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The Pascal Event; A call for Mercy
“Exult let them Exult the host of heaven; Exult all you angel ministers of God exult… sound aloud our mighty King’s Triumph”.
The opening verses of the Easter Proclamation recalls our minds to the nostalgic feeling that permeates the Season of Easter; once more, we rejoice in the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death for our sake; for the sake of his merciful love. This draws our mind to a very important celebration during the octave of Easter, the Feast of Divine Mercy.
The Divine Mercy Sunday is the first Sunday after Easter Sunday and it is no mere Coincidence that this Solemn Feast is celebrated close to the Easter event. Indeed, the celebration of Easter is a celebration of Mercy. Easter is all about the mercy of God who in the fullness of time, sent His only begotten to redeem the world from sin; it is out of mercy and love for His creation that God chose redemption rather than punishment even though humanity deserved death by virtue of their sinful nature.
Evidently, the Year of Mercy recently ended but we were told that the fruits of that year should continue to blossom in our lives as Catholics. Hence, the celebration of Easter is a clarion call to all Christians across the globe; it is an appeal to embrace the works of mercy so that we will continue to spread the message that mercy is the hinge of our salvation. We should continue to show mercy to our neighbours because we ourselves are beneficiaries of God’s mercy.
Our Lenten practice of charity must not elude us now the Lenten Season has come to an end, because it is a call to keep spreading the message of love to all around us. Everything in existence depends on love and it is by our ability to love that we can be adjudged as worthy to dwell eternally with God.
As we commemorate the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Canonical Erection of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi and the Episcopal Ordination of His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel. G. Dunia, we commend all Christ’s faithful of the Diocese to the Maternal care of the Immaculate Conception. May God continue to strengthen our effort as a Community built up in the Body of Christ. Amen
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Need for Reflection on God’s great doing (Being Homily delivered At the Deanery Three Cathedraticum celebration in Jattu)
The Almighty God created everything in the world for the comfort of Mankind and to show magnanimous respect for the great things he has created, we must endeavour that we reflect daily on the great doings of the works of Christ. This reflection simply means the act of showing gratitude to God for all he has done for us.
When we reflect on the goodness of God, it is to ensure that we recognize him in all ramifications of our lives by the sincere celebration of the goodness of God in thanksgiving. Partaking and appreciating God in thanksgiving is what we owe God and it is what we can give to him as our expression of gratitude for what he has done in our lives. Because of the experience of the wonders and goodness of God during the Transfiguration Peter, James and John were so impressed and overwhelmed that they saw nothing greater than to follow the mandate of God.
As a matter of fact, this reminds us as Christians to be steadfast in growing in our love for God in all that we do by giving thanks and glory to his name no matter the condition. The disciples of Jesus saw His greatness in His various activities that is why they depended whole-heartedly on him in their endeavours because any one who depends on Jesus, whether spiritually or physically, will not lack in any way; that is why as Christians, we need to be close to Christ in all our activities, depending on him without reservation. The blessing of God does not have limits in our lives. Therefore, when we offer our hearts and minds to him in our daily activities, he is faithful in all his promises. God never accepts anyone who still displays faithfulness and doubt.
As Christians, let us ensure we have hope and assurance in the God we serve in all moments. Anyone who must serve God must serve and honour him in truth and in spirit and serving him in truth justifies that we must reflect daily on his great doings for bringing us into being. This is because without being created as humans, the Lord still remains who He is as God of the universe. The only thing we can do to show to him that we accept and appreciate him is by imbibing the spirit of thanksgiving and constant praises to him in all our activities as Christians.
We need to also remember that giving thanks always for the great deeds of God is an avenue to make him devote His attention to all our activities in life. Doing this needs our total readiness for salvation, believe in his words, contribute to the life of the less privileged in Charity (alms giving), Fasting and Prayer even after this Season of Lent.
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THE ROLE OF BISHOPS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
» By Prof. Michael Ogunu
An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Biblical and General Catholic Information published by The Catholic Press, 1973 defines a bishop as “an ecclesiastic who has received, through consecration by another bishop, the fullness of the priesthood. A successor of the apostles, he has, over and above the powers of a priest, the power to confer the sacraments of confirmation and Holy Orders”.

