Culture again plays the role of informing the mass media. It educates the media in its mode or method of dissemination, its modus operandi generally. Thus, a display of the content of the rich cultural heritage of a culture, the values inherent, tenets, taboos, prohibitions, etc, would entail the media being acquainted with the cultural heritage, this include the way of life, pattern, social status, ceremonies, norms, laws, practices, taboos, the values inherent, tenets, etc. Thus, culture informs the media of the sensitivities in disseminating information.
4. Culture also has an economic role. Those who are vast or well knowledgeable in the culture can serve as the best personnel in the media. They would be most suitable to pass information, write messages and news, etc.
5. Through the showcasing of cultural artifacts and methods, the culture of the people is sustained and encouraged. This will enhance the effectiveness of the mass media since the people will readily support a media house that promotes their culture.
6. Culture gives beauty and furnishes the activities shown by the mass media through television, news, or any other outlets.
7. An important role of culture in mass media is that it helps in nation building, in promoting national unity especially in countries of multi-linguistic features. In adverts for example, activities of different cultures are shown, this binds the country, that the various ethnic groups and societies are promoted and showcased.
8. Another role which culture is said to play is that culture helps individuals and the entire group to cope with the challenges of life and to ensure continuity. In this sense, it is an adaptive mechanism.

CONCLUSION
Having examined the crux of the problem, it is pertinent to place suitable lid to seal this piece.
The role of culture in media cannot be overemphasized. Also, no culture is superior to the other; the western culture is not superior to the African. The assimilation of the cultural values would enable a room for the promotion of the role of the media in the society.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Olaniyan R. (ed.), African History and Culture. Nigeria, Longman. (1982).
Otonti N., Western Education and the Cultural Background, Nigeria, Oxford. (1975).
Bolander D (ed.), The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language. Encylopedic Edition. New York, Lexicon Publications, plc. (1993)
Cozens, D., The Changing Face of Culture. Collegeville, MN, Liturgical Press (2000).
Ukwuoma, A.T., Changing Society: Psychosocial Analysis of the Nigerian Experience. Kearney, NE. (2000).
A.N.T. Eguavoen, et, al (ed), Sociology, An Introductory Text, Nigeria, Lucosem. (2006)

(Best article in the essay competition for THE PROMISE 5th year Anniversary celebration, 2011.)
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Onaiyekan Condemns Claim Of Superiority Of Some Religion
…….. Express Concern over some Religious Practices

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. (Dr.) John Onaiyekan, has in his lecture on “The Dividends of Religion in Nigeria”, condemned the claim of superiority by some religions, pointing out that “dialogue is perhaps the best way to describe what we understand by management of our religious diversities”.
Giving this disposition at St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, Markurdi, Kaduna State recently, the Archbishop advocated the seeking of common grounds through dialogue to enable the understanding of the challenges posed by religious adversities in the country.
Outlining formal theological dialogue and formal structures for dialogue to realize the objectives of this common ground, he opined that “Thus, dialogue in my view is to be seen not first and foremost as debates and arguments over our differences, rather, it should be seen as a gentle listening to each other so as to discover those things which we hold in common and thus, on the basis of this common ground, we can face together our common challenges”.
More, Archbishop Onaiyekan added that “we all know what these challenges are in our country. We all lament the level of corruption in our land and we are all worried that despite the talk of democracy, we are still far from establishing a system of good governance in our land. We are also greatly concerned that in the name of religion, many of our adherents are some times doing terrible things to one another, things that are completely contrary to the tenents of our faith”.
While describing religious tolerance as a negative concept of religious harmony, the metropolitan of Abuja pointed out that “you tolerate what you do not like but about which you cannot do much”. He further advocated for the need to recognize the fundamentality of the diversity of religion in Nigeria.
Further, the Catholic Archbishop who outlined the fundamental differences among the major religious in the country, remarked that “…… efforts needs to be made to understand one another and what each group stands for” and also contended that “there is need to respect one another and our difference …… it is necessary to open our hearts to the way of life of the other, so as to be able to understand him or her better”.
In addition, Archbishop Onaiyekan listed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the supreme council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) and the Nigerian Inter-religious Council (NIREC) as some of the formal structures for dialogue to facilitate the required common ground.
In the same development, Most Rev. John Onaiyekan expressed concern about some religious fundamental practices which infringe on the fundamental right of the people, noting that “religion ought to be able to stand on its own and survive the regime of freedom”.
Speaking on the issue of freedom of religion, Archbishop Onaiyekan stated that “one of the most beautiful things in our country is that there is freedom of religion. The constitution clearly states that every Nigerian is not only free to practice the religion of his choice, he is also free to change religion. This freedom must be respected by all and sundry”.
The local ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese pointed out that “those who try to abbreviate or eliminate this freedom on the bases of what they consider their own religious injunctions are not doing the nation any good nor do I believe that they are doing their religion any good”. He also stated that “I am told that the Islamic faith condemns imposition of religion, just as in Christianity we always say; we propose the faith, we do not impose it. This must be a standing rule for all in Nigeria wherever we may be”, while adding that freedom, even that of religion, must have limit so as not to infringe on the rights of others.
Stressing that religion is a positive factor in the national life of the country through which the people can enjoy the dividends of peace, prosperity and good governance, the Archbishop advocated the need for religion to be properly understood, practiced with sincerity and conviction and liberated from undue external manipulation observing that ……. “Most of the problems we have in terms of communal conflicts has to do with how the state handles issues that involve religion or perceived to have religious factors”.

