LENT AND CATHOLICS
Lent is a special time of Prayer, Penance, and almsgiving in preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is a means by which we are to prepare physically and spiritually for the celebration of the death, suffering and the resurrection of Jesus Christ who brought Salvation to mankind. Lent is a period of forty days which is dedicated to prayer and fasting.
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Of course, its significance in the life of Catholics cannot be overstretched, as it has a lot of spiritual significance, been preparation period to reflect on Christ who died for the remission of our sins and granted us Salvation.
Sadly, the way and manner in which the season is been observed is disheartening, as many often forget the reason for the season which is prayer. Obviously, it is expedient for Catholics to embark on fasting and praying by abstaining from desired pleasures such as eating of meat or fish as the case may be, alcoholic drink or any drink at all because, abstaining from the said acts is geared towards discipline of our physical body and reuniting with Christ who is the Saviour of the World.
Also, alms giving is essential, as we are encouraged to give to those around us who may not have enough to eat and give them hope to live and bring them back to Christ.
As Catholics, Lent is equally an important opportunity given to us by the Church to take up our daily Cross and follow Christ and enter Eternal life with him, hence we are encouraged to renew our Spiritual commitment through prayers. Lent gives us an opportunity to reflect upon our pattern of life, pray more deeply as we partake in the regular attendance of the Stations of the Cross and remain united with Christ. This is a spiritual exercise that is highly required during Lenten season. Through prayers, we are expected to raise our hearts and minds to God, making sacrifices and cutting off distractions that fill our lives daily.
As Lent commences, we are expected to attend Stations of the Cross as stipulated by the Church and observe all the dos and donts of Lent and this when carefully observed would give us a fulfilled season of Lent and the blessing the embedded in the season.
Wishing you a fulfilled Lenten season.
MERCY ON YOUR MESSY CHILDREN, O GOD
Mercy is of God. Hence, it is written: “To thee, O Lord belongs mercy” (psalm 62:12). This mercy is the steadfast love of God. For this reason, love and mercy are often used interchangeably.
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Although, divine mercy is distinguished from human mercy, human mercy is dependent on the mercy of God in as much as human love or mercy is an expression or a reflection of divine mercy. God is mercy as he is love. Hence, as God is eternal so divine mercy (love) is eternal (cf. psalm 100:5).
Divine mercy is the eternal willingness of God's boundless burning desire to immeasurably grant forgiveness to any repentant sinner and have him or her reconciled with Him (God). It is therefore not surprising that the mere glimpse of the inestimable burning desire of God to forgive the repentant sinner and have him or her reconcile to Him, makes the psalmist exclaim: “your mercy (love) is eternal. Discard not the work of your hands (psalm 13 8:8)”.
Mercy does not override justice, instead, it transcends it and converts the sinner into being a just person by initiating repentance and openness to the Holy Spirit in the one who repents.
The sinner is warned not to presume that divine mercy must be mechanically and automatically granted to him. He, the sinner, must know and understand that divine mercy is only offered by God to the sinner when and if the sinner humbly assumes, or holds divine mercy to be incalculable and beyond measure; it cannot be earned.
The disposition of the sinner to the humble acceptance of divine mercy as being of incalculable and beyond measure is the heart of Lenten season in as much as during this season, the sinner acknowledges and accepts most humbly that his or her messy or badly damaged state of being sinful is surpasses most incalculably and beyond measure only by divine mercy. In other words, lent disposes the sinner towards unreserved acceptance that his or her messy (badly damaged or soiled) state can only be made otherwise by the most incalculable and immeasurable divine mercy.
Being aware of the incalculable and beyond measurement of the divine mercy without which the sinner is irremediably doomed, the sinner can be indescribably humbled into thinking of appreciating such most undeserved divine favour. The disposition at this stage initiates the tendency towards the cultivation of human mercy and the subsequent dispensing of it to others. This is what lent obliges us to engage in most fervently and unconditionally.
Human mercy is a moral virtue which initiates good desire on the spirit of its possessor who is further propelled to empathizing, having compassion on and helping unconditionally those who are either in spiritual or temporal want. Human mercy is the expression of divine mercy. In other words, human mercy is the manifestation of the divine mercy which is revealed in Christ identification with the plight of man by His passion, death and resurrection. Human mercy is dependent on divine mercy in as much as without the Holy Spirit dwelling in man, nothing good in man can be; all man's good turns to absolute ill.
My humble call on all the faithful of Christ as we begin the Lenten season is to turn to God, accept with all humility the most incalculable and immeasurable mercy of God, in order to have our messy state, as a result of our many sins, offered a recreation and transformation for better now and always; for “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them” (1 John 4:16).
THE LUNATICS IN OUR COMMUNITIES
» By Hon. Chief Jos Akhigbe Alemoh (JP)
In the first week of February 2014 there was a strong resentment from the Edo State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry that lunatics from other neighboring states were being dumped in the state, particular in the state headquarters of Benin City. This indeed is ugly, sad and provocative. Now that this ugly practice is a usual phenomenon, what should be done by the state to check the ugly, unpatriotic and provocative behavior of our sister states since we do not want this to continue? In order to check this from continuing, I suggest that our vigilante groups and our border towns should be strengthened to be more vigilant. However it was said by the commissioner that these lunatics were now being removed from the cities to the tradomedical homes in some villages for the attention and treatment of the traditional healers.
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This indeed is a welcome step that has been taken by the said ministry.
I may wish to know how these healing homes or centers are being cared for. l's it just enough to remove them from the city to be dumped in the said homes? I wish to say with sincere sense or responsibility as a citizen of this state that such remover and dumping without proper care in the said tradomedical homes is a mere window dressing to make the city look clean but to the detriment of the villages where they are now dumped. Know it therefore that these mad people are like us, created by God and they need to be taken care of. If proper attention is given to them, it is possible that they could regain their sanity and become once again good and active citizens of our great state.
Take a visit to any of these so called villages where these lunatics are taken to by the said ministry and you will feel sorry not only for the lunatics but the inhabitants of such villages. On arrival, the first observation is the way the mad people roam about in the villages. They go in search of water and food, some half naked and others in complete nudity. There is much the ministry can do to bring this situation under control. I like to suggest to the said ministry of women affairs and social development to come to the aid of these tradomedical homes by (a) Advice the state government to vote a reasonable amount of money while doing the yearly budget for their care. (b) Put the tradomedic & doctors on reasonable monthly payment to enable them to give a full attention to their patients.
