AN UNDERSTANDING HEART
Looking around Africa today, we see a great decay of morals in virtually every aspect of our lives. This certainly, one can deduce from the lack of basic amenities and good governance that bedevils the continent of Africa, all because of greed and pride.
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In Syria, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, name them. It is evident that we have murdered peace, and its repercussion is what we see today.
Even our leaders, those elected and those who bought their way through coups now see government as their birth right, forgetting the moral responsibility of promoting justice and alleviating the poor standard of living of her many citizens.
This certainly is the absence of an understanding heart an understanding heart in the sense that one's conscience is capable of listening, sensitive to the voice of truth and thus able to distinguish good from evil which today is the result of anarchy and destruction of lives and properties around Africa and within leaders in Africa.
Those called to play roles in the government naturally have a further responsibility and thus must have the capacity to listen to the voice of the truth from God and the people, and humbly follow its guidance.
In particular, everyone has a part to play in the building of a nation, because each of us has a conscience which makes us, in a certain sense 'leaders' in other words, which enables us to exercise the supreme human dignity of action according to right conscience, doing good and avoiding evil; for the real quality of our lives, and of social life in general, depends on the sound conscience of each individual, on the capacity of each person to recognise what is good, distinguish it from evil and patiently seek to put it into practise.
May God help us.
Deus Mundum Sic Dilexit (God so loved the world)
Sic enim dilexit Deus Mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret, ut omnis, Qui credit in eum, non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam - For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that all who believe in him, may not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
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1 When God so loves. At the beginning even when God so loves in almost all worthy human experiences, misfeelings are often intensely numerous and high. A great deal is often tranquilly in place as a great deal is tumultuously in disarray. Certainly, anxieties becloud the most admirable but propable visions. Weakness invades the known sturdy and indomitable strength of purpose and will. Such phenomena which are often made manifest at the beginning of almost all worthy human experiences made the mother of the Redeemer highly perplexed when the love of God was in its fullest with her (Luke 1:29). Hence, the Angel consoled her: "Ne timeas, Maria; invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum" - "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have come to favour with God" (Luke 1 :30). It is never smooth and clear in most worthy beginnings. The dilemma had been faced by Paul as well as by many others. Hence, Paul exclaimed: "Infelix ego homo! Duis me liberabit de corpore mortis huius?" - "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24).
2 The love that builds. Love destroys in order to build and never build in order to destroy. This is the truth Jesus tried to teach the Jews when they asked him to show them a sign for doing what he did (c.f John 2:18). When the Lord Jesus came into the world to live, work, suffer and die for us, he did so in order to destroy in our nature and build into us new and perfect nature which man had hither to incapable of building for himself. He, Christ made himself "who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ's action was, and is never meant to destroy either himself or others, as it were. Rather, his action was, and is meant to destroy in us whatever is evil, destructive and therefore creates obstacle to the goodness of God in all his plans.
3 Clean the house of God. Christ who is God made man is love made man in order to purify man from all defilements (c.f Matthew 15:18-20). Hence, John the Baptist acknowledged and made it known to the people that Christ would "baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11) and that "His winnowing Fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire " (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17).
It is a common practice for a woman and anybody who wishes to cook some grains such as rice, wheat or any other cereal grass to first of all winnow the grains in order to separate the seed from the chaff. Such exercise is neither meant to waste all the grains nor to reduce the quantity and quality. Rather, the exercise is meant to arrive at the real quantity and quality. This is a fact which St. Paul confirmed when he stated: "Ever since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities -his eternal power and divine naturehave been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made" (Matthew 1:20). To maintain the sacredness of God and the house in which his name is called and worshipped Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple --- "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Matthew 21:12 and 13). The Church is a house of prayer; the business of buying and selling, eating and drinking, staging of dances like in social gatherings must be restricted and referred to their appropriate places outside the Church. It is true that the children of God are supposed to feel free in God's, their father's house, yet, they are not supposed to fool free, because freedom without responsibility leads to licentiousness. "Let us walk [behave] properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness --- But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts (Romans 13:13 and 14) right in the sight of God". Those who behave like this are guilty of contempt of divine court of justice.
4. Love and Hate. If love destroys in order to build, hatred builds in order to destroy. While love's destruction is constructive, hatred's construction destructive. Love destroys the ugly, evil obstacles impossibility and sin in order to build the beauty, the sacred, safety, possibility and holiness. Hatred builds evil, obstacle, ugliness, impossibility and abomination in order to ruin everything that is good, wholesome praiseworthy and holy. Such is the difference between Love and Hate. "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences" (Proverbs 10:12). "Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, "whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself and enemy of God" (James 4:4). Man is Imago Dei - the image of God. So, " the more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by the objective standards of moral conduct" (Graudium et Spes no 16)
5 No Need to Recall the Past. The Scripture tells us that God who is a spirit exists for all eternity. For all eternity you (God) are (c.f Psalm 90:2). It is only this Being, God who exists for all eternity who began to create the universe at the beginning of creation. This creation is creatio ex nihilo creation out of nothing (cf. Genesis 1:1; John 1:3). At the beginning of creation by God, the Universe was created. Yet, even the universe was formless and void (cf. Genesis 1:2). In other word, the universe was in a kind of chaotic and very raw condition. The movement to create and form all that the universe contains is a progressive movement from the chaotic and raw past towards perfection. This was the reason for creating light, which scattered the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome (cf. Genesis 1:3; John 1:5). The past therefore serves as manure to grow the present for better produce of the future. Once manure has served its purpose, it is that purpose which now matters, for the manure is no more. Hence, it is written: "No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it?" Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds. "The people I have formed for myself will sing my praises" (Isaiah 43:18-21).
MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING
» By Prof. Michael Ogunu
Contrary to popular belief, money is not everything. Many people believe that all the problems in their life would be solved if they just had more money. Not so. Money is not a solution to our problems. In fact, money can be a hindrance for many of us. It becomes an obstacle when we spend all of our awakened hours thinking about how we can obtain more of it.
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It is important to understand what money is intended for before we try to acquire more of it. We must understand how to use it wisely, before we find ourselves trapped in debt, still trying to get more of it.
There are many people who just “love” money. We all like to have money because without it, we would find it difficult to obtain our basic material needs; but I am talking about lust for money. People who love money seem to absorb it like a sponge that soaks up water. Some hoard it and store it up for a “rainy day” while others spend it as quickly as they can get it. Oftentimes, people who like to spend money acquire many items that make them appear wealthy to others. They buy very expensive clothes, furniture, cars, electronic gadgets and so on but those who see them are not aware of the fact that these purchases in most cases are made on credit or on borrowed money, and the majority of time is spent worrying about how to pay them off. Such people have an insatiable desire for gaining wealth. They will go to extremes just to get more money, in order to buy more things.
The love of money, the longing for money, makes us want more of it. Greed digs its roots into our life which causes other sins such as deception and lying tools some people use in order to obtain more money.
The bible says that “Godliness with contentment is great gain”. We should be happy with the amount that God has blessed us with and first learn how to handle that amount responsibly. Greed will cause us to want what belongs to someone else.
Some people want to buy expensive things in order to impress others who have money and riches. We lust after what they have and what we can't afford. People who lust after money wear extravagant clothes, drive flamboyant cars, wear large diamonds. They drape gold all around their necks and live in a home they cannot afford.
Solomon in the bible had great wealth. He gave big, extravagant parties. He drank out of gold globlets. He loved to put on a big show. Eventually, he grew to love money. His desire for money led him into a lifestyle of lust. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines!
A characteristic of someone who loves money is that he becomes a servant of money. Money becomes our master when it tells us what to do. It tells us when to go to work and for how long. We can't serve two masters. We cannot serve both God and money. We serve money when we work just to satisfy our own desires. This leads to our thinking about money all day long. When we squander our money, we are letting God know that we cannot be trusted.
Many people think that if they just had more money, everything would be okay. Instead, we need to learn how to manage the money that we do have. God will only trust us with what we can handle.
We also serve money when we place our treasures here in earthly possessions. The bible says: “Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Finally, we serve money when we go into debt for furniture, clothes and expensive cars. Many times we make these purchases out of season and we do not give God an opportunity to work on our behalf so that these things can be added unto us.
If you feel these characteristics of a person who loves money fits you, you can change your lifestyle.
In order to free ourselves from lust after money, we need to understand a few basic truths:
First we should look to God as our source of provision and glorify Him in all we do. He will make sure that everything that concerns us is taken care of. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you”.
The way to turn away from loving money is to repent and commit all that you have back to Jesus Christ.
Make a commitment to be content regardless of how much money you have. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1Timothy 6:6).
Realize that regardless of how much money you accumulate, (including the millions in foreign accounts), you cannot take it with you when you die. “For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it” (1 Timothy 6:7).
Never sacrifice your family, friends or health for additional riches. “Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction” (1Timothy 6:9).
If you have a desire for riches or have already accumulated riches, make a commitment to share with others. “In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' ” (Acts 20:35).
What Is The Difference Between Doctrine And Dogma?
» By Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede
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Two recent emails from some two different friends have prompted me to revisit this same question that one of my students in the Minor Seminary asked me sometime last year just after I had taught them the Dogma of the Two Natures in the One Person of Jesus Christ, the Four Dogmas of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Doctrine of invoking the Intercession of the Saints. When I was giving the answer to the students, little did I know that I would be met with this question again in the future from a wider circle of friends. And now that such is the case, it is worthwhile to share it on this column.
While the word, “Doctrine” is of common usage in religious parlance and in various denominational circles, many people see “Dogma” in a negative light as the unreasonable, unthinking adherence to a belief, even in the face of contrary evidence. But when the Catholic Church presents some of her teachings as dogmas, she does not mean that these tenets are irrational or to be thoughtlessly embraced. Dogma is the bedrock of truth, an inexhaustible feast for the mind, not an impediment to thinking. Why? Because dogmas rest on the Word of God, Truth Himself, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and who wants his Word to be known.
The pertinence of clarifying this question of the difference between doctrine and dogma arises from the confusion which still prevails in the minds of many people and evident in their arguments and objections against certain beliefs and practices of the Church. There are many people who not only question the Church's practices, but also continue to advocate for change whereas there are truths which have been divinely revealed and contained in the eternal deposits of faith that can never be subject to change because “they are what they are”. For the fact that the Church does not do anything of her own accord but relies on the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, it is necessary to clarify the difference between doctrine and dogma, and afterwards, explain 'discipline', which completes a three-fold aspect of Catholic beliefs and practices, the 3-Ds (Dogma, Doctrine and Disciple). By such an exposé as this, it is hoped that Catholics can better appreciate their faith and adherence.