Create And Maintain Healthy Communication - Bishop Dunia

The Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese His Lordship Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, has tasked Catholics recently at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi on the need to create and maintain a healthy communication for the benefit of the society, as the world marked her 45th Day of Social Communications.
Bishop Dunia who gave the charge at, the mass to mark the occasion in the diocese concelebrated with the Cathedral Administrator Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai and the Director of Social Communications Auchi Diocese Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, also said that communication is very vital to human life and the society in general.
Also, he described communication as an art, process or methods of imparting idea or information, learning, development of peace, social union and promotion of life.
More, the Chief Shepherd asserted that it was God who has first communicated to man through creation and stressed that it was through it that Jesus Christ came to redeem mankind through His divine nature, while noting that the annunciation of the birth of Jesus Christ by an Angel to Mary, was through communication and that communication is what will bring man closer to God, who originally taught man how to communicate.
Continuing, the shepherd of souls affirmed that Christ established himself to man and remained with him through Holy Communion, whereby those who are ready, will receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which he said means communicating with Christ at the personal level and absorbing him.
Speaking on the positive usage of the modern communication technologies available to man, Bishop Dunia charged Catholics to make good use of modern communication technologies for the benefit of human society. He cautioned parents to teach their children language of communicating with God by using proper words and pronunciation as it is applicable in the universal language of the Church which is Latin.
Further, the prelate advised Catholic faithful to be more careful on the usage of communication tools available to man, as he warned all to avoid fraudulent and other negative aspects of communication that will cause difficult to others, this he said would lead to the abuse of communication.
In addition, Bishop Dunia reiterated that the passage of Freedom of Information Bill into law was a step in the right direction towards better communication and advised that it should be used with a sense of responsibility. He therefore prayed the patron of communication St. Gabriel, to help communication workers and all the faithful in communicating effectively to God.
Highpoints of the mass were a thanksgiving procession by communication workers led by Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai and Leonard Anetekhai followed by the blessing of communication tools for communication workers by the Bishop.

Pope Sues For Unity Through Truth, Reconciliation

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, has called on the people of Cyprus to pursue truth and reconciliation, which are the two keys to promoting unity in their country. This observation was made in the Pope's farewell address at the Larnaca International Airport, at the conclusion of his apostolic trip to Cyprus.
While thanking the country's president, Demetris Christofias and all who helped to organize his trip, the Holy Father stressed that “let us all redouble our efforts to build a real and lasting peace for all the peoples' adding that “I have seen for myself something of the sad division of the Island, as well as learning of the loss of a significant part of a cultural heritage which belongs to all humanity.”
The Bishop of Rome who noted that he had listened to Cypriots from the North who wish to return in peace to their homes and places of worship, and have been deeply moved by their pleas, contended that “surely truth and reconciliation, together with respect, are the soundest foundation for the united and peaceful future of this Island and for the stability and prosperity of all her people”.
Pope Benedict gave “thanks to God for these days which saw the first encounter of the Catholic community in Cyprus with the successor of Peter on their own soil”, and recalled “with gratitude my meeting with other Christian leaders in particular His Beatitude Chrysostomos II ……..” adding that, “I hope my visit here will be seen as another step along the path that was opened up before us by the embrace in Jerusalem of the late Patriarch Athenagoras and my venerable predecessor Pope Paul VI” the Pontiff said.
Continuing, the Pontiff added that “we have a divine call to be brothers, walking side by side in the faith, humble before Almighty God and with unbreakable bonds of affection for one another”.
More, Benedict XVI stated that, “As I invite my fellow Christians to continue this journey, I would assure them that the Catholic Church, with the Lord's grace, will herself pursue the goals of perfect unity in charity through an ever deepening appreciation of what Catholics and orthodox hold dearest”.
The Holy Father also expressed a “sincere hope and prayer that, together, Christians and Muslims will become a leaven for peace and reconciliation among Cypriots and serve as an example to other countries.”

Consolidate Your Relationship With God In Prayer -Fr. Adorolo

The Parish Administrator of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church Azughala/Ugbekpe, Ekperi Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, has charged faithful on the need for them to consolidate their relationship with God through prayer. He stated this recently at the funeral mass of Late Madam Veronica Olere Ughiomhe at Ekperi.
In his homily, Fr. Adorolo reminded faithful on the need to re-examine their relationship with God while alive, as he noted that everyone shall face the consequences of intolerance and other sins that would deprive one from living a holy life and to see the glory of God.
Speaking further, he asserted that as one family in Christ, everyone should try to reconcile himself to God in any situation. Fr. Adorolo said that death is not the end of ones life, but everyone shall fellowship again. He told faithful that the earth is a shadow which man is born into, adding that Christ has defeated death.
The homilist pointed out that the world is quick to pass judgment on somebody at death which he said is wrong and enjoined everyone to always allow God to pass judgment as man does not know the kind of judgment that awaits him, but God knows. Fr. Adorolo added that there is need for them to pray fervently for the forgiveness of the sins of those who are dead rather than passing judgment on them as he reminded all present at the mass that the first person to go to heaven after the death of Christ was the thief who was nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ.
The Priest urged the faithful and the family members of Late Madam Veronica O. Ughomhe to pray for the dead, while describing death as inevitable, devoid of gossips, fear and other offences, he thereafter prayed the repose of her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.