(c) Assist the doctors with money to build a perimeter wall round the houses where these people are kept. This will assist to keep them in doors instead of roaming about in the villages uncontrolled. (d) Provide the doctors logistics to be preparing food for them instead of allowing them to constitute nuisance in the villages. (e) Let the doctors have storage facilities in their homes for water. This will help in keeping them within the fence and be able to take their bathe. Many of them sometimes move about for two or more weeks without taking their bathe and some days without drinking waters. (f) The welfare officers from the ministry should be directed to visit them regularly to be able to monitor how much attention is being paid to them. This visit could be once a month or by-monthly. (g) Since the government cannot send them to the psychiatric hospitals because of the financial involvement, attempt should be made to make sure that the tradomedical homes which appear to be cheaper should be properly funded to be able to take maximum care of these our unfortunate citizens.
May God bless our state and these unfortunate citizens?
HOW TO COPE WITH A NAGGING SPOUSE (II)
» By Rev. Fr. Francis IKHIANOSIME
HANDLING NAGGING IN MARRIAGE: The first step in curbing the nagging cycle, experts say, is to admit that you are stuck in a bad pattern. You are fighting about fighting. You need to work to understand what makes the other person tick. Rather than lazy and unloving, is your husband overworked and tired? Is your wife really suggesting she doesn't trust you? Or is she just trying to keep track of too many chores? There is just a bad circle that should be broken off from first, least the brawl would just continue endlessly. Seek to identify what ticks your spouse's nag.
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Nagging dwarfs communication. There is altogether another way of looking at nagging. Consider different ways of looking at the same issue. Your wife may nag you because he loves you too much to have an all-out confrontation on issues which she too recognizes as frivolous. But for a woman, the issue she nags about is so important to her that she sees it as a threat to the wellbeing of the relationship. True, that a nagging woman may have high expectations and some of them are even very outrageous upon which they nag, if a demand is not to be met, there should be another way the matter nagged about is looked at especially, when the other spouse can predict the turn of events. Sometimes, a spouse may nag over an issue like taking a wet towel out of the room. She may see this issue as an abdication of responsibility in other areas, not just the wet towel persay. To stop her nagging, address these concerns of your wife. Choose a time of day when both of you are less stressed and then explain to her that if you forget about your chores once in a while, it is not a reflection of you inability to fulfil responsibilities. You can also be the change you desire. If you desire her to be more receptive to situations, you first choose to be receptive to her in her nagging situation.
Also, a nagging wife or spouse could be dealt with not by hostile confrontation. The nagged partner must seek not to exchange angry words and counter-charge your wife in making life miserable with the nagging. This leads to a situation where both partners are accusing the other of creating the problem while the issue at hand continues to remain unsolved. Rather meet your nagging wife calmly and let her know that you are willing to discuss the point of conflict once she has a grip of herself.
There is also another way out of this cul-de-sac. Sometimes seek to simply ignore her. Nagging is sometimes spiced when there is a reply or attention given to the nagging spouse. It is rather paradoxical that when a spouse gives attention to the nagging spouse, it is supposed to douse the tension but at other times, it even spirals the trouble. It rather becomes an ease out when you allow her wear herself out by her own harangues. More likely, she would get plain bored of your lack of response and eventually shut up. Nevertheless, it is important that you know the cause of her displeasure and address it in the best possible way. Just because it is a frivolous matter does not mean it should not be given attention. A known secret about women is that they just want attention and to know they alone are at the middle of the whole picture. Try as much as it is possible to give her reasons to trust and show attention. If these are not available, there should be the establishment of sufficient goodwill, which could suffice in the absence of these.
Nagging in relationship is often a harbinger of people who love each other yet have distant hearts. To bridge the gap in relationship and even silence nagging, couples should set aside some “togetherness time”. It is just a period created for relaxation and dialogue. This time would allow spouses talk about issues concerning their marriage. It should not all be work, studies or meetings. One cannot build a house at the expense of building a home. This is also the moment to talk to your wife about likes and dislike. Many women don't understand that men don't like it when they are too often convicted. This kind of understanding of self is only realizable when a man and a woman are able to spend quality time that is romantic. It is important to know, that a man should learn the quality of romance her spouse desire. Women more generally are moved by romance than sex. Men should make moments of romance and togetherness real and periodic. Women too should understand the emotional demands of a man and be supportive of their needs. Commonly, most nagging have roots in failed emotional life and the emotional rhythm of relationship is often thwarted because, it is often not talked about. Spouses should discuss emotions, only then can it remain demystified. The mystery around emotions and marital debts is so high that it is behind many marriage shutdowns. Understanding a spouse's concern can go a long way in dealing with her nagging. The important thing is for you to motivate your partner to express his/her wishes in a more mature way and at the same time recognizes the positive changes that s/he wishes to bring about. This will not only help your spouse to feel that his/her concerns are valid but will allow one to enjoy a nagging-free relationship.
Sometimes, when men notice that their wife appears to be an unrepentant nag and yet for social reasons still wishes to preserve the marriage, it can drive them to infidelity. Often times, the women do not know. But most nagging is a sign that the rock of trust is gradually being cracked and disbelieved by the other partner. The partner can help the nagging spouse if he or she can restore trust in the relationship. Often, a partner should be the change he deserves. Seek to rebuild trust in different ways possible. It was Socrates who said, “The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be”. If a man pretends to be honest and trust worthy, he should be that which he purports.
Nagging is a reflection of poor communication skill. A person who nags often has all the mannerisms of poor communication: creating monologues, cutting in when someone is talking, shutting down the communication, etc. The spouse nagged who has noticed these idiosyncrasies of his/her nagging spouse, could gradually introduce better communications skills. It would mean that the other spouse should try out ways that could get the spouse to listen. Sometimes a pathological nag may need the attention of a psychotherapist. This is important as the nag may never listen or accept any point from his spouse he nags because he feels all his/her points have ulterior motives.