Drawing up a most simple definitive distinction, it is important to know that: “Doctrine is what the Church believes, teaches, and confesses on the authority of the Word of God", while “Dogma is a set of truths officially proposed by the Church as being part of or necessarily connected to Revelation in a binding, definitive way. They are infallible and are tied to the deposit of faith.” The term “doctrine” therefore can be used generally to refer to all of the Church's teachings. In addition, we can say that dogma is a subset of doctrine all dogmas are doctrines, but not all doctrines are dogmas. A doctrine is a teaching of the universal Church proposed as necessary for belief by the faithful. Dogmas, properly speaking, are such teachings that are set forth to be believed as divinely revealed (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 88; 891-892). When differentiating from dogma, we use the term “doctrine” to signify teachings that are either definitively proposed or those that are proposed as true, but not in a definitive manner (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 88; 891-892). We shall however proceed to explain further with greater clarity.
1.) Doctrine: The word “doctrine” comes, by way of the Latin doctrina, from the Greek words didaskalia, didachç, doxa, meaning “teaching”, “belief”. Doctrine is the compilation of all the teachings of the Catholic Church. That includes those teachings which are necessary as well as those which are not essential to the complete integrity of the Faith. Also included in this category of revelation is the concept that there are dogmas which have yet to be defined, i.e., not yet clarified officially by the Church.
2.) Dogma: The word “dogma” from the Latin decretum and Greek dogma, has a more specific reference to the distillate of doctrines: those first (basic or axiomatic) principles at the heart of doctrinal reflection. This goes on to mean that a dogma is a truth revealed by God, and as such is proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as necessary for belief. A person remains a Catholic in good standing only if he accepts in its entirety the full revelation of the Faith in its integrity. Dogmas because they are divinely revealed cannot change. Dogmas are essential to the Faith. They cannot change. If any dogma is denied by an individual or group of individuals the truth is not diminished by their denial, however, they remove themselves from the Body of Christ, the Church. The deliberate denial of a dogma of the Faith is called heresy.
Doctrine and Dogma: While both doctrines and dogmas must be believed by all the faithful, “doctrine” is of a more general realm while “dogma” is garbed in specificity. According to a renowned theologian and analyst of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Colin B. Donovan, the doctrines of the Church, therefore, are those teachings which must be believed by the faithful. These include: 1) dogmas, teachings which the Church has solemnly defined as formally revealed by God, and, 2) other teachings definitively proposed by the Church because they are connected to solemnly defined teachings. The first (dogmas) can be called doctrines of divine faith, while the second can be called doctrines of catholic faith. Together they are said to be “of divine and catholic faith.” Both kinds of doctrine require the assent of faith. Both are infallibly taught by the Church. Dogmas require it because they are formally revealed by God. Doctrines definitively proposed by the Church require it, because the infallibility of the Church in matters of faith and morals is itself divinely revealed. A side note, doctrine shares the same root as orthodox, meaning correct belief. Dogmas, therefore, are those doctrines solemnly proposed by the Church as formally revealed in Scripture or Tradition. This may have been done by papal pronouncement (e.g. Pius IX: Immaculate Conception), by a General Council (e.g. Chalcedon: Christ is two natures in one Divine Person), or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (e.g. the teaching that killing an innocent human being is gravely immoral).
It suffices to say that all dogmas are doctrines, but not all doctrines are dogmas. Doctrine is still evolving, and once doctrine becomes dogma, it no longer evolves. Two most recent examples are the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption which were theologically examined and discussed for so many centuries (theological evolution) until they were defined as dogmas in 1854 by Pope Pius IX and in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, respectively. But whether it is Dogma or Doctrine, we must always abide by the Magisterium of the Church.
In 1998, in the Doctrinal Commentary On The Concluding Formula Of The 'Professio Fidei', the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF), then under the leadership of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) discussed the category of “all those doctrines of divine and catholic faith which the Church proposes as divinely and formally revealed...”. Examples given include: the articles of faith of the Creed; the various Christological dogmas and Marian dogmas; the doctrine of the institution of the sacraments by Christ and their efficacy with regard to grace; the doctrine of the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the sacrificial nature of the eucharistic celebration; the foundation of the Church by the will of Christ; the doctrine on the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff; the doctrine on the existence of original sin; the doctrine on the immortality of the spiritual soul and on the immediate recompense after death; the absence of error in the inspired sacred texts; the doctrine on the grave immorality of direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being.
With specific references drawn from the Council of Trent, Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the above document of the SCDF went to declare that, “these doctrines (all the dogmas of the Church) are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and defined with a solemn judgment as divinely revealed truths either by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks 'ex cathedra', or by the College of Bishops gathered in council, or infallibly proposed for belief by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. These doctrines require the assent of theological faith by all members of the faithful. Thus, whoever obstinately places them in doubt or denies them falls under the censure of heresy, as indicated by the respective canons of the Codes of Canon Law.” (cf. Nos. 5).
The foregoing synthesis has its forerunner in an earlier document by the same SCDF back in 1973 then under the leadership of Franjo Cardinal Seper, titled, Mysterium Fidei (Declaration in Defense of the Catholic Doctrine On the Church Against Certain Errors of the Present Day). Therein, the Congregation affirms the infallibility of the Universal Church as well as the infallibility of the Magisterium, and then, proceeded to emphasize the objects of faith. The objects of the Catholic faith which are the dogmas of the Church are “all those things which are to be believed by Divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or transmitted Word of God and which are proposed by the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, and to be believed as having been divinely revealed”.
As I stated earlier, there is another category of practices in the Catholic Church which joins up with dogma and doctrine to make up the three “D”s, and that is “Discipline”. Simply defined, discipline is any rule, regulation, law and direction set down by the authority of the Church for guiding the faithful toward the perfection of the Gospel in their own lives and the life of the Church as a whole. The discipline of the Church is the one area that has most effective power over the faithful. This is the place where we feel it the most because this area is subject to change and is the most visible reflection of our every day faith. Examples of disciplinary customs and regulations would be; abstaining from meat on Friday, the celibacy of the clergy (no marriage for priests), saying the Mass in Latin, English or any of the vernacular languages, the obligation to go to Mass on designated Holy Days, etc. These regulations can change due to circumstances within a particular diocese or throughout the entire Church.