The word itself originally means an overseer or guardian, and in this meaning, it is used in 1 Pet. 2:25. Bishops were constituted in the early Church and ordained by the sacramental rite of the laying on of hands by the apostles. The office of bishops is of divine institution, and they were empowered to ordain other bishops and priests (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim.1:3, 3:1-7, 1:11-14, 5:1ff; Tim. 1:5-14). That bishops in the early Church, just as at the present day, were appointed to preside over the various local divisions of the Church and endowed with real ruling power is clear from several New Testament verses (1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).

Under the law now in force in the Church, the appointment of Bishops belong exclusively to the Holy See, and a Bishop-elect must be consecrated by a Catholic Bishop assisted by two other Catholic Bishops.

What is a Bishop?

The Bishop is something more than an austere dignitary who comes around once a year to give the Sacrament of Confirmation; and who “lays on hands” to ordain new priests. As Archbishop Urtasun points out, “The true nature of a Bishop is to be a teacher of the faithful, governor of his diocese, but above all, a priest according to the order of Melchisedech”.

The Bishop, like Christ, must be a teacher. He has spent years studying philosophy, theology and Canon Law; and often has an advanced degree in one of these fields. His first duty is to maintain and spread the Gospel of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection throughout his diocese. By virtue of the consecration, he has the ‘grace of state’ to aid him.

As administrator, the Bishop applies the Code of Canon Law, under the supreme authority of the Pope, thereby bringing about common action with all the dioceses of the world. He corrects error within the Church and attacks enemies without; he promotes Catholic education and action.

The Bishop is the high priest who has received the fullness of the priesthood; and with it the power to ordain priests, and, with pontifical permission, to consecrate other Bishops. As successor to the Apostles, he has the responsibility of edifying, building up, and strengthening the material and spiritual structures of the Church. Above all, the Bishop must serve. As St. Francis of Sales once said: ‘We Bishops, you see, must never refuse ourselves to anyone if we would do our duty’.

For example, the crozier the Bishop carries at religious ceremonies signifies a “rod of authority”. But it is also curved at the top like a shepherd’s crook. This is to symbolize that his chief mission is to shepherd and guide his flock along the paths of truth and salvation. He must defend his flock against error, speaking out when necessary against those evils, which threaten the ruin of souls. He must be a father to his priests, (as well as to the brothers and sisters in religious life), who may have many problems of their own. Both the Bishops and priests must serve as spiritual fathers to the laity.

Just as the Pope is the Supreme Authority, speaking from Rome, for the entire Church, so also, the Bishop, appointed by the Holy Father, is the supreme authority representing Christ in the diocese, which he serves. Individually, his authority is limited to his diocese. When the Bishop speaks, he does so for his diocese alone, except when he joins in union with other Bishops for a region or country.

All priests, brothers and sisters, who preach or teach in a diocese, do so by the authority of the Bishop. He is the sole authority. Their authority or mandate is delegated to them by the Bishop. They share in his authority by operating in union with him; while he, in turn, must operate in union with the Supreme Authority in Rome. The Bishop is above all, a missionary, commissioned by Christ to go forth and teach all nations.

It should be remembered that the non-Catholics in a Bishop’s diocese are also a part of his flock. He is responsible for trying to spread the Gospel to them, and for whatever public spiritual contacts are made with them. In light of the last Ecumenical Council’s call for Christian unity, there have been many such contacts and dialogues with non-Catholics since the Council.

From all the foregoing information, it can readily be seen that the office of the Bishop is a complex, and at times, a most difficult one. He has a grave responsibility before God. He needs our help and cooperation, our confidence and love; not disobedience and unjust criticism.