To help nagging spouse, it would be important for one to manage his expectations. Make sure you are asking for something that is realistic and appropriate. If it is not something that needed an immediate attention, then there should be some allowance granted. A nag can make his/her requests known through more acceptable and valid ways rather than via the annoying tantrums and complaining. Also, the partner nagged should not always elicit a particular response and so act in a manner that is opposed to the good of the relationship. A nag can also achieve her demand, if she tries out the other partner perspective if its viable. There is yet another tip that can help. Partners should make sure; roles are not usurped for the fact or fear of irresponsibility towards the duty. This would help a long way of reducing nagging if not dwarfing it altogether. Giving a clear answer can also help in helping a nagging spouse rather than ambiguous reply. There is also a strut for superiority in the marriage which often makes nagging more prolonged. While a wife would feel she is being suppressed, the man may feel she is being undermined. This kind of bloated ego fight would always fertilize nagging in marriage. A rule of thumb here to help here is: “we stoop to conquer”. Along this same bother, settle for a partial victory in the event of a fight than seek a full victory. The wife complains, you did not inform me you were going to host your friends, here your friend told me you did well and I should thank you. The husband argues he informed the wife, and the brawl continues. The wife can either say, maybe you told me and I did not take note of it or the man says, “I thought I informed you. I am sorry then dear”.
There are all kinds of reasons why a person might be prickly and critical. In the vast majority of cases, the criticism has more to do with the one saying it and less to do with the one the criticism seems directed toward. If at all possible, don't take it personally. Most of the issues treated are seen as an affront on the partner's personality rather than the strut to redeem the relationship. If partners can disabuse their minds from seeing things as personal, then, one would be able to help a nagging spouse
Nagging is a number one relationship killer. Nagging can bring home an avalanche like cheating can. But if it persists unabated in your relationship, it can become an off-the-radar marriage killer. Perhaps it's time to take another look at this common communication pattern in our relationships. A nagging spouse is a spouse that needs help not one that should be abandoned. Nagging means the spouse loves the relationship but does not have her way in the way it should be run. It means there is a lot to be achieved and there is the goodwill. Once, partners start looking at the goodwill of the nag, then, then can help him/her achieve a good end through a good means rather than what nagging does, trying to achieve a good end via a wrong means. Every relationship should try to see areas and peculiar ways his/her nagging spouse could be helped.
TREATMENT OF PAIN
» By Pharm. Ngozi Nzewi
Different factors can give rise to pain. These include illness, injury, damage to nerve etc. The choice of a pain killer depends on the cause (etiology) of the pain. The proper choice of a pain killer (analgesic) in tackling a given pain is in the hands of the expert. It is known that acquisition of skill in the management of pain is one of the great services a physician can do to his patient. Once the specific factor causing the pain is identified, treatment is followed. The pain can be evaluated from a careful attention to the patient's description of his/her pain, and the assessment of its consequences.
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Assessment of pain includes the full history, psychological and psychosocial assessment, medication history, and previous problems of pain paying attention to the factors influencing the pain. Many more methods (modern techniques) are presently available for pain management. Though these have helped in the treatment of pain, there is still a lot to learn about pain and its management. The WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (W H O) has formulated an analgesic ladder to form the basis of the use of analgesics (pain killing drugs).
When the cause of pain cannot be removed, drugs acting on the central nervous system (C. N. S) or on peripheral pain mechanisms are generally used to relieve it. Pain is of dual phenomenon; in that there is perception of the sensation, and the patient's emotional reaction to it.
Analgesics that act on the (C.N.S) for the treatment of pain have two pathways. First it acts to reduce the ability of the patient to perceive the pain sensation and consequently alter the patient's emotional reaction to the pain. Some of the centrally acting analgesics have their negative effects such as dependence, addiction, abnormalities of mood (dysphoria) and hallucinations. Emotional state of the person influences the pain threshold. For example, it is known that anxiety lowers it while anger raises it.
CHOICE OF ANALGESICS.
This is best handled by the trained physician. Pains may arise from somatic structures (skin, muscles, bones, and joints). Such pains may be treated using non narcotics like paracetamol and asprin. Pains may arise from the viscera (internal smooth muscles) following spasm of this muscle. The arising pain may be treated using mild narcotics that do not cause addiction. Such narcotic should act to alter the pain threshold and psychic reaction to pain without inducing dependence. When pain is due to spasm, treatment is directed at reduction of spasm. This may involve psychotherapy, sedation and the use of a centrally acting muscle relaxant as well as non-narcotic analgesics e.g. ophenadrine and paracetamol. Mild pain from any source should be treated using the non-narcotic analgesics and these should always be tried first. It is better to give a combination of mild analgesics than giving a higher dose of one drug alone. However, assembling high doses of different types of these analgesics should be avoided. Less adverse effect should match relief of pain. If analgesics must be combined, the qualified healthcare provider is to determine this. The patient clinical history is important. For example, an ulcer patient cannot tolerate Asprin or diclofenac especially without food. Codeine is commonly used in somatic pain and is none addicting. Caffeine potentiates Asprin and as such used in some mixtures. The use of drugs of addiction must be determined and managed by the physician. Where the cause of pain is known, the pain is removed by handling the cause of the pain. An ulcer pain will stop when the ulcer is healed. Factors exacerbating ulcer must be avoided if the ulcer must heal and pain stopped. An ulcer patient should avoid fried foods, pepper, alcohol, unripe acidic fruits, and some drugs as these will not encourage healing and stoppage of pains.
We have noted the two phenomenons associated with pains which are first, the Patients perception of the pain sensation and secondary, the Patients emotional reaction to the pain. It is to be noted that a potent C. N. S acting drug may relieve pain, but the mental state of the patient may become abnormal. Individuals who consume large quantities of analgesics may develop chronic intestinal nephritis often associated with renal papillary necrosis. Most people who consume some combination of analgesics E.g. (phenacetin, asprin, acetominophene, caffeine, codeini for long periods of time develop nephropathy. Asprin and Acetominophine are said to be the major culprits. While they can cause renal disease in an apparently healthy individual, pre existing renal disease is a precursor to analgesic induced renal failure. In this era of stress, and lifestyle induced diseases and the subsequent body pains, there is observation of indiscriminate consumption of analgesics. There is inherent danger in self medication. When simple analgesics are not relieving your pain, refer to your physician.
WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER
» By Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua
I was on vacation in Paris when I got a distress call on August 4, 2013 that some Muslim youths were attacking St. Mary's Catholic Church Karu. Some print media reported that four people were killed in the process. I immediately called one of the Muslim youths in the National Mosque, Abuja who went to the Mosque close to the Catholic Church in Karu to find out what actually happened. His report was confirmed by the parish priest of the Church that it was not a case between the Christians and the Muslims. On Thursday, August 22, 2013, I led some Muslim and Catholic Youths to meet with the Parish priest and the Imam of the mosque. With us were some staff of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria and staff of the office of Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Abuja. In the meeting we were able to discover that:
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• The crisis was a result of an argument between the security agents and the commercial motorcyclists who were protesting that the punishment given to one of them was inhuman.
• It was one of the Muslims who informed a sister in the Church of what was happening outside thereby helping to protect the worshippers from running into the riot.
• That the report in some print media that four people died was not true.
• That nobody was killed in the protest.
• That Huzaifa Abdullahi was hit by straying bullets in front of the mosque.
• That the Soldiers paid the hospital bills to treat Huzaifa but the National hospital could not extract the bullets from the patient before the industrial action (strike) of the hospital workers.
We visited Huzaifa, the victim of the protest who was in serious pains at home. We had to assist in taking him to St. Mary's Catholic Hospital Gwagwalada for better medical attention. What can we do together as human beings to put smiles on the faces of those who are suffering? What can we do together as Nigerians to make life worth living for the citizens? What can we do together as worshippers of one and the same God to deliver religion from being given the bad name, “instrument of violence”?
Together, we can work for the eradication of poverty. The root cause of the “Karu protest” did not value up to a hundred naira (N100.00). Many graduates today because of the massive unemployment in the country get themselves employed as “commercial motorcyclists”. This “industry” is given different names in different places. Consequently, you hear of “bike”, “okada”, “achaba”, “going” “ala alok”, “aka uke” etc. This business to struggle for survival has been used in some cities for different types of crimes. Some major cities in Nigeria have placed interdict on “bike business”. On the fateful Sunday morning of August 4, 2013, the “bike man” set down (drop) a passenger in front of the church. Unfortunately, he did not have “change” to give to the passenger so he decided to wait while the passenger entered the Church to look for “change”. The security agents told him to take the motor cycle away from there. He refused to obey. A military woman gave him corporal punishment by pushing him into the gutter where he claimed that he drank dirty water. The report was that the soldier did not stop punishing him in spite of his pleading. This provoked his colleagues who were also using “bike” as means of survival. They blocked the road and started attacking any person or vehicle on the road.
The reaction of the commercial motorcyclists appeared like a symptom of accumulated anger of people who have been deprived of comfort and means of livelihood akin to the popular allegorical novel, “Animal Farm” (1945) of George Orwell whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903-21 January 1950). There is a limited elasticity to suffering after which the victims of poverty become insensitive to human value. This is where the security agents need to show sympathy and empathy but our political space has made every Nigerian a “terrorist suspect”. In a situation where the soldiers and police can not differentiate between criminals and patriots, they too need to protect themselves in our existential jungle that has rendered human flesh so cheap. In the process of trying to dispense the angry mob, the male genital organ of Huzaifa Abdullahi was almost blown off by bullets. The effort of the military to provide medical care for the innocent victim was thwarted by the industrial action of the “medical industry”.
In the midst of this national poverty of unemployment and welfare of those who already have jobs, religious sentiments remain an instrument to win sympathy for violence. This calls for a deeper reflection on the philosophy of Karl Marx that “religion is the opium of the people”. Together as people who believe in God and believe in religion, we can help people to understand the value of truth. We can assist in naming events, persons and things without bringing in religious and tribal sentiments as adjectives and adverbs.
Once upon a time, I was a parish priest and Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in a certain Local Government Area of Edo State. The youths were protesting against the Local Government Chairman. They were going to burn down the buildings of the Local Government Council. They allowed me to intervene when I confronted them. I asked them, “Where is the Local Government Chairman from”? They shouted, “He is not from here that is why he does not care about our welfare”. Then I asked, “The buildings you want to destroy, where are they located?” They answered, here in our town. I continued, who is the loser if you destroy what is in your town? They replied, “oh father, you don spoil our day, go and warn the chairman”.
That same week, I led a delegation of CAN, Muslims, the palace chiefs and elders of the town to see the governor in Benin City. After that meeting, the State Government restored light to the General Hospital that was left without power supply for over a year. The new market that was under construction for ages was completed and some roads in the town were repaired. There is a lot we can do together if we refuse to allow religion and ethnicity to tear us apart. What do we gain if the already existing structures and properties are destroyed in the process of protest? What do we gain if the same people that we are fighting for their rights are killed in the process of protest? Is it not possible to have a peaceful demonstration without killing innocent people, destroying physical structures and properties? Can we not have a situation where the security agents are not forced to use weapons of destruction to maintain law and order? May we all cooperate with God and the leadership of our government to create jobs, various means of transport and a life that befits civilized human beings! There is a lot of we can do together to enhance human dignity and value irrespective of our various differences.
DEALING WITH A SCRUPULOUS CONSCIENCE
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
I recall a situation in an examination when my Classmates and I after an examination were reviewing the questions. There was a particular question we were asked by the examiner and those of us who attempted the question gave a similar answer to the question, and we were so certain that the answer we provided was the right answer; until the examiner came after marking to distribute the scripts. Those of us who attempted that particular question, failed it. Before the coming of the lecturer we were optimistic about the question.
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We can often find ourselves in a state of moral uncertainly; that is, moral indecisiveness where we find it difficult to determine what is the right thing for us to do in a given situation. We may accuse ourselves falsely, thinking that we have acted wrongly even if we have acted rightly. Just as we may act wrongly thinking that we have acted rightly. This can occur when we lack the truth about the action we have performed or refused to perform or about to carry out. This is an indication that human beings suffer from moral ignorance.
There is in every human person a sort of “moral sense” which enables him to appreciate what is good and abhor evil. Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, tells him inwardly at the right moment: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God (Gaudium et Spes, n. 16). This moral imperative invites him to do good and avoid evil. This voice is what is known as conscience. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council see conscience as the most secret core and sanctuary of a person where he or she is alone with God (Gaudium et Spes, n. 16).
It is regarded as the voice of God, a superior voice in man and it works with moral knowledge to enable the human person to discern what is good or bad. It is an aspect of Reason and Intellect. It is reason applied to moral conduct. This implies that although the moral imperative: do good and avoid evil, is innate in human beings, they only come to know what is right through enlightenment.