St. Jude Society Holds Provincial Council At Igueben

The Provincial council of St. Jude Catholic Society Benin Ecclesiastical Province, recently held their meeting at St Joseph Catholic Church, Igueben in the Catholic Diocese of Uromi.
Welcoming members to Igueben, the chairman Bro. B.O.A. Aigbedion, thanked God for the safe arrival of members. Also, the delegates which consists members from Uromi, Auchi, Warri, Isele-Uku Dioceses and the Archdiocese of Benin City, were moreover appreciated for making it a point of duty to attend the meeting at Igueben.
Continuing, Bro. B.O.A. Aigbedion, apologized for the postponent of the earlier slated meeting, stressing that it was due to some circumstances beyond their control.
Thereafter, deliberations were held by members on various issues affecting the society and on how best to reposition it, in order to meet their desired goals and objectives, which will be for the benefit of humanity and to the glory of God.
Shortly after, the vote of thanks was given by Bro. Aituazobe E. Onojolu in which he appreciated all the members for their effort in ensuring the sustenance of the body. He added that whatever sacrifices made for God's work is not in vain, as he further enjoined all the members to continue in their evangelization and win more souls for God.

Holy Family Society Gets Officers In Uzairue

The newly introduced lay apostolate society in Holy Rosary Catholic Church Afashio/Afowa Uzairue, the Holy Family society, has recently elected into offices, members that will man the affairs of the group in the Church. The keenly contested election was supervised and conducted by some members of the parish laity council.
Among the successful members to make the new executive team of society were Mrs Maria Iluebbey; President, Mr Moses Idemokpai; 1st Vice President, Mrs Gladys Imokhai; 2nd Vice President, Mr Adulphus Imoneke; Secretary and Mr P. Otsu; Assistant Secretary.
Others are Mrs R.A. Emale; Financial Secretary, Mrs Alice Onoshiowagbe; Treasurer, Mrs M.A. Ayemoba; Public Relations Officer (P.R.O.), Mrs Adonelo; Provost (Welfare), Mrs Rita Ofuan; Provost (Discipline) and Mrs G. Imokhai as the Spiritual adviser.
The executive members will be sworn in by the parish administrator on a later date.

40 Recieve Sacrament At Igarra

As part of activities lined up to mark the feast of Pentecost, over 40 parishioners of St. John The Apostle, Igarra were recently administered with the sacraments of baptism by Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Bossey.
Delivery the homily at the mass, the parish administrator, Very Rev. Fr. Bossey, charged the candidates to embrace a life of prayer and not to be lazy in their prayer life. He said that they should make it a point of duty to always attend mass, say their rosary, study the bible and observe all the prayer scheduled at various times of the day, such as the Angelus, Divine mercy prayers.
Fr Bossey advised parents not to lose faith in God and to encourage their children to do the same. He congratulated all those who scaled through the screening exercise and called on all those who could not make it during the screening, to take their training seriously.
Thereafter, he administered the sacrament of baptism to the candidates followed by a general thanksgiving by all the candidates.

Uzairue Altar Boys Elect Executive

The St Theresa/ Altar Boys Association of Holy Rosary Parish Uzairue, has elected a new executive that will lead the group for the next three years.
At the meeting which featured the election held at the main station, the election was conducted by the parish laity chairman Mr Chris Osigwe. The newly elected executive members were Christian Mary Ikhumhi; President, Mr J. Monday; Vice President, Osigwe Cynthia; Secretary, Aletagbor Reginald; Assistant Secretary, Edwin Okhamila; Treasurer, Odemokpa Emmanuella; Assistant Treasurer, Miss E.O. Esther; Financial Secretary and Angela Akhanemhe as the Assistant Financial Secretary.
Others were Imhabekhai Emmanuel; P.R.O. I, Eduze Anslem; P.R.O. II, Abudu Jane France; Spiritual Head I, Unokhogie Cornelius; Spiritual Head II, Matthew Rita; Social Head I, Osigwe Rita; Social Head II, Tebebe Leonard; Games Master, Oshawo Jude; Provost I, Isidaomhe Florence; Provost II and Godgift, Imokhai Keluin, Odiodio Jenetina and Oshioke are Sacristans.
The newly elected executive will be sworn into office by the parish priest on a later date.