As we pray for the Holy Father, we should also pray daily for our Bishops that God will give them strength and wisdom, to carry out their task of shepherding their flocks home safely to Heaven, and eternal happiness, with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
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How can we curb the level of insecurity in Nigeria?
» By Mr. Andrew Enekhena, Mr. Oyarebu Philip, Rev. Fr. Philip-Neri Ebakhaye, Florence Audu
The insecurity in the country has affected everyone in one way or the other. Military men and women, the Police Force, Vigilante and other Security Agencies are really trying their best, but there is still the need to do more in order to provide a solution to the high level of insecurity in our country.
However, everyone, both young and old need to work very hard to ensure that the high level of insecurity in the country is drastically reduced to a minimal level. The Federal Government should ensure that all other security agencies work with the military agencies so that things can work well in the country.
As the activities of insecurity is everywhere in our country, there is no need for one to blame anybody and instead of blaming we should work very hard if possible twenty-four hours to provide effective Security in the country.
Speaking on the level of security operations in the country, the security in Edo State is better compared to other States in the country because we do not experience so much like fight by the inhabitants of the State. Further, the security agencies should strive harder hard to ensure that the insecurity in the country is curbed.

We can really curb the high level of insecurity in Nigeria by the use of Community Vigilante, Policemen and Military personnel so that anybody can be bold enough to work outside without fear. This is so because as it is now, the level of insecurity in our country has caused the death of many Nigerians. Looking at the high level of insecurity ravaging this country the Federal Government needs to make effort to increase the salaries of the security personnel. When these security men are properly taken care of, the motivation will be there to do more to save the lives of the citizens.
We should try to be security conscious by ensuring we report any suspected movement of criminal elements in our areas as the case may be. The youths should also try to encourage the security personnel so that together, we can make the country to become more secure.

Corruption should be reduced first among our leaders because when we handle the issue of corruption, other delicate matters are solved. It has been discovered that the public finds it difficult to know what is actually happening around the Government circle and for things to go smooth, the leaders of the country have to be sincere with their followers. In a situation where the head of a particular circle wants to hide the truth from his or her followers, it creates a problem and this same problem can degenerate into insecurity. Also, the delay of signing a budget into law can as well pose a problem of insecurity in the country. As a Government, they should be friendly to the citizens by way of reporting any situation that could trigger violence in our country. Even in the Church, everyone should be security conscious and cooperate with the security operatives to ensure the lives lost every day are reduced to minimal.
It is not enough to focus on the Government alone based on the issue of insecurity and protection of lives, we must ensure ensure that security agencies are everywhere which could be employed by individuals or organizations in order to save the lives of citizens.