The summary of it all is that it is important for Catholics to understand how Catholic beliefs and practices fall into the three categories of the 3-Ds namely: Dogma Doctrine Discipline, and ultimately, to uphold the totality of the Magisterium of the Church, for “the deposit of faith” (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:14) is made up of the entire revelation of Jesus Christ to the Church in Truth, Doctrine and Morals.
ANOTHER NATIONAL DISGRACE
» By Rev. Fr. Leonard O. Anetekhai
With great sadness and deep regrets, it is appalling to behold the dreadful state of a Blessed Nation as Nigeria. This is a Nation wherein the governed and those in government are in grave confusion over the state of the nation. It is a truism, that as a nation, we do have a lot of accumulated problems, but these are not insurmountable. These problems are complicated and many because we neglected to solve them over the years, thus giving rise to difficulties in finding solution to them. Imagine our said security agencies still battling with the case of kidnapping, which is turning into a way of life for many Nigerians.
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In December 2009, on the eve of Christmas, Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, whether born abroad or in Nigeria tried committing a dreadful terrorist act on the birth day of our Lord Jesus Christ, we all cried, government, groups and individuals that we are no terrorist nation. Yes, we detest his act and commended his family especially his father for the gallant step to inform the necessary authorities both home and abroad about the reprehensible attitude of his son, but our security intelligent officers could not probe into such act to checkmate the act of terrorism.
Last year with the Independence Day bombing, a whole new chapter opened. Unfortunately, it was opened at a time when the country is in the rot. Instead of finding solution we are still trading words with the supposed perpetuators of the act. Will it ever get better? I would have said yes, but not with the kind of President we have in Goodluck. Mr. President, when will all these stop, certainly not after your one tenure of six years. Today we hear of bombing everywhere up north and a group comes and say we are responsible. Even the police, civil defence and other security agents in their neatly starched uniforms will say we are on top of the situation. Where is the report of the police Headquarter attack?
The madness of insecurity is biting hard by the day. Nobody is safe anymore. The bombers have told us that, they can penetrate the 'supposed safe' institutions in Nigeria. So where else can they not enter? The so called Boko Haram who have claimed responsibility according to news report is more than what we think of them. The silence of the National Assembly and indeed majority of our traditional rulers speak volumes of the fact that they; 'Boko Haram' is not alone. Before now it has been a national disgrace, but we have gone international. The suicide bombing of UN building in Abuja recently is indeed an indication of this fact.
The questions many Nigerians are asking, is how come a building ordinarily, unless a vehicle is screened, you cannot pass through the security controlled gates, will suffer such an attack that did not come from the air? Whether it rained or not, where the security personnels sleeping on duty? Again, how porous is UN building as far as security is concerned, that Boko Haram can pass with ease to denote explosives? How can the United Nation building suffer such attack without an insider, whether Black or White? I there to say, if there are White, hope this is not the vision 2020 we are hoping to achieve with their support? …
Yes, enough is enough, but for how long are we going to remain on the drawing board searching for solutions to these problems? It is a pity that Goodluck is as confused as the ordinary man in the street. For me, it is shameful, that the one we call our own had to conclude, that the incident is an attack on the UN. It is an attack on Nigeria and majority of those who are affected directly and indirectly will be Nigerians. We have past the stage of putting on our thinking cap to look for solution, Mr. President your cap has been on, I think it is time to take it off and let fresh ideas come in.
Some Nigerians have made statements in the past and we still have them walking around freely. Personality in the like of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari have made statements that Nigeria cannot move forward or win the United Nations Security Council permanent seat if we still have pockets of Boko Haram or other fundamentalist sect around us. Others like Maradona, Chief Whip of CPC and the many enemies of this regime definitely have a share in the trade stock that is on now. There is every clue to clearly say that, there is collaboration between perpetrators of this gutless act and powerful individuals in Nigeria. Statement like, “I will make your Regime ungovernable”. These are treats and such persons are out to destabilize our society and sow the seed of discord, to undermine our economic efforts and drive investors away. This new act is certainly not the handiwork of a poor citizen group like Boko Haram, this is very much the design of powerful actors hoping to “punish” the government of Goodluck by giving it a bad name because a man from the minority is in charge and not a Northerner, with strong Islamic credential. How sad and disturbing to see things falling apart.
As an individual, I do not believe this is the time to split up Nigeria. The North is not heterogeneously Muslim, neither is the South heterogeneously Christian. Splitting up Nigeria will lead to intra-ethnic war with millions dead and millions displaced. What we need to end this is good governance, one that is free of corruption and nepotism, a move from an economy based on sharing oil revenues to an industrial-based economy. It is rather painful to see poor Nigerians who frequently meet their death while looking for their daily bread.
As Nigerians, we have to seek the intervention of the Host of Heaven in the matters of security. Hopefully, God will be kind enough to release them to us, I am sure God is a Nigerian.
Alcoholism: A Metaphor Of Addiction (1)
» By Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosime
“Even though we had been drinking for several hours, my friend and I left the party at 1:00 a.m. with our own bottle of whiskey. We started walking home drinking as we walked. The next thing I remember was the sun coming up, and I realized that we had been walking the wrong way. In fact, we had been walking along a major highway. It's a miracle that we didn't get hit.”