Over consciousness of sin and ignorance of 'the right thing to be done' lead to scrupulous conscience; this is a matter of ignorance. A scrupulous conscience leads to doubt and worries about what one has not done well, and it passes erroneous judgment. A “guilty conscience” is not necessarily an indicator of true moral failure; just as lack of guilt does not indicate a moral uprightness (1 Cor 4:4; Ps 19: 12-13). Scrupulous conscience cannot be regarded as the voice of God. One who has an erroneous conscience often accuses himself of wrong doing even when he has not done wrong. This kind of attitude results from malformed conscience. One who suffers from such ends up going to confession even where there is no need for it. Such a person needs constant enlightenment in the truth to be able to discover what is true and good in order to be healed. Those who have a legalistic approach to life are often victims of scrupulous conscience. They suffer from psychological neurosis which makes them impervious to the truth. This neurosis has its foundation in their upbringing. They have been trained to see God as one who punishes those who do evil. So the only understanding such people have about God, is that violation of God's commandments earns one hell fire. They have not been trained to see God as a merciful and compassionate Father. For such people heaven and holiness are matters of personal effort and strict observance of the law and the letters of the scriptures. Following the direction of the Holy Spirit has no place in their dealings with people.
People with scrupulous conscience are hardly opened to the truth, and so they most often hold on to their initial opinions of life. They have the tendency of being judgmental and uncompassionate. They see sin in what others do and tend to be hard on themselves and others. Those who do not do what they do are regarded as sinner. If such people are religious leaders, they make their private devotions and prayer style a general norm which others must subscribe to.
How can one determine what is good and what is bad?
The judgment made by conscience is determined by one's belief and level of enlightenment. An act is not sinful because one judges it to be so; God is the determiner of sin. He determines what is sinful; man can only come to discover it through enlightenment. Conscience formation entails conversion and education. To overcome the problem of a malformed conscience, education of the human mind is necessary. Basically this education of the mind is based on the Scriptures, the Church's tradition and magisterium. The Church is a teacher of moral values and a community of moral formation; and everyone has the obligation of forming his conscience in truth.
Conversion is an ongoing process. In short, a person with scrupulous conscience is in need of Intellectual conversion, to be able to have a correct understanding of God as merciful and compassionate. Truth heals and liberates. To heal a person with scrupulous conscience or malformed conscience, he must be trained to be opened to the truth and taken through educational process by which value sensitivities are inculcated.
Holiness is not what we achieve by our strength alone. It requires our effort and the grace of God. It is not a matter of observance of the law only, but listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:18, 25) and determining what is pleasing to God through a process of discernment.
A malformed conscience can lead to insensitivity and scrupulosity. Every human person to a certain degree suffers the problem of conscience malformation which can either lead to insensitivity or scrupulosity to a certain extent. One's life experience can either help in the formation of conscience or its malformation. The extent to which one's life's experience is limited, biased or destructive, to that extent will one's conscience be formed.
MARY AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (PT. 5) HAD MARY OTHER CHILDREN?
» By Rev. Fr. Agibefo Mario
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When the Catholic Church calls Mary the Blessed Virgin, she means that Mary remained a virgin all through her existence or life. On the other hand, when our separated brethren refer to Mary as Virgin, they mean that she was a virgin only until Jesus' birth. They believe and hold that Joseph and Mary later had other children following from the Bible passages given below:
1. Matthew 13:55-56 - Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary' And are not his brothers Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?
2 Mark 3:31 - Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him (Also read John 2:12; Acts 1:14: 1 Corinthians 9:4-5).
3. Psalm 69:8 - I have become a stranger to my kindred an alien to my mother's children
4. John 7:1-5 after this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”
5. Luke 2:7 - And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn
6. Matthew 1:25- but had no marital relations with her until (till) she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
All these said, the Catholic Church teaches still that Mary had only one son in the person of Jesus Christ. Now, what is the rationale behind this teaching of the Catholic Church despite all the aforementioned facts? Beginning with the issue on number 6, we shall attempt to answer the above questions.
On Matthew 1:25
Some people argue that the normal inference from the words until/till in the statement of Matthew 1:25 is that Mary and Joseph, after the birth of Jesus Christ lived together as husband and wife and had other children; otherwise, why would Jesus be referred to as first-born? We shall come back to this question in the next heading. Their inference from the word until/till arises from ignorance of the biblical meaning and use of these words. As a result of this, they apply only the narrow and modem meaning and use of these words. An unknown author gives an appropriate explanation of Matthew 1:25 thus: In the Bible, it means only that some action did not happen up to a certain point; it does not imply that the action did happen later, which is the modern sense of the term. In fact, if the modern sense is forced on the Bible, some ridiculous meanings result. Consider this line: “Michol the daughter of Saul had no children until the day of her death” (2 Samuel 6:23). Are we then to assume she had children after her death? Or how about the raven that Noah released from the ark? The bird “went fort and did not return till the waters were dried up upon the earth” (Gen. 8: 7,). In fact, we know the raven never returned at all. And then there was the burial of Moses. About the location of his grave. It was said that no man knows “until this present day” (Deut. 34:6,), but we know that no one has known since that day either... (l)
And She Gave Birth to her First-Born Son (Luke 2:7)
For Jesus to be first-born, does it not mean that there must have been at least a second- born, a third-horn, and so on? The argument here by the Protestant Fundamentalists is that Jesus could not be Mary's first-born unless there were other children following him in the line to have made the Bible put the emphasis on Jesus as the first-born. But this is incorrect. This argument comes from ignorance of the Bible and of the way the Jews of Old applied the term.