Curbing insecurity in a country cannot be accomplished by one person, rather, it is by working together in peace, resolving issues together with the same agenda to tackle the factors that could spring up insecurity in a country. The issue of insecurity can also be handled with the knowledge of criminal activities that can lead to violence. This is usually done in order to check mate the activities of suspects around us. We can also curb insecurity by been good to people around and reporting violent situation.
Looking at the issue of insecurity, we must not wait for the Government to take decision as to how the situation of the country can be fixed for the protection of lives, but it is to ensure, either as individuals or as groups that the security agencies are always at their duty posts in order to save the lives and properties of the citizens.
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THE HARMONY AND COMMUNION OF CREATION
» By Sister Julie Ambrose S.N.D.
“Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely personal meaning; we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. Anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink, or played outdoors in the neighbourhood square; going back to these places is a chance to recover something of their true selves.”L.S.84
St Pope John Paul tells us that in creating the world God has written a precious book whose words “are the multitude of created things present in the universe” , From distant views of the hill to the smallest insect,” nature is a constant source of wonder and awe “ In contemplating creation we are able to discover a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us. This divine manifestation is to be seen alongside the revelation of Sacred Scripture. Thinking about this manifestation we learn to see ourselves in relation to all other creatures. cf.L.S. 85
“When we see God reflected in all that exists, our hearts are moved to praise the Lord for all his creatures and to worship him in union with them. This sentiment finds magnificent expressinn in the hymn of St Francis of Assisi: Praised be to you my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun…Sister Moon…Brother Wind…Sister Water…Brother Fire” L.S. 87
In nature God is not only manifest but is actually present in a special way cf. L.S. 88
“The created things of this world are not free of ownership:”For they are yours, O Lord who love the living”(Wis 11:26). This is the basis of our conviction that , as part of the universe, called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect. Here I would reiterate that God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement.” L.S.89
However, all living beings are not on the same level, Human beings have a unique value which entails a tremendous responsibility. Though the earth is the Lord’s we have a duty to protect its fragility even as we till the soil. All human beings have an equal dignity which must be defended even while protecting other species. The enormous inequalities which lead to some people living in degrading poverty, while others have so many possessions that they live a life of wastefulness, should lead to our indignation.Cf L.S.90.
The sense of deep communion with the rest of nature necessarily leads to our showing compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. We should be aware of the evils of human trafficking and show concern for those in need. Without this concern, the very means of our struggle for the sake of the environment is compromised. Everything is connected.cf L.S. 91
“Peace, justice and the preservation of creation are three absolutely interconnected themes……Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.” L.S. 92
There is much in this section of The Pope’s Encyclical “Laudato Si” for us to meditate upon and to consider how our attitudes may change.
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THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF AUCHI AT 15: THE ACHIEVEMENTS AND THE CHALLENGES
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
The creation of the Diocese of Auchi is an indication that the Catholic faith that found its way into Nigeria in the 18th Century, is indeed, like the mustard seed growing to become a big tree.
Just as St. Paul and St. Peter carried the Gospel message to the Roman Empire, so also the Capuchin and Augustinian missionaries from Portugal, Spain and Italy brought the Good News to Nigeria between the 15th and 18th centuries. The Portuguese Missionaries first had contact with the Binis. The second wave of Catholic Missionaries was in the 19th century. The Society of African Mission (SMA) Fathers arrived Lagos, Nigeria, from Dahomey (the Republic of Benin) in 1866. They were led by Francesco Borghero. In 1883, they created the Vicariate of the Bight of Benin which was placed under the care of Fr. J.B Chausse, while the Vicariate Apostolic of the Upper Niger was created in 1884, with the center first in Lokoja, and later moved to Asaba under Fr. Carlo Zappa.
From Lokoja, the Missionaries visited Agenebode and its environs. In 1897 they established a Parish in Agenebode with Fr. Peter Piotin as its first Parish Priest. From Agenebode they established other stations in the territory.

What is now known as the Diocese of Auchi was formerly known as the Afemai Deanery in the then Benin City Archdiocese. This Deanery embraced the whole of Edo North or Afemai region with the exception of Sobe that was part of Ondo Diocese until the creation of Auchi Diocese. The Deanery was raised to the status of a Diocese on the 4th of December, 2002, with Bishop Gabriel Ghieakhomo Dunia as its first Bishop.
The creation of the Diocese is to enhance the spread of the Gospel message and the salvation of the people of God within the jurisdiction. Indeed, like yesterday come and gone, the Catholic Diocese of Auchi is already 15 years old. This celebration is both a moment of joy and at the same time an opportunity to evaluate the achievements thus far and to chart a way forward in the task of evangelization.