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The above citation reflects the utterance of one like many others who fall under the sledge-hammer of alcoholic intoxication. It often begins with sedation, and it eats gradually into our fibers. The next thing that often then happens to the drunk is often history, that kind of history one experiences yet is oblivious of, and we are often relayed our own experiences. This view on the one hand gives alcohol a bad picture, probably because of its abuse. There is another picture to alcohol which even Scriptures extols and encourages. In Ecclesiastes 9:7 the Bible says, that wine can make the heart merry or can enhance the taste of a meal. St. Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 5: 23 that “you should give up drinking only water and have a little wine for the sake of your digestion and the frequent bouts of illness that you have”. This picture contradicts the earlier one. The following interrogatives in the face of this seeming conflict become imperative: Is it wrong to drink? Is it really harmful? Or is it wrong only for me but all right for adults?' One point that singles itself out is that it is not alcohol that may be bad but its use. In the light of this claim, I shall examine alcoholism and what I have called the metaphor of addiction.
WHAT IS ALCOHOL AND ALCOHOLISM?
Alcohol, is defined as a member of a group of certain chemical compounds and, in popular usage, the specific compound ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. Alcohols in different forms have played important roles as beverages, disinfectants, solvents, preservatives, fuels, and industrial chemicals. Alcohols are a class of organic compounds containing the hydrogen and oxygen hydroxyl group, OH, attached to a carbon atom. Alcoholism on the other hand is described as excessive or repetitive drinking of alcohol and this causes harm to them repeatedly. This is a negative trait, an abuse of alcoholic substance. In fact, alcoholism is otherwise known as alcohol dependence and people who suffer from this chronic disease are called alcoholics. It is called a disease because despite several harms this has wrecked on them, they are still dependent on it.
It is important to note that excessive drinking of alcohol is not the same as alcoholism. Medical experts however maintain that alcoholism and disorders related to alcohol use lie among a continuum of severity. For clarity therefore, it become expedient to say excessive drinking that connotes a problem is alcoholism or alcohol dependence while excessive drinking, in what could be called binge drinking marked by immoderation is alcohol abuse and problem drinking. Proponents of the disease concept argue that alcoholism, like diabetes, essential hypertension, and coronary artery disease, is a biologically based disease precipitated by environmental factors and manifested in an irreversible pattern of compulsive, pathological drinking behavior in individuals who are constitutionally vulnerable. Central to the disease model is the belief that the alcoholic effectively loses control over his or her consumption of alcohol and can never safely drink again. The disease model also holds that alcoholism is a progressive disease that may be arrested by abstinence but never cured. The current consensus among researchers and scholars is that alcoholism is a complex biopsychosocial disorder in which multiple factors play a role. Be that as it may, alcoholism is called a disease because; it depletes certain aspects of our life and continually causes us harm. But, what can be responsible for alcoholism? Is it a genetic problem or a social ill cultivated by the individual?
More so, alcoholism is different from drunkenness. A person who gets drunk in a drinking bout may not be an alcoholic and an alcoholic may not even get drunk at all. Drunkenness is often as a result of overconsumption which is not the underlining factor for alcoholism. An alcoholic is not a normal drinker. A normal drinker can take the quantity of alcohol he intends to, whereas, the alcoholic drinks more than he intends to. For the alcoholic, he is an addict, he can sneak to drink just to satisfy his thirst for alcohol or even hide bottles of alcoholic beverage to take at a later time but the social, heavy or normal drinker will ordinarily not do that. So, when drinking, you probably have little control over it, then, you are an alcoholic.
CAUSES OF ALCOHOLISM
There are a number of reasons advanced for alcoholism. Alcoholism is not strictly a physical problem. The alcoholic is affected mentally, emotionally and even spiritually as well. Research reveals too, that alcoholism can be a hereditary problem. For example, a study carried out in Denmark between 1970 and 1976 found that sons of alcoholics were four times as likely to be alcoholic as were sons of non-alcoholics. And this was so even though the children were raised by nonalcoholic adoptive parents. In another study, conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle, it was found that young men with a family history of alcoholism developed high levels of acetaldehyde in their blood when they drank alcohol. Science Digest suggests that the “increased acetaldehyde may heighten the feeling of intoxication and pleasure alcohol brings, thereby serving as strong inducement to drink more.” Such findings, however, are not conclusive and indicate only that some predisposition to alcoholism may be hereditary. Closely associated with the hereditary factor is that of physiology. Studies also suggest that some people may have a physical trait that enables them to drink large quantities of alcohol before being intoxicated. People like this, are likely to have intolerance for alcohol and so, they may just have gulped enough to daze them, before they realize they are drunk.
The environment may also be a contributing factor to alcoholism especially one that encourages it. Again, personal behaviors and skill, peer influence especially those early in life can be contributive too. The behaviors of parents towards alcoholism, especially one that encourages it, either in the form of binge consumption by them or by an indifferent attitude to it can also ferment the disease of alcoholism. Closely associated with this is the point of poor parental education on alcoholic beverages. Different drinks contain different strength of alcohol. Beer, for example, contains about 5 percent alcohol, most table wines from 10 to 14 percent, while fortified wines such as sherry and port contain from 16 to 20 percent. Distilled drinks (such as rum, gin, whiskey) contain from 40 to 50 percent alcohol.