In Exodus 13:2, the Bible says: Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the Israelites, of human beings and animals, is mine. For the Jew, the term first born refers to the child that opens the womb. So the Bible is trying to emphasize the fact that .Jesus was actually the one who opened the womb of Mary and no other (cf. Ezekiel 44:2). In addition, the term firstborn has an implication for consecration. Since every firstborn was to be consecrated, applying the term to Jesus, the Bible authors' intention is to show that Jesus was specially set apart by consecration for his divine mission (see Luke 2:23; Exodus 34:20). Now, did this mean the parents had to wait until a second son was born before they could call their first the first-born? Hardly! The first male child of a marriage was termed the firstborn even if he turned out to be the only child of the marriage. (2)
An Alien to My Mother's Children (Psalm 69:8)
His disciples remembered that it was written, Zeal for your house will consume me (John 2:17). This statement came in reference to Jesus when he was zealously cleansing the temple defiled by those who turned it into a market place and a den of robbers. Interestingly, this statement has its origin from Psalm 69(v9). This psalm is one of the psalms referred to as the Messianic Psalms. They are so called because the life of Jesus Christ the Messiah is a fulfillment of some aspects of these psalms which serve as prophecies.
Now, because verse 8 of this Psalm 69 says: I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother's children, Protestant Fundamentalists argue that as a Messianic Psalm, the expression my mother 's children is a proof that Mary gave birth to other children apart from Jesus Christ and that Jesus had siblings.
First of all, that a psalm is Messianic does not mean that every aspect of the psalm is a prophecy about Jesus Christ. To understand this, we need to read the full psalm in order for us to understand this fact: More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause, many are those who would destroy me, my enemies who accuse me falsely. What I did not steal must I now restore? O God, you know my folly: the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me, O Lord GOD of hosts: do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me, O God of Israel. It is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my eye. I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother's children. It is zeal for your house that has consumed me: the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me... (Psalm 69:4-9).
Verse 5 says: O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. Now, taking a close look at this verse, can we say it also applies to Jesus Christ? Certainly no! Another word for folly is foolishness and other words for wrongs are sins and u offences as some other bible translations put them. If we say this verse applies to .Jesus, then, we are saying that Jesus Christ was a sinner who did foolish things like us. But this is totally wrong because the scripture says that Jesus Christ was like us in all things but sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15); He is the Lamb without blemish (cf. 1 Peter 1: 19); He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1: 19). A sinner cannot take away the sins of the world because he himself needs redemption: so Jesus could not have sinned!
WOES OF A NATION: SYRIA IN PERSPECTIVE (PT. 1)
» By Rev. Fr. Gregory Onimhawo
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It seems initially to be a conflict that could have lasted for some couple of months and then been resolved. But it has become something different, like a terrible nightmare refusing to end, a conflict that continues to linger on, even turning into a civil war, that lives and property been wasted like salt trampled upon. This is the crisis and situation in Syria. Information gathered from the Free Encyclopedia (Wikipedia) in which we got much of our facts from shows that the Syrian Civil War, also known as the Syrian Uprising or the Syrian Crisis is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. The unrest began on 15 March 2011, with popular protests that grew nationwide by April 2011. These protests were part of the wider North African and Middle Eastern protest movements known as the Arab Spring, Syrian protesters at first demanded democratic and economic reform within the framework of the existing government.
In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. The conflict is asymmetrical, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country. In 2013, Hezbollah entered the war in support of the Syrian army. The Syrian government is further upheld by military support from Russia, which it stepped up in the winter of 2013-2014, and Iran, while Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United States transfer weapons to the rebels. By July 2013, the Syrian government controls approximately 3040 percent of the country's territory and 60 percent of the Syrian population. A late 2012 UN report described the conflict as "overtly sectarian in nature "between Alawite shabiha militias and other Shia groups fighting largely against Sunni-dominated rebel groups, though both opposition and government forces denied that.
According to the United Nations, the death toll surpassed 100,000 in June 2013, and reached 120,000 by September 2013. In addition, tens of thousands of protesters, students, liberal activists and human rights advocates have been imprisoned and there are reports of widespread torture and terror in state prisons. International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations. The UN and Amnesty International's inspections and probes in Syria determined both in 2012 and 2013 that the vast majority of abuses are done by the Syrian government; who are also largest in scale. The severity of the humanitarian disaster in Syria has been outlined by UN and many international organizations. More than four million Syrians have been displaced, more than three million Syrians fled the country and became refugees, and millions more were left in poor living conditions with shortage of food and drinking water. The situation is especially bad in the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp, where currently 20,000 residents are facing death by starvation from a Syrian army enforced blockade.
Chemical weapons have also been used in Syria on more than one occasion, triggering strong international reactions.
Early Stage of the crisis
The conflict initially began as a civil uprising, evolved from initially minor protests, beginning as early as January 2011, as a response to the regional Arab Spring, government corruption, and human rights abuses. Large-scale unrest began on 15 March in the southern city of Daraa, sometimes called the "Cradle of the Revolution", and later spread nation-wide. The government responded to the protests with large arrests, torture of prisoners, police brutality, censorship of events, and some concessions. In May 2011, Assad released hundreds of political prisoners from prison including Islamists, some of whom went on to play leading roles in the armed opposition, such as Ahrar ash-Sham an Islamist group whose first brigades had been formed before the revolution started. However, the protests continued to grow. In late-April, Assad began launching large-scale military operations against restive towns and cities. The operations involved the use of tanks, infantry carriers, and artillery, leading to a large number of civilian deaths. Is this not a wrong approach of a so called leader in solving the problems of his country? For he uses forceful threats to life in order to stop an uprising and this leads to the loss of life on the people that he leads and suppose to protect.
Following military crackdowns, many soldiers defected to protect protesters. Many protesters also began to take up arms. The first instance of armed insurrection occurred on 4 June 2011 in Jisr ash-Shugur, a city near the Turkish border in Idlib Governorate. Angry protesters set fire to a building where security forces had fired on a funeral. Eight security officers died in the fire as demonstrators took control of a police station, seizing weapons. Clashes between protesters and security forces continued in the following days. Some security officers defected after secret police and intelligence agents executed soldiers who refused to shoot civilians. Looking at incidents of this kind, one would begin to fret at the extent to which humans have become foes to their fellow human beings.
In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.
JOURNEYING WITH THE ANGELS OF HEALING
» By Rev. Fr. Thomas Anavhe
God wants everyone to know the truth that leads to salvation and be saved (I Timothy 2:3-4). He created angels as agents of His Salvific message. Day and night, God's angels are in the journey of administering different forms of messages to His people.
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We shall therefore analyze God's angels and their roles in our lives. We shall be discussing 'Angels' as spiritual (invisible) messengers and as persons or events that God uses in bringing complete changes in our lives.