The Missionaries who brought the Catholic Faith to Nigeria did not find the task of evangelization easy in any way. Most especially that as at the time of their arrival, there was not a single Catholic within the terrain. The Christian religion was totally an alien religion to Africans in general and to Nigerians in particular, including the Afemai People.
The task of evangelizing the Afemai people was not in any way an easy venture. Coupled with the fact that Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular was foreign to the Afemai people, some other barriers that made evangelization difficult in the Afemai region were the poor road net-work system, illiteracy, language barrier, multi-culture nature of the Afemai region, and the presence of the Islamic region. In addition, the fact that the harvest was rich but the labourers were few was another challenge. For instance, one can imagine that as at the time Agenebode Parish was created in 1897, the whole of Afemai Deanery was a single parish served by not more than two priests.
When the Apostles Paul and Peter evangelized the Roman Empire, it was quite easy because of the good road network in the Roman Empire, the cultural nature of the Empire which was the Graeco-Roman culture, and the adoption of a common language which was Graeco-Latin language. Besides, the conversion of Emperor Constantine brought about the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which made Christianity "religio licita" (a licit religion). With the Edict of Thessalonica passed in 380 AD by Emperor Theodosius 1, Christianity became a religion of the Roman Empire, such that nobody was permitted to practice any other religion except the Christian religion.

No doubt, the efforts of the Missionaries in Afemai land, sowing the seed of Christian Faith in the soil, has yielded bountiful fruit. As at the time the Catholic Diocese of Auchi was created, with Most Rev. Gabriel Ghieakhomo Dunia as the first Bishop, there were less than Fifteen Parishes and less than Thirty Priests in the Diocese. Today, the available statistics shows that the whole of Afemai region or Deanery now Catholic Diocese of Auchi, has Thirty Parishes,Twenty One Mass Centres, Three Chaplaincies, and Two Mission Stations. Besides, the Diocese has One hundred Priests incardinated into it. Out of this number, Seventy Two were ordained after the creation of the Diocese. Eighty Seven indigenes of the Diocese are Priests in other Dioceses and Congregations, while One Hundred and Three women and young girls who are indigenes of the Diocese have equally embraced the Religious and Consecrated life in different parts of Nigeria. Also, many traditional worshippers, Muslims and Protestants have embraced the Catholic faith, some have even embraced the Catholic Priesthood and Religious life, while some have embraced the Catechetical life, serving as Catechists. Four have embraced the Religious brotherhood also. The number of the Lay-Faithful has tremendously increased. Besides, the sacrifice of the Holy Mass is being offered on daily basis in all the corners of the Diocese, the Sacraments are celebrated often; and there is no much difficulty in having the Sacrament of Confession celebrated for the people. So the people in the land of Afemai are being blessed and sanctified daily, and the land is being cleansed, darkness is being driven away as many people are being turned into the light of God in the world. More so, many Churches have been built and some dedicated for worship. What a bountiful harvest! It is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful to behold and hear. This has not been an easy task at all. It has been possible through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is the Principal Evangelizer.

THE CHALLENGES BEFORE US
As Christ's Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi celebrate the Fifteenth Year of the existence of the Diocese of Auchi, there lies a great task ahead. The celebration of the Fifteenth anniversary should be a moment of sober reflection for us all. According to Socrates, the Ancient Greek Philosopher, "An unexamined life, is not worth living."

The task at hand for all in the Diocese, the Bishop, Priests, Religious and Lay-Faithful, is to continue to preach the true Gospel and teach the Faith, so that those who have embraced the Gospel may be deepened in the faith, and many more may come to believe in God and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, through the Holy Spirit; so that all may be saved. The will of God is that all may come to the knowledge of the Gospel and be saved (1 Tim 2:3-4). God willed eternal life for all. This is eternal life, to know the One True God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (Jn. 17:3).
Notwithstanding the success that has been recorded, some of the greatest challenges before us are syncretism, superstition and drift to Protestantism. Many of the Catholic faithful are not convinced of the faith that they have received. They are deeply stuck in syncretism and superstition, and are still held in the bondage of fear. Many still believe that the power of their ancestor will harm them if they fail to perform certain rites. Belief in the power of witchcraft, reincarnation, ancestral curses, and the quest for supernatural powers are still very much prevalent.