There is also the problem of life stress as propellant for excessive and eventually addictive alcoholic intake. Very often, depression can be a major cause of alcoholic indulgence. There are many people who go for alcohol when tensed with the worry of their problems, anxiety and so on. Such individuals usually indulge in such bout to momentarily forget their sorrows. Such drinking can be a deception to wear off 'the tension'. If such problems persist, there is the possibility of continuous drinking to suppress the problem and such drinking run from days to weeks, and from weeks to months, and from months to years. Sooner or later, even when the problem has been solved or disappeared, the individual just continues with the culture as it may have developed into a habit, now far from being an opium. The availability and cheap cost of alcohol can also be a factor to increase alcoholism.
Peer influence or what for convenience can better be called association can be a serious precipitate for alcoholism. When one belongs to a company that delights in drinking, or if such clique shares the philosophy that drinking makes a man, and the more bottles, the realer and stronger a man is, there is a temptation to develop into an alcoholic. This is so, because, the strength of the individual in such a company then lies principally on how much he can influence the larger group in the light of their unwritten philosophy. Closely related to the above point is that of will, very often, people with weak willed are more likely to be alcoholic, if having one or more alcoholic friends. Very often, such friends during outings would freely and unsolicitedly buy alcohol for their friends sometimes against their wish, but because such friends do not want to reject the offer, would be introduced into drinking. Sooner or later, with a little continuity, this becomes a thing of interest and may soon develop into an alcoholic.
Cultural lines can also be of influence to the intake of alcohol and eventually alcoholism. Cultures where there is a loose regulation on alcohol consumption or even encouraged can be of great influence. In a similar vein, people who are unemployed or have irregular working hours are more disposed to alcoholism than others (eg writers). Of an insignificant cause can be psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder or antisocial disorder.
» By Imokhai Felicia
The state of being Calm is defined as stillness, quiet, tranquil etc but today, there is too much fear of insecurity and danger, stress and anxiety, which is the result of perceived threats beyond one's control. Fear and anxiety give rise to panic and other related ailments like high blood pressure and stroke which can eventually lead to death. Hence Shakespeare's famous statement in his Julius Caesar, that “cowards die many times before their death”.
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Therefore, the way forward to the present global crises is to be calm and let God be in charge. What everyone should know is that God knows all these before they started happening. God has a solution to this global crises of wars, earthquake, heat waves (ozone-layer depletion) natural disasters, terrorists activities, insecurity, economic distress, flood etc.
WHAT MUST WE DO THEN?
Jesus, our great commander of the heavenly army, the man of war, is Himself ready, waiting to give us victory. Be calm and let God.
Let us call on Jesus like the disciples did in (Matt 8:23-28), “Wake up”, they said, “don't you care that we are perishing?” and Jesus calm the sea.
The word of God speaks expressly that in the last day, wickedness will increase and the love of many shall wax cold (Matt 24:12). Verse 13 said, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
God is still God. If He is, why worry? Keep calling Him, keep trusting Him, keep calm and let Him.
In the catholic daily readings of this period, we see how God led the Israelites out of Egypt with a pillar of cloud and fire (Ex 14:21-22), yet there was the red sea before them. They complained “is God not aware there is a red sea here, why taking us through this direction?” That is man's way of thinking, but God has His purpose.
But it was the red sea that brought permanent separation between them and the Egyptians. It became a weapon of war to deliver them. God made a way where there seemed to be no way, be calm. Resistance to God's call to be calm may be a simple way of rejecting God's gift of peace in our situation.
At the crossing of the red sea, God spoke to them through Moses, “fear not! Stand your ground and be still and you will see “the victory the Lord will win for you today. The Lord Himself will fight for you”. (Ex 14:13-14). Do not lose heart at the sight of all those multitude of happenings in your family and in Nigeria for the battle is not yours but God's (2 Chron 20:15-17). Be calm!
At a time like this, we must go back to God in total repentance of heart and pray with a renewed heart for God's mercy and deliverance with divine intervention. We must hope and praise God always. The psalmist says “God is a very present help in trouble”. He is our refuge and strength, therefore, we will not fear even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
There is a river whose stream shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most high. God is in that city, she shall not be moved. God helped her just at the break of dawn (Ps 46:1-5). God is always in control.
Man is created in the image of God, if man can depend on God, there will be peace on earth. Jesus spoke to his disciples on dependence on providence, when He warned them not to be concerned about their lives, what they will eat and wear. He said, “consider the ravens, they do not sow nor do they reap, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than the birds” (Lk 12:22-24). Please be calm, nothing is impossible with God.
Being calm also means being patient. God has a master-plan for every one's life if we are patient enough with Him no matter the ups and downs of life, no matter the situation of Nigeria now. He said, “1 know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope” (Jere 29:11). Be calm and be patient!
Faithfulness to God is the answer to the present situation of stress and insecurity. Be careful about what you say, and do not be a hypocrite. “Be sincere and determined, keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the lord, never abandon Him and you will be prosperous at the end of your days (Sirach 2:2-3). “Leave all your worries with the Lord because, He cares for you and for Nigerian” (1 Pt 5:7). Let there be absolute confidence in God, do not cast away your confidence which has great reward.
May God's grace keep us righteous, patient and loving till the end and may He keep renewing the world daily. (Amen)
Be Built And Rooted In Christ Says Pope
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…task youth to seek out the less fortunate
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has charged youths to live a life that is rooted and built upon Christ by knowing Him personally as a friend and be rooted in his person to become faithful followers and his valiant witness.
The Pope made this remark recently on his visit to Madrid in Spain on the occasion of the 26th World Youth day in which he was received by thousands of faithful across the globe with over 800 Bishops present at the opening mass
The Pontiff noted that, the visit was to confirm them in all their faith, with days of intense pastoral activity by proclaiming the truth that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Stressing that it is to motivate them on the commitment to build the kingdom of God in the world amongst all and to exhort young people to known Christ personally and be rooted in Him.