The English word 'Angel', means messenger in Greek. While in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for angel is Mal'ak which also means messenger. Biblically, the word angel is often referred to as heavenly being, although humans are sometimes referred to as angels when they perform acts that bring joy and happiness to others.
One of the roles of angels in our lives as Christians is that the awareness of the presence of angels banished every iota of fear from our lives and lead us into complete healing. If we need the presence and healing touch of angels in our lives, we must create a communion with them because every man and woman of God who do not have a good knowledge and union with heavenly host like the angels of God, deny themselves a great privileged which God offers us through their instrumentality.
We all have guardian angels assigned by God to watch over us and the effectiveness of the role of our individual guardian angels with specific tasks and archangels in our lives, is usually determined by our personal awareness of, and devotion to them.
The angels' gentle movement around the devotee is full of healing. They infuse in us, supernatural confidence, peace produce the inspiration needed for victory and fill us with the courage to execute out' plans. When the services of the angels are not fully used in our lives, we tend to delay the speed of our progress. The angels help to bring our victory into reality. For instance, Archangel Michael came to fight against the evil, angel of the kingdom of Persia that was opposing the answer to the prayer of Daniel for twenty-one days. With the intercession of the angels, we grow faster in our lives (Daniel 10:13).
Angels help us to achieve our dreams by ensuring that God's salvation power is fully made manifest in our lives. What are the angels, then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by him to help those who are to receive salvation (Hebrew 1:14). Sebastine C. Anokwuku (2013) says, “Unless man strives with the cooperation of the Angels, we would be eternally separated from God. God has planned for man, these holy ministers, an indispensable partnership if he must reach the Promised Land heaven. The angel provided bread for Elijah so that he could achieve his dream, since the journey would be difficult for him without taking food (1King 19:7).
With the angels on our side, we are rest assured of God's comfort and deliverance in our lives. Like they were sent by God to comfort Hagar, the slave girl of Sarah in the wilderness and provided water for the new born baby (Genesis 21:17), and angels also ensured that Peter was safely delivered from prison (Acts 12:1-110). They help to bring our victory into reality. There is no doubt that our world is sick with deception, rejection, and physical ill health. Who will be the messenger of healing? For many are sick and are in need of a healer. There may not be serious need for a continuous prayer for God's invisible angels to come to our aids. You may be the heavenly angel/messenger which they are looking for to heal their wounds. Tell the world, your husband, wife and those around you that healing is still possible if we allow ourselves to be of help to our neighbour.
HUMANS AS AGENTS OF HEALING
Our world is in need of humans to journey with the invisible angels to administer healing to the sick ones. God's invisible angels will never fail in administering healing to the sick ones especially when we call for their aid. Human touch in the journey of the angels of healing is becoming very expedient. For many who are sick are actually in need of the healing touch of their brothers and sisters. They are looking for a human angel that will show them love, appreciation, care and make them to understand the joy to live again.
Have you ever experienced a concrete ministration of God's heavenly angels? Does the mentioning of your name easily draw the Holy angels’ attention. Have you ever seen the holy angels working for your favour whether visible or invisible? It is possible that they are not yet familiar with you, since you are not in the journey of the angels of healing. Those who perform the role of heavenly angels to their follow humans by coming to their aid, receive a constant healing touch of God's angels in heaven.
EVENTS AS AGENTS OF HEALING
The events of our lives have the capacity to lead us to the destiny, which God has prepared for us. In the Stations of the Cross, we are told that all that happens to us have God's mark on them. They are only incapable sometimes or make our voice not to be recognized in our generation, if only we fail to allow God to speak to us through our daily events. When we allow events to weigh us down and we refuse to be productive, we deny ourselves from the angelic reward that is associated with those events. God wants to reveal to those who see the events of their lives as the angels God is using to lead them to their victory. The pains we experience in our lives can be turned to grace if only we allow God to speak to us through them. Our successes are not determined by the beautiful nature of the wants around us.
“So then, everything depends, not on what man wants or does, but only on God's mercy” (Romans 9:16). The degree of the beauty of events, around us does not determine the level of our success – “For God will have mercy on whom he will have compassion” (Romans 9:15). This shows that our salvation is basically determined by God and not by our strength or the advantageous nature of our events. So, refusing to be docile to the events of our lives is to refuse God's healing hands to lift us up for wholeness. The acceptance of the events around us will help to beautify us in whatever position and situation we find ourselves. There can only be reduction in our glory and victory when there is no acceptance of our daily events. The problems of your lives are not the weaknesses of your husband, wife, children, fiancée, or your job. They may often be because you have refused to accept God's destined angels to turn your life anew.
POPE FRANCIS TASK FAITHFUL TO LIVE A LIFE OF EVANGELICAL POVERTY
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As Catholics all over the world commence the Lenten season, the Holy Father Pope Francis, has in his Lenten message, tasked faithful to live a life of evangelical poverty, stressing that Christ does not reveal himself in worldly power and wealth, but rather, in weakness and poverty.
The Pontiff who noted that “though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor,” pointed out that “Christ the eternal son of God, one with the father in power and glory, chose to be poor, He came amongst us and draw near to each of us,” noting that “He set aside His glory and emptied Himself so that He could be like us in all things but sin”.
Continuing, the Holy Father who noted that “God becoming man is a great mystery”, hinted that “the reason for this is His love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved,” noting that “charity and love is sharing with the one we love in all things, as love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distance”.
Further, the Bishop of Rome who affirmed that “Christ by making Himself poor, does not seek poverty for His sake but for the sake of all” asserted that “this is no more play of words or catch phrase but rather, it sums up God's logic, the logic of love, the logic of Incarnation and the Cross”, adding that “…it is striking that the Apostle states that we were set free, not by Christ's riches but by His poverty.”
The Holy Father hinted that “…Christ's poverty which enriches us in taking His flesh and bearing our weaknesses and sins as an expression of God's infinite mercy to us,” pointed out that “Christ's poverty is the greatest treasure of all. Jesus' wealth is that of His boundless confidence in God the Father, His constant trust, His desire always and only to do the father's will and give glory to Him,” reiterating that “Jesus is rich in the same way as a child who feels loved and who loves its parents without doubting their love and tenderness for an instant” and adding that “Jesus' wealth lies in being the Son, His unique relationship with the Father is the sovereign prerogative of this Messiah who is poor”.