Syncretism and superstition are signs of lack of faith in the living God. They are sins against the First commandment which says, "I, the LORD, am your GOD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for thyselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or earth below or in the waters beneath the earth. You shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealousy God. "(Ex 20:2-5; Levi 19:4).
Syncretism is the amalgamation of false belief with Christian Faith or the practice of false worship with Christian worship; while superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can affect the worship we offer the true God. Example is when one attributes in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2111).
Most of these practices are carried out by the faithful during burial and funeral rites. A clear example of syncretism is the pattern of prayer of some Catholics, who still invoke curses on their enemies as they pray. We are to pray for the conversion of our enemies. Jesus prayed for those who persecuted him (Lk 23:34), Stephen also prayed for his persecutors (Acts 7:60). This prayer was heard and eventually, Saul was converted and became, the Great Apostle to the Gentiles.

There are some Catholics who embark on divination and magic, reliance on charms; while some seek to know the future. This is the drive that makes them turn to Protestant pastors for prophecies and interpretation of dreams which is a modern way of practicing divination, which is not in anyway different from approaching a soothsayer.
Divination include the interpretation of omens and lots. Some of the youths belong to secret cult and they indulge in occultism. This is a violation of the first commandment of God; an expression of atheism. This is what God warned the Israelites against, saying; "Do not go to mediums or fortune-tellers, for you will be defied by them" (Lev 19:31). Those who chose other gods increase their sorrows (Ps 16:4).

The drift from the Catholic faith is another serious challenge. The atmospheric condition within the Diocese is highly saturated with Protestantism. Many of those who were once baptized in the Catholic faith have fallen from the Catholic faith and have embraced Protestantism. Some have even embraced the Islamic religion. Many of the youths and women have fallen in love with Protestant way of worship. Some in the guise of mixed marriage have been lured from the Catholic faith, some the quest for solution to their problems have made them forsake the Catholic faith, while some the quest for material prosperity have made them to welcome the Gospel of prosperity and psychological embalmment. Some of the parishes have deviated from Catholic spirituality and worship, such that the Parishioners are seriously dosed with Protestant spirituality. All these problems are the effect of improper Catechesis.

The Missionaries began the work of Evangelization in the Diocese, ours it is to continue it and embark on serious Catechesis and inculturation of the faith in order to combat syncretism, superstition and Protestantism.
Catechesis is that particular form of the ministry of the word which matures initial conversion to make it into a living, explicit and fruitful confession of faith: "Catechesis has its origin in the confession of faith and leads to confession of faith (GeneralDirectory for Catechesis, n. 82). It is a lifelong process of initial conversion, formation, education in faith and on-going conversion. The goal is to lead the people to ever-deepened relationship with God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Inculturation on the other hand, is the incarnation of the Gospel or the Catholic faith in the traditional culture. As Christ himself chose to take human nature in order to transform it, so too, the Catholic Faith must elevate traditional culture by absorbing what is relevant in it and purifying what needs to be purified. The task of Catechesis and evangelization is to bring the Gospel into the very heart of culture and cultures. For this reason, Catechesis will seek to know these cultures and their essential components; it will learn their most significant expression and respect their particular values and riches (Catechesis Tradendae, n.53).

There is a divorce of faith from life among the people. Faith and life are inseparable. It is by our life that people will know that we are God's children. Our faith is not in anyway separated from our business. Because we have separated our faith from our dealings, the adverse effect is that there is geometric proportion between Church and crime rate; the more Churches we have the more the crime. More so, there is the violation of the third commandment, which states that the Sabbath day and other days of obligation must be kept holy. To observe the Sabbath rest on Sunday and other days of obligation is an expression of trust in God who can provide for his beloved even when they are asleep (Ps 127:2). Not to observe the Sabbath is a sign of lack of faith. Many of the faithful cannot do without going to farm and market on Sundays and other days of obligation. It will take the Catechetical effort and the grace of the Holy Spirit to convert them in this regard.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for a Catechetical summit in the Diocese. Many of the faithful do not possess in-depth knowledge of the faith, and as such they are not convinced of the faith. How the can we embrace martyrdom when there is no conviction? We may not be able to defend the faith that has be handed on to us if persecution should arise on account of the faith? The faith that we have embraced entails renunciation and profession. That is, renunciation of the devil and all his deeds, and upholding of the content of our Faith. The content of the Catholic faith are the Blessed Trinity and all that God has revealed through the Church. The clergy, Religious and the Lay-faithful must therefore develop kiln interest in Evangelization and Catechesis. We should prepare to give an account of the faith that has been handed on to us (1 Pet 3:15). This is the task before us all.
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Bishop Dunia Pays Cathedraticum visit to Deanery One
… Deanery Two AS Well