Bishop Dunia Lays Church Foundation At Fugar
………. Also Lays Rectory Foundation at Ivianokpodi

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, has recently layed the foundation Church building of St. Theresa Parish, Fugar.
Bishop Dunia who was joyfully received by the Catholic community in Fugar, the parish administrator Rev. Fr. Gregory Ogbenika, his assistant Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oshiokede and Rev. Fr. Martin Alokwe the Diocesan Chancellor amid songs of praises to God accompanied with gun shots and cannon shots, hinted that the foundation laying of a new Church building in the community was owing to the need for expansion, to accommodate the teeming population of faithful in the community.
Speaking further, the prelate stressed that since evangelization is on going in Fugar to bring the light of the gospel of Christ to the ignorant, there is every need to build a bigger place of worship that will be conducive, pointing out that the ceremony was not a fanfare or an avenue to show off wealth of the parishioners, but a need to bring all under the umbrella of Christ. More, he further prayed God for grace to enable the faithful complete the building project, while enjoining them to thank God for His mercies to see the day and commence the project.
At the Church building foundation stone laying ceremony, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika read the gospel, while the responsorial psalm was taken by Rev. Fr. Martin Alokwe and Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oshiokede led the intercessory prayers.
Thereafter, the chief Shepherd Most Rev. (Dr.) G.G. Dunia, layed and blessed the foundation of the new Church building and also blessed all present.
The vote of thanks was given by Mr Jacob Iyogwoya, the parish laity chairman.
In a similar development, His Lordship Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, has layed the foundation for a rectory at Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary Ivianokpodi, recently.
During the foundation laying ceremony, the Bishop of the Diocese prayed God for tremendous peace, joy and happiness to fill the life of whoever will live in the story building rectory and also for grace to complete the building.
Also, the prelate appreciated the present rector of the Seminary, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Gimah, for always being there for the seminarians and for putting smiles on their faces.
Priests present at the ceremony were Rev. Frs. Silas Bobokhai, Pius Obasami, and the Rector, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Oshoke Gimah.


Diocesan C. C. R. N. Meets At Ekperi For Pentecost

Members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN) Catholic Diocese of Auchi, have converged recently at Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Azukhala/Ugbekpe Ekperi, for their annual Pentecost weekend celebration tagged “let the Power Flow”.
At the opening ceremony to welcome the participants, the parish administrator of Ss Peter and Paul parish Azukhala/Ugbekpe Ekperi, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, admonished the renewals to be security conscious, adhere strictly to the rules and regulations of the group, remain within the Church premises and also participate actively in all the lined up activities, so as to achieve the purpose of the gathering, instead of loitering outside, while also wishing them a successful reception of the Holy Spirit.
Also in his welcome address, the Auchi Diocesan CCRN chairman Mr Afehomo Christopher, also enjoined members of the renewal to keep an open mind and allow God to touch them so as to effect a significant change in their lives, while also urging them to devote time to prayers and meditation on the word of God.
While delivering the homily, Rev. Fr. Martin Alokwe who referred to the day's reading, noted that though Peter as an apostle of Christ denied Him three times because of fear of the Roman Soldiers and the Jews, but after the descent of the Holy Spirit, became bold and he preached the gospel in various regions and continents and also became the pillar of the Church.
Further, Fr. Alokwe asserted that connection to the Holy Spirit in the lives of faithful, brings about transformation, renewal and a better relationship with God the Father, who ensures that the evil plans of the devil and His agents, amounts to nothing, as He sends forth His angels to protect and shield faithful from all harm.
Continuing, Fr. Alokwe admonished the renewals to desist from patronizing witch doctors because of fear of the unknown, stressing that the power that resurrected Christ is at work in them to overcome and triumph over life's challenges, if only they give their hearts in total sincerity to God.
More, the priest tasked all present to engage in a life of constant prayer and service to God, which are the keys to living triumphantly in a world of sin. He also added that with the descent of the Holy Spirit on faithful, the shackles of fear and death is broken from their lives.
A number of activities were lined up for this year's exercise, among them were talks on “Return to your God” by Mr Christopher Afehomo, CCRN Auchi Diocese chairman, “Eat the scroll” by Mr John Enaromhe, “The storm is over” by Rev. Fr. Clement Anaedevha who also led intercessory prayers and worship.

WEO Mark Children's Day In Auchi

The Women Enhancement Organization (WEO), a non-government organization (NGO) founded by Dr. (Mrs.) P. O. Idogho; Rector, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, has recently celebrated children's day for orphans and vulnerable children from four communities in Etsako land at Iyekhei Primary School, Auchi.
In her welcome address, the Director Dr. (Mrs.) P.O Idogho, thanked all the children who came from Auchi, Jattu, Iyakpi/South Ibie and Aviele/Ubiane communities for their response. She also thanked members of the organization for their co-operation in providing necessary support for the children whom she stressed deserve good education, love and care.
She stated that the organization which started on the 18th of May, 2004, was established to provide support for orphans and vulnerable children, as they too deserve good education, good nutrition, good health and appropriate morals. The Director of the organization further said that the celebration was organized for these children, which she noted are the future leaders of the nation.
More, the director hinted that WEO is always ready to provide the needed support for children whose parents have died as a result of some deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and natural disasters.
Dr. Idogho further explained that the organization which is non-partisan, non-religious and non-political, is willing to provide opportunities for the youths to acquire skills that would promote their wellbeing in the society and added that WEO has recorded success in education, assisted in food and nutrition, paid hospital bills, empowered some persons, provided psychological support for people and also provided protection for those who are discriminated and abused.
Further, she reaffirmed that WEO has made it a part of its activities to celebrate children's day yearly for orphans and vulnerable children who are also part of the society, that should be of great concern to everyone. She charged parents and guardians to shepherd their children on good conduct and uphold societal values, while stressing that government should plan properly for the future of children by making policies that will give opportunities to every child. These policies Dr. Idogho noted, should include good health, affordable education and decent jobs on graduation. She argued that if decent jobs are provided for the youths, it will stop them from committing more crimes.
Highpoints of the celebration was the presentation of N17,000 cash by the Director Dr. (Mrs.) P.O. Idogho to Akeme Idris of Iyekhei, Auchi for the enrollment of his WAEC and NECO examination and the cutting of the children's day celebration cake by the director, assisted wife of Etsako West Local Government Chairman Mrs. Roseline Oshonebo, children from the four communities and other guests present.
Also, the occasion featured cultural display, match past by children. Gift items which include writing materials distributed to the children by the founder and Mrs. Roseline Oshonebo and others.
The vote of thanks was given by Mrs. Monica Ugheoke. In it, she thanked the founder for organizing such occasion for children and prayed God to continue to promote the organization. She also appreciated all those who have supported WEO and for making the celebration a success.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion were Mrs. M.O. Eribo, the coordinator Women in Technical Education (WITED) Auchi polytechnic chapter, Ms Helen Uhumwangho and others.