He said that, the discovering of the living God has inspired young people and has open their eyes to see the challenges of the world which they live in, its possibilities and limitations.
Speaking further, the Holy Father noted: the prevalence of superficiality, consumerism, hedonism as well as the widespread barbarism of sexuality, the lack of solidarity, corruption, without God, would be hard for young people to confront the challenges of life and be truly happy.
On spirituality and enthusiasm of the young, the Pope said that it gives him joy to see young people pray and to celebrate the Eucharist with them. He pointed out that the 'World Youth Day' message has brought hope like a pure youthful breeze to young ones with rejuvenating scent which fills all with confidence before the feature of the Church and of the world. He stressed that there is no salvation without the cross hence, there are tension coupled with conflict going on all over the world even to the extent of shedding blood.
According to him, “nature and environment created by God with so much love are not respected; moreover, many young people look worried to the nature that is full of uncertainty”. The Pope asserted that there are others who need help either to avoid drugs or to recover from their use. He reaffirmed that, others also suffer discrimination, contempt and prosecution which they endure in various region and countries. He urged the youths not to let anything take away their peace and not to be ashamed of the Lord because Christ did not spare himself in becoming like them.
Tasking the youth to seek out the less fortunate, the successor of St. Peter said that God expect the youth to give the best of themselves and noted that when faith's gaze is pure and authentic, beauty places itself at its service which he said is able to depict the mysteries of salvation in such a way as to move them profoundly and transform their hearts, the Pope reflected.
The Pope aver that the cross was not a failure, but an expression of self-giving in love that extends even to the supreme sacrifice of one's life. In his words, “The Father wanted to show his love for us through the embrace of his crucified son, crucified out of love. The cross by its shape and its meaning represents this love of both the father and the son for men”.
He urged the young people to take upon their shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not far from man and his troubles and affirmed that all humans are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with them.
The Bishop of Rome charged the faithful that the love of Christ should increase their joy by encouraging the youth to go in search of those less fortunate. He said all should open and share idea with others which should be formed on Christ.
The Holy Father reiterated that the different forms of suffering that have unfolded on the way of the cross are the Lord's way of summoning all to spend their lives by following the footstep and becoming signs of Christ consolation and salvation…
He enjoined all to eagerly welcome the teachings of Christ and put into practise by looking up to Christ hanged on the harsh word of the cross and urged them to ask Him to teach them this mysterious wisdom of the cross by which man lives.
Government Must Adequately Inform Her Citizens
The Catholic Bishops of the Ecclesiastical province of Ibadan has attributed the present heat generated by the Islamic banking to lack of adequate information and lack of education on the new banking system currently introduced by federal government.
This observation was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting held recently at St. Augustine Regional Institute (SARPI), Ede, Osun State.
The communiqué which was signed by Archbishop Felix Alaba Job, President and Bishop Felix Femi Ajakaye, Secretary expressed concern about the way such an important and controversial issue was presented to the country by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
They urged the Federal Government to facilitate vigorous, disinterested and nationwide discussion on the issue for better understanding and resolution of the matter. The Bishops remarked that they are of the opinion that the manner of presentation of the issue with such a religious implication at this time in Nigeria has been faulty and stressed that it is tantamount to “governance by ambush”, they added.
Further, the statement revealed that in a democracy, Nigerians would have been allowed to discuss the issue which they said was important and sensitive, before the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi would make a pronouncement on it which to them now sounded much like a law.
Reacting to the Boko Haram issue, the Shepherds of souls noted that the government seem to speak from both sides of the mouth on whether or not to negotiate with the Boko Haram sect. They expressed sadness on the issues of amnesty raised by some eminent Nigerians and described the diplomatic approach at the expense of lives of Nigerians, peace and tranquility as unacceptable.
The Bishops reiterated that Nigerians will benefit from the rule of law, the security agencies and organizations, if strenghtened, and noted that prompt bringing of criminals to book than from negotiating with murderers will not help matters.
The Prelates urged the government to solve the nagging problem of unemployment as they pointed out that security of lives and property cannot be assured when unemployment is not firmly dealt with.
The Pastors of souls however condoled with the families of those who are victims of Boko Haram insurgency and called for more positive actions on the part of Government to curb the menace.
Restore The Lives, Livelihood Of Our People - CBND
The Catholic Bishops of the Niger Delta (CBND) has called on the Federal Government and oil companies operating in the Niger Delta area of the country on the need to restore the lives and livelihood which the activities of the oil companies operating in the region has crippled.
This was contained in the statement released at the end of the CBND meeting held recently in Port Harcourt. The statement stressed that the call became necessary based on the Untied Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland which determined the nature, extent and impacts of Oil contamination in the area and stressed that the people in the oil producing area has always lived in chronic oil pollution.
The Pastors of souls stressed that after thorough explanation of the contents of the report they were horrified by details of environmental abuse occasioned by successive oil spills and sheer neglect of responsibility by the operators concerned.
Further, the Bishops said that they have expressed dismay at the fact that government was aware of the problem and did not proactively initiate remedial action to assuage the suffering of the people living in the area and frowned that weeks after the release the report they are not aware of anything that has been done to address sustainably the issues that were raised in the report.
The Shepherd of souls reaffirmed that as a people of God, whom God has created out of love, and extended the same to all other creatures all should understand the dignity of human life and the responsibility that it entails and warned that any development or pursuit of economic advantage that despoils the environment and harms a people's livelihood is not acceptable.
Also, the Bishops charged the government, Shell company and other companies operating in the area, civil society, media, communities to ensure the implementation of the report without any delay.