Speaking further on Christ humility, the Pontiff averred that “in every time and place, God continues to save mankind and the world through the poverty of Christ, who makes Himself poor in the Sacraments in His word and in His Church, which is a people of the poor”, pointing out that “God's wealth passed not through our wealth, but invariably and exclusively through our personal and communal poverty enlivened by the Spirit of Christ”.
Affirming the call for Christians to confront the poverty of others by making practical steps to alleviate it, the Shepherd of Souls explained that “….the Church offers her help, her diakonia, in meeting these needs and binding these wounds which disfigure the face of humanity, in the poor and out cast, we see Christ's face, by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ”. He also hinted that “our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution”, adding that “when power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth, as our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equity simplicity and sharing”.
More, the Pope who harped on the need for all to endeavour to share the treasure entrusted to them, noted that “consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness is essential, stressed that “it means following and imitating Jesus, who sought out the poor and sinners as a Shepherd lovingly seeks His sheep”, adding that “in union with Jesus, we can courageously open up new paths of evangelization and human promotion”.
Stressing on the importance of Lent, the Bishop of Rome pointed out that “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial, we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty”, while tasking all not to “forget that real poverty hurts, no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance” and added that “I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt”.
BISHOP DUNIA ORDAINS NINE PRIESTS, THREE DEACONS
The Catholic Diocese of Auchi was recently agog, as the Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr) Gabriel G. Dunia, ordained nine Deacons as Priests and three Major Seminarians as Deacons at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi. The nine Priests were Rev. Frs. Amune Jude, Bashir Emmanuel, Egwakide Christian, Ekweli Philip, Etsenamhe Timothy, Ezeobele Anthony, Ogbonna Henry, Opara Peter and Ugo Gerald, while the three Deacons were Revs. Bondoi Bruno, Isedu Sylvester and Ogane Augustine.
Delivering the homily at the Eucharistic celebration which coincided with the eleventh anniversary of the Diocese and the Feast day of the Chair of St. Peter, the Shepherd of the Diocese noted that Jesus has tasked all to be His friend and remain united with him at all time, stressing that been a friend of Christ requires obeying his command, He added that all can actually be friends of Christ if they decide to continue to obey His will and be anointed by Christ with the oil of gladness.
Continuing, the local ordinary who assured all present that Jesus will never abandon His flock, hinted that he has promised not to leave them orphans, hence He is coming to be with them and re-unite himself within them. He advised that as they must be prepared at all time, stressing that Jesus is the vine and all His followers are His branches.
Further, the Bishop reiterated that it is a privilege for them to be called and chosen, prepared and commissioned people by God through the authority of the Church, pointing out that all faithful by virtue of their baptism are privileged to be called and to be part of the project of God, noting that there is the need for all faithful to senitize themselves from anything that will constitute danger and hinder them from receiving the love of Christ.
The homilist who affirmed that the Mother of Jesus is the Mother of God, admonished them that no one should separate his/herself and been manipulated by the enemy of souls to perpetuate evil, stressing that they must allow love to continue to reign among them, as it will bring them closer to God who is the highest authority in heaven and earth.
The Prelate who tasked the newly ordained to remain with Christ as they are instruments in the hand of God, enjoined them to always see things in positive way so that they will not fall away from the source which is God, noting that a man can actually be true friend to one another without any negative thought, adding that friends are established so that when a friend is going astray they can correct each other, as a brother can be friend to his family members and relatives.
More, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese who affirmed that no father will be willing to lose any of his children, stressed that as Bishop of the Diocese, he will continue to direct and correct his Priests and flocks entrusted to him, asserting that the relationship between the Bishop, Priests and the baptized is always cordial, as they share from divine title of Christ and enjoined every baptized faithful to always stand for God, as the splendor of God can always conquer all evil.
Appreciating the Bishop for ordaining the Priests and Deacons, Rev. Fr. Godswill Oghiator commended the Priests, Religious and guests present for attending the event, stressing that the epoch making event will continue to remain in the annals of the Diocese and lauded the Bishop on his physical and spiritual growth in the Diocese, while praying God to continue to bless him.
Fr. Oghiator equally congratulated the newly ordained Priests and Deacons for the success recorded in the event, appreciated their parents for giving their children to the service of the Lord and tasked them to always give their best and be prayerful, as they continue their ministries.
Highpoint of the celebration was a thanksgiving procession to the altar by the newly ordained Priests and Deacons accompanied by Priests, Religious, families, friends, guest and well wishers.
REV. FR. LEONARD IRABOR IS LAID TO REST
The remains of Rev. Fr. Leonard Inegbenose Irabor, the Chancellor Catholic Diocese of Uromi who passed on to eternal glory on the 19th of January, 2014 has been committed to mother earth at Brother Centre, Ekpoma.
Delivering the homily at the funeral Mass held at St. Gregory the Great Parish, Ekpoma, concelebrated with the Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Augustine Akubeze, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, Bishop of Auchi, Most Rev. (Dr.) Michael Elue; Bishop of Isele-Uku and other Priests, Rev. Fr. Amansowaman who was a classmate of Fr. Irabor, described the deceased as a jovial, humble, generous and sport loving individual who has contributed to the growth of others positively.
Continuing, Fr. Amansowaman who commiserated with the Diocese of Uromi, Priests, Religious and lay faithful of the Diocese, noted that the deceased would be solely missed by all.
Stressing that his enduring legacy of love, humility and gentleness would be missed by all and hinted that death was an inevitable end which no one can avoid, hence they should all prepare for it, adding that all would die one day only with difference in time and place and prayed God to receive his soul in His bosom.
Earlier in a homily at the Vigil Mass at St. Anthony Cathedral, Uromi, the Administrator of Uromi Diocese, Very Rev Fr. John Akhidue who described Rev. Fr. Leonard Irabor as a friend, humble and gentle Priest, stressed that he was a committed Priest who served in the Lord's vineyard with love and humility.
Fr. Akhidue hinted that though he will be dearly missed by faithful of the Diocese and beyond, enjoined all to continue to pray for the repose of his soul, adding that they will be consoled with the exemplary qualities he has set and prayed his soul to rest in peace till the resurrection morning.
The final commendation was done by the Bishop of Auchi, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia who was also a classmate of the deceased, while the event also featured songs rendition in honour of Fr. Leonard Irabor by his classmates among other activities.