St James Celebrate The Gift Of Children

St James Mass Centre Waterboard, has recently celebrated her children's day, as a show of appreciation and love for the children of the Church.
Giving the homily at the occasion in which the children actively participated in all aspects of the liturgy, the rector, Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo, stressed that Christ promised His apostles to send the Holy Spirit, who will lead, teach and make the apostles bold to proclaim the gospel.
Rev. Fr. Emodogo who also said that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of boldness and peace, pointed out that it is only those who are Holy, obedient, keep the commandment of God and are at peace with God that can receive the Holy Spirit.
More, the priest asserted that all who indulge in cultism, patronize witch doctors, practice spiritism, liers, idolatress, fornicators and all who have deviated from the law of God cannot receive the Spirit of God, as the spirit is too Holy to behold sin or dwell in a body corrupted by sinful live style. Further, he tasked the lay faithful to shun all forms of occult practices, as it is grievous sin before God.
Congratulating the children of the Church for their excellent performance at mass, the rector appreciated them and prayed for God's guidance and protection over them all
At the reception shortly after mass, chaired by Barr. Isado, the children entertained all present with interesting activities which include Bible verses recitation, cultural/ kingdom dance presentations, Bible quiz competition and a recitation of the genealogy of Jesus.
Other activities were a news presentation and a debate on the topic: “Fathers are more caring than Mothers”, in which the females spoke in support of the motion while the males were against. Thereafter, the males scored 60 points to carry the day.
In her remark, the children's Sunday School coordinator Lady Ogbemhe, congratulated the children on their performance which made the occasion a success. She further called on parents to endeavour to always support childrens department both morally and financially.
Thereafter, Mrs D. Afolabi gave the vote of thanks.

Sabogidda-Ora CYON Gets New Executive

St Theresa Catholic Church Sabodidda-Ora, an outstation of St Joseph Catholic Church Eme-Ora, has recently elected a new executive to man the affairs of the group, as the parish priest Rev. Fr. James Anelu, promised to support the youths whenever the need arises.
Among the successful youths to make the executive team that will pilot the affairs of the body for the next three years were Bro. Amaechi Julius; President, Sister Oyekhire Anthonia; Vice President I, Bro. Alegbe Oise; Vice President II, Sister. Iboi Augusta; Secretary, Sister. Imoh Ifeoma; Assistant Secretary, Bro. Udensi Chukwudi; Financial Secretary and Eigbefoh Osaretin; Treasurer.
Others include Sister Ese Eigbefoh; Welfare Officer I, Sister Okharu Patience; Welfare Officer II, Bro Okpeniku Endurance; Provost, Bro. Ohilebo Vincent; Social director, Bro. Osareti Enoghase; P.R.O I, Bro. Oyakhire Jerry; P.R.O. II and Bro. Ikhidero Tunde as the Director of Sports.
Giving the acceptance speech, the new president Bro Amaechi Julius thanked God, the parish administrator and the entire parishioners for the opportunity given to him and members of his executive to serve the Church in their own capacity.
He called on parents to always release their children whenever there is youths activity in the Church, while soliciting the support of all both financially and morally, in order for them to be able to achieve their set goals.
During the inauguration, the parish priest Rev. Fr. James Anelu commended the youths for conducting themselves peacefully during the election which led to a democratically elected executive and provide a good result. He charged all present to always Imbibe the spirit of democracy at all time, stressing that as youths, they should bridge all gap of communications between them and other parishioners.
Speaking further, Fr. Anelu promised to always guide, assist and encourage them to perform their duties so as to be worthy of emulation, while urging them to love one another as Christ loves the Church.
The priest further prayed God to give them the wisdom and understanding to enable them discharge their duties creditably to the glory of God.