They however expressed their commitment to work assiduously with all stakeholders in resolving peacefully the manifold issues affecting Niger Delta, and would continue to cooperate in the realization of the dream of a better future of all the people, the statement revealed.
Auchi Diocese Prays For P.D Asekhamhe At Ivioghe
Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, recently converged at St. Thomas Aquinas Mass Centre, Ivioghe to pray for the repose of the soul of the late laity chairman of the Mass Centre, Chief P.D. Asekhamhe who died on 13th July, 2011 at Ivioghe.
In his remarks at the funeral mass, the Bishop of the Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, said that the mass was to honour P.D. Asekhamhe, whom he described as humble and always willing to perform his responsibility in the Church. The Bishop stressed that the late laity chairman was a devout Catholic who was ready to do and give his best to the Church and those around him.
Speaking further, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese who stated that Catholic faithful should endeavour to have a better understanding about burial ceremony, stressed that when making arrangement for a funeral, the Church should be consulted adequately inorder to have the appropriate information on when and how the dead should be buried.
More, the Bishop reiterated that it has become necessary for faithful to take their faith seriously by embracing the traditions of the Church. He said that though the corpse. was not physically present in the Church, the funeral mass was necessary, as he stated that the deceased had served God faithfully when he was alive and deserved a funeral mass.
The Shepherd of souls urged all faithful to be firm in proclaiming their faith and prayed for peace in the family of the deceased and for the repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.
In a homily delivered earlier at the mass, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Enegbuma explored some of the virtues of P.D. Asekhamhe and described him as a man of culture and of good reputation. He stressed that P.D. Asekhamhe as a man of culture, had promoted the cultural heritage of Etsako people through his cultural troupe, voices from the Niger.
Continuing, Fr. Enegbuma described the deceased as a true Christian, a comedian, a dancer, a singer and a composer. He noted that the funeral mass was Liturgical, historical and canonical, adding that it was better than any material wealth one could achieve when alive. The priest however charged all present at the mass to pray for the soul of the late laity chairman.
Speaking further, the homilist commended the diocese, the Bishop Most Rev. (Dr.) G.G. Dunia for the honour given to P.D. Asekhamhe, by organizing the funeral mass to pray for his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.
Giving the vote of thanks at the mass, the son of the deceased Mr Henry Asekhamhe who on behalf of the family appreciated the Bishop of the diocese for organizing the funeral mass for his father, said that his father was not a rich man, but was buried rich.
He recalled how his father had brought him back to the Catholic faith when he had gone astray and commended him for sustaining his Catholic faith, while pledging his support and commitment to the Church as his father had done.
Mr Henry who was happy with the funeral, thanked the priests present at the mass. He specifically appreciated the Rector of the mass Centre Rev. Fr. Victor Ibhawa for his prayers and support as well as the Catholic faithful at Ivioghe.
Also, he commended the laity, CMO, CWO and the entire lay apostolate group in the diocese for the honour given to his father and prayed God to grant them journey mercy home.
Priests present at the mass were Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Bossey the Vicar General of the Diocese, and Very Rev. Fr. (Prof.) John Onimhawo. Others were Rev. Frs. Ambrose Alumiasunya, Silas Bobokhai, Pius Obasami, Peter Oshomah, Peter Ayala, Leonard Anetekhai and Romanus Ughiovhe.
Thereafter, a reception was held at the Church premises as guests were entertained by late P.D. Asekhamhe's cultural troupe, Voices from the Niger.
Cardinal Okojie Visits Msgr Oleghe At Fugar
is Eminence Anthony Cardinal Olubumi Okojie, Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, has recently visited Monsignor Thomas Oleghe at Fugar in the Catholic Diocese of Auchi.
The Cardinal on arrival was received at Fugar by the Catholic faithful within and outside the Diocese of Auchi who filled the air with praises to God.
Cardinal Okojie who was warmly received by Monsignor Thomas Oleghe at his residence, said that he was happy to visit Monsignor Oleghe who was kind to him during their school days and prayed for long life for the Monsignor.
Welcoming His Eminence to the diocese, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) G.G. Dunia, thanked him for the visit. While appreciating the visit of the highest hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Nigeria to the Diocese, the Bishop remarked that it was an assurance of the love the Cardinal has for the Diocese.
In his response, Cardinal Okojie thanked the Bishop of Auchi Diocese, priests and faithful for the warm reception accorded him even though the visit was a brief one and admonished all present to accept their faith without fear or shame, pray their rosary daily and publicly declare Jesus Christ as their Lord, by practicing the Catholic faith without restraint.
Also, the priest in residence, Monsignor Oleghe, who was elated at the visit of the Cardinal to him, wished him long life in the Lord's Vineyard and presented a gift to him on behalf of the Diocese.
While appreciating His Eminence on the visit to the diocese, the Benin Ecclesiastical Province CWO President Mrs C.I. Ikalumhe, who is from the Diocese of Auchi, thanked the Cardinal for the honour the visit has brought to the diocese and also presented a gift to him.
The vote of thanks was given by the Vicar General of the Diocese Very Rev. Fr. Isaac Bossey. In it, he commended the Cardinal for the visit to the diocese and prayed for journey mercy.
Thereafter, His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Olubumi Okojie blessed all present at the reception ceremony.
Among the Cardinal's entourage were Monsignor Joseph Omesa, Dr. Imo Itsueli, Engr. John Amune, Rev. Fr. Marcel Amadi (Cardinal Secretary) priests, religious as well as Knights of St. John International among others.
Cathedral Marks Assumption Of Mary
The Immaculate Conception cathedral