Cecil Olorunda/ Catherine Izuagie

St. John the Apostle Parish, Igarra was agog as the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel. G. Dunia paid a one day Cathedraticum visit to Deanery One.
Delivering the homily at the Mass, the Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Most Rev. Dr. G. G. Dunia who titled his homily “Let our Christianity reflect who we are”, said the people should let everybody around them recognize them as Christians. He told them that they should not be afraid to say they are Christians anytime and anywhere. But that they should be proud of being Christians with all humility rather than being boastful, as all the other forms of religious beauty becomes nothing when they meet with the beauty of Christianity.
Further, the Bishop urged them not to be double-faced Christians and avoid the worship of fetish gods as all the material things they worship are supposed to worship them instead because they are the image of God the Supreme Creator.
Continuing, he noted that true Christians are to be solidly planted and deeply rooted in Christianity by not allowing any festival take the first place in their lives, hence, in this period of Lent, they should be deeply rooted in Christ as it is not enough to pray and fast alone.
The Bishop charged the faithful to search their spirits and see who they are to give priority to. He remarked that rather than attaching so much importance to worldly things or Chieftaincy titles, they must strive for the things that last.
Giving his closing remarks, the Bishop thanked the parishioners for coming together to welcome him and present their gift items. He urged them to continue to support the church so that the Church can reach out to the less privileged. He used the opportunity to award scholarships to some deserving students and pupils from Imoga, Dagbala, Ojah and Igarra that are already enjoying the Scholarships from the Diocese.
While thanking the Ojah Catholic Community for their peaceful protest against the Fulani Herdsmen and for saving the life of the victim whose hand was mutilated, the Chief Shepherd promised that the Diocese will assist in case he needs an artificial hand.
Similarly the joy of the Catholic Community of St. Mary Parish, Iviukwe knew no bounds as the faithful of Deanery Two comprising of parishes and mass centres organized their Cathedraticum to thank God for all He has done in their lives.
Delivering the homily at the Mass, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel .G. Dunia who welcomed all to the Parish, noted that it is fitting to give praise to God as it is God’s mercy that has brought them thus far and a humble heart He will surely take care of because any heart that seeks God is free from all forms of sin and traps of the devil, hence, such a person is filled with the Spirit of God. He urged all to seek God always in their Christian lives.
The Prelate explained that David was a man of God who was truly sorry for his sins after Prophet Nathan scolded him about the grievous sin he committed against God. He added that David humbled himself, tore his garment and broke down in tears after being reprimanded of his sin God granted him mercy, pointing out that a humble heart is the one that is acceptable before God, hence, that is why the Bible puts it that whosoever exalts himself shall be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
Speaking further, the Cleric explained that Saul went to the battle field to fight the Amorites and instead of destroying the people and the properties as commanded by God, he brought to his house the good things of the land including their King. The Priest emphasized that the period of Lent is a moment that everyone needs to practice humility as obedience is better than Sacrifice. He charged all to felicitate with one another and make a new acquaintance before going back to their homes and they should be grateful to God so that he will accept their thanksgiving and offering. He told the faithful not to allow themselves to be used by the devil and urged them to continue to rejoice in the mercy of God as their gifts have been accepted by God.
Thereafter, all the Parishes and Mass Centers in the Deanery processed in thanksgiving.
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