THE PROMISE Visits Bethel At Igieduma

As part of activities to conclude the 5th Anniversary of THE PROMISE Newspaper on the news stand, Staff and Correspondents of THE PROMISE Newspaper recently embarked on an excursion to Bethel at Igieduma.
The excursion according to the organizer Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai the Editor-in-chief of THE PROMISE Newspaper, was to expose the participants to the modern digital printing equipment at the centre.
Welcoming THE PROMISE team from Auchi Diocese to the centre, Mr Emile Wilfred who is a member of the Bethel family living in the centre, thanked the participants for visiting the centre which has been at Igieduma for over two decades. He said the Bethel centre was established solely for religious purpose and to promote the work of God in Nigeria.
Mr Emile advised participant's at the tour to adhere strictly to the rules and regulations of the centre which he said only encourages sightseeing.
Immediately after the welcome address, participants were taken to various sections at the centre. Explaining the efficiency of the printing machine, Mr Emile said the digital printing machine was installed solely for printing all the materials required by Jehovah's Witnesses in Nigeria and other West African Countries. He affirmed that the size of the printing hall (the breath) is the size of Noah's Ark.
The Hantscho rotary machine he said can print, fold and glue up to 38,000 magazines per hour. Also, Mr Emile said that the Bethel Home is one of the biggest in African and also has the best printing press in Africa.
At the end of the tour which lasted for over two hours, participants expressed their satisfactions to the organizer of the excursion for giving them the opportunity to see such a modern digital printing machines located at the centre.
Some of the participants at the excursion were Rev. Fr. John Aligamhe, Mrs Clara Ogbiti, Ms Helen Uhunmwagho, Mrs Chioma Agboh, Miss Pauline Akpetsi and others.


Ibillo Hosts Diocesan Laity Council

St Peter Catholic Church, Ibillo, has recently hosted the 86th regular monthly Diocesan laity council meeting.
Shortly after arrival, the delegates proceeded on a routine visit to the host parish administrator Rev. Fr. Godrick Shaba at his parish residence, where the secretary of the diocesan laity council Mr Chris Osigwe introduced members to the priest and briefed him on the objectives of the monthly meeting.
In his speech, the laity chairman Mr George Umoru thanked the parish administrator for playing host to them, appreciated him for the warm reception given them and also commended him for encouraging Ibillo to regularly attend Diocesan laity meetings, stressing that it was a sign of his friendship with the faithful as well as his commitment.
In responds, Fr. Shaba welcomed all present, also led the opening prayer, exhortation and thereafter, wished the delegates fruitful deliberations.
At the commencement of the meeting, Mr Asemokha the host laity chairman, welcomed the council to Ibillo and informed them on the cordial relationship between the priest and parishioners, as well as the state of the positive spiritual growth of the parish. He opined that for effective evangelization coverage of the twelve (12) outstations, the parish will need two priests.
Further, Mr Asemokha stated some of the physical development embarked upon by the Church since the arrival of Rev. Fr. Shaba to include the renovation of the altar, relocation and replacement of the tabernacle with a better one. He also noted that he has almost completed the fencing of the mission house and other projects, while pointing out that the Church boasts of two Nursery/Primary schools in Imoga, Lampese and two mission houses.
In response, the diocesan laity chairman Mr George Umoru, thanked the parish laity chairman Mr Asemokha for his commitment and wished him more of such growth.
Further, issues that were discussed at the meeting were, a Diocesan workshop coming up 17th September, 2011 which will be coordinated by Sir Peter Apeakume, titled “We may be active Instrument in Salvation of the World”, priestly ordination coming up 24th September, 2011 and a Provincial Seminar slated for November, 2011 which a committee was put in place to ensure its success.
The meeting also witnessed the presence of the Editor-in-chief of THE PROMISE Newspaper Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai, who visited the council to thank them on the successful celebration of the cultural carnival and 5th year anniversary of the paper on the news stand. He also appreciated the laity chairmen and the entire laity for their support and solicited for more co-operation in subsequent celebrations. He also informed members about the book he wrote and THE PROMISE Journal Published by THE PROMISE Newspaper, while calling for their support to enhance its distribution in various Parishes/ Mass centres and outstations.
The vote of thanks was given by Mr Irerua A.O., laity chairman of St Jude, Afuze, while the closing prayer was led by Bro Chris Afehomo. The next meeting comes up at Ososo 3rd July, 2011.

Fugar Celebrate Children's Day

The Mother Station of Fugar Parish, St. Theresa Catholic Church, has successfully celebrated her children's day with a line up of activities carried out by the children of the parish.

Flagging off the ceremony with a welcome speech, Miss Mabel Isaac Adorolo, appreciated the Parents, Priests and Religious of the parish for their immense support and contributions to their growth and development both morally and spiritually, noting that without their care and support, they wouldn't have come this far.

Giving the homily at the mass concelebrated with Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika, Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oshiokede congratulated parents whose children took active part in the liturgy and also thanked all the children for their performance, stressing that they are worth being proud of.

Fr. Oshiokede urged the children to always comport themselves as children of God who are the future of the nation. He charged them to reverence the Lord, refrain from evil of all sorts so as not to give the devil any chance to toil with their future to make them less of what God intends for them.

Addressing the parents, the priest stressed that children are blessings and gifts from God that should be cherished, nurtured and loved so as to bring out the best in them. Also, he tasked them to do all they can to bring up the children in the fear of God, so that when they grow up, they will not depart from it and the society will be a safer and better place to live.

More, the assistant parish priest enjoined parents to endeavour to live good exemplary lifestyles, remarking that the children tend to learn and copy their lifestyles as they are their children’s first teacher. He asserted that when parents portray evil habits and characters in their children's presence, they (the children) see it as the way it should be and begin to act in such manner.

Further, Fr. Oshiokede prescribed some ways through which parents can develop healthy relationship with their children which include spending quality time with their children, listen to them when they talk, parents should learn to admit and apologize when they are wrong, help the children develop a personal relationship with God and to also always inquire from them what they would want to be in future.

Thereafter at the reception, Rev. Fr.(Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika led the opening prayer, while Sir A.B.C Nasamu in his opening speech, applauded the children on their performance and enjoined them to be of good behaviour everywhere and at all times.

Activities showcased by the children were drama presentations titled “malpractice does not pay”, and “old age is a blessing” special numbers, kingdom dance, welcome songs as well as cultural displays.
Shortly after the activities, Rev. Sr. Adama gave the vote of thanks, while Rev. Fr. Gregory Ogbenika led the closing prayers.

Dagbala Honours Fr. Omokhekhe

It was all smiles, Joy, thanksgiving to God and shower of encomium on Rev.Fr. Philip Omokhekhe, Parish Priest of St. Ann Catholic Church, Ososo, as parishioners of Holy Angel's Church, Dagbala, held a thank you mass to honour him, for facilitating the carving out of their mass centre from his parish.
The mass which was held at Holy Angel's Church Dagbala, was concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Philip Omokhekhe and Rev. Fr. Moses Afokhume, Rector, Holy Angels Church, Dagbala.
Delivering the homily, Rev. Fr. Omokhekhe recalled with joy the times when he used to come to the then outstation of his Church to celebrate mass and described it as a home coming for him.
Fr. Omokhekhe pointed out that every baptized Catholic is a missionary and must work for God wherever they find themselves. He further thanked God and the Bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia for sending Rev. Fr. Moses Afokhume to start the mass centre, whose hardwork is evident in the accelerated physical and spiritual development recorded in the young mass centre.
Continuing, Fr. Omokhekhe who noted with joy and pride that the then outstation of St. Ann which was struggling to be on its feet is now a mass centre, hinted that in a couple of months, the Church will be erected a parish by the Bishop of the diocese.
More, he tasked the faithful to go out and evangelize the ignorant in their community to embrace the light of Christ so as to become fellow partakers of the kingdom of God as co-heirs with Christ.
Rev. Fr. Omokhekhe pointed out that as Christians; they have a responsibility to preach the gospel both by words and actions, while stressing that they can also support the spread of the gospel materially and financially.
Speaking further, the priest charged the Catholic community that as a people set apart for God's kingdom, they should not be afraid to talk about God to others, as according to the day's gospel, if they obey Christ's commandments, He will live in them and them in Him.
In his post Communion remark, Rev. Fr. Moses Afokhume profoundly thanked Fr. Omokhekhe for felicitating with them on the creation of Dagbala Mass Centre without minding the sacrifice of losing a good part of his parish.
He added that as vast as Ososo parish was then, Fr. Omokhekhe regularly visited every out station to celebrate mass, while pointing out that the legacy he left behind is what is being built upon at Dagbala.
Speaking also at the occasion, the pastoral council vice chairman Mr. C. A. Dania, thanked the guest priest on behalf of the mass centre for how he nurtured and cared for them and also made a presentation as a token of his appreciation.
Thereafter, the guest priest Rev. Fr. Philip Omokhekhe, thanked the faithful for the honour done to him and remarked that the mass centre will always be home to him.
Also present at the occasion was Dr. (Mrs) M. Aashikpelokhai of the Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi.

Joseph Sumanu Is Laid To Rest At Uneme-Nekhua
The remains of Late Mr. Joseph I. Sumanu, the laity chairman of St. Philomena Catholic Church Agenebode and the Husband of the CWO President Catholic, Diocese of Auchi, Mrs. Carolyn Sumanu, has been committed to mother earth at Uneme-Nekhua, Akoko Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.
Giving the homily at the mass, the rector of Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary, Ivianokpodi Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Gimah, said that the souls of those who are just shall see God. He described Late Sumanu as a true man of God who had served Him in his life time, stressing that he was a true Christian. Fr Gimah noted that every moment in the life of man should be seen as an opportunity for him to serve God as no one knows when he will be called home by God.

He charged all present to constantly reflect on every moment of their life, pointing out that as Christians, they should prepare for God’s calling, while tasking all present to do away with sin and be pure in heart at all times, as death is like a messenger, who comes unannounced to deliver its message on whomever it chooses and can not be sent away or negotiated with.

Fr. Gimah further said that they should not be like the lazy servant who buried his talents in the ground, but should endeavour to allow their lives to affect others positively, as that is what they will be remembered for when they pass on and further tasked all to reflects on the life they are living as husbands, wives and children and prayed God to grant the Sumanu family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Speaking earlier at the wake-keep mass, the parish priest of St John the Apostle Igarra, Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Bossey, described Christian death as home call to rest from all toils, labours and worries that besiege life on earth. He asserted that it is a joyful event in heaven when a faithful returns to God, as he noted that the number of years that one lived on earth does not matter to God, but the state of his soul.

Fr. Bossey advised the children of the deceased to follow the exemplary life of their father as well as their mother in the service of God.

Faithful within and outside the diocese of Auchi attended the burial ceremony, among them were members of the Diocesan Laity Council, members of CMO, CWO, as well as priests and religious.

Until his death, late Mr. Joseph I. Sumanu was a retired principal in the Edo State Post Primary Education and Principal, Providence Group of Schools, Agenebode.

Catechist Francis Odamah is Laid To Rest

The remains of late Catechist Francis Kasimu Odamah, has been committed to mother earth recently at the cemetery of Mary, Mother of God, Okpekpe at the age of 75.
Giving the homily at the requin mass, the Bishop of Auchi Diocese Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Ghieakhomo Dunia, said that the late Catechist was a dedicated man of God before he retired in 2009 and was always ready to battle with the devil till death took him away from this world.
Continuing, the prelate stressed that when the people of God die, on judgement day, their home would be heaven where there would be no sorrow and grinding of teeth.
In addition, the Bishop pointed out that the late Francis Odamah lived a peaceful life as a catechist and even when he retired, he was still dedicated to the service of God and the Church.
While consoling the children, the Bishop urged them to emulate their father and the good works he started before his death.
Highpoint of the burial was the final commendation and interment which followed immediately at the Church's grave site.
The funeral mass had in attendance priests from various parishes in the diocese.

St James Mark Father’s Day

Members of the Catholic Men Organization (CMO), St. James Mass Centre, Auchi chapter, have joined their counterparts in other parishes in the Diocese of Auchi to mark this year's father's day celebration at the Church premises recently.
As part of activities lined up for the occasion, a talk titled “life and investment” was given by the CMO chairman Sir G.K. Itemuagbo. In it, he pointed out that life is worth living but that it is useless to toil all through the day and have nothing to show for it. Therefore, he opined that for one to fully enjoy life, he should totally depend on God in all things, as He is the only one that can direct their affairs without flaws.
Further, he explained that wealth comes from a man's investment and for man to be wealthy, he must have to be patient, have faith in God and be faithful, which may appear to others as being foolish.
Continuing, Sir G.K. Itemuagbo outlined some secrets of a successful business which includes faith in God and hard work, total control of one's business, patience which is the key to success, honesty and sincerity of purpose, shun greed in search of wealth, be simple, be charitable as givers don't lack, cultivate the right attitude in any endeavour and also carve a niche for one’s business. He also added that people should learn how to give to the poor and the Church, develop skills to invent and seek alternative methods of doing things, stressing that if there is no need, there will be no invention.
Moreover, the Eucharistic celebration to mark the Fathers Day was celebrated by the Rector Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo, who congratulated the Fathers of St. James for their active participation in the Church.
In his homily, Fr. Francis explained the mystery of the Holy Trinity and said that the three persons of the Trinity are in unity and love. Therefore, he called on all to emulate the Holy Trinity in living in love and unity with one another. While recounting woes of moral decadence in the society, Rev. Fr. Emodogo called on the Fathers to be alive to their responsibilities in their families and the society at large.
The high point of the celebration after mass was a debate on “The role of men in the family is more tasking than the women.” At the keenly contested debate, the CMO led by their chief speaker Mr. Joe Umoru supported the topic while the CWO team led by their chief speaker Mrs. F.F Oyakhire, opposed it.
The debate which entertained the St. James family and x-rayed the roles of men and women in the family, was won by the women as adjudged by Rev. Sir Theresa Oshoke, who was among the team of judges which also had Engr. M.D. Omogbemhe, Mrs. Julia Ezurike and Mrs. Mary Isado as members.
Thereafter, there was a light refreshment, while the vote of thanks was given by Mr. Chris Ighodaro.

Ivioghe Sends-forth Fr. Ede

The Catholic community of St. Thomas Aquinas Mass Centre Ivioghe, has recently organized a send-forth ceremony for their past rector Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede, at the Church premises.
Giving the homily at the mass held in honour of the celebrant, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Gimah, Rector of Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary, Ivianokpodi, described him as a rare gem cum genius, who is always exercising his intellectual abilities and scholarly endowments with the fear of God, humility, virtue and Christian zeal. He said Fr. Stan is a simple man who is worthy of emulation.
Fr. Gimah advised parents to send their children to school pointing out that is the only way they can achieve greatness like Rev. Fr. Ede.
Thereafter, the host priest Rev. Fr. Victor Ibhawa thanked Fr. Emmanuel Gimah for his presence, while also thanking all for their presence amidst their tight schedule to show their love for Fr. Stan-William Ede.
Immediately after the mass, the celebration proper started at the Church compound which featured thrilling and entertaining activities; chorography/ kingdom dance by Catholic Girls Association, drama/ comedy presentations by zones and cultural dance by , Holy Trinity Iviebua and St. Stephen Edegbe outstations.
In his address, the laity chairman Chief P.D. Asekhamhe, thanked all the faithful present for their contributions and thanked God for the life of Fr. Stan-William Ede, whom he described as a colossus worthy of emulation and a diadem of honour.
Responding, Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede thanked all who attended the occasion for honouring him with their presence. He also thanked the rector of the Mass Centre Rev. Fr. Ibhawa and promised to always visit the Mass Centre whenever he is around.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of gifts by individuals, zones, associations and the Church in general to Rev. Fr. Ede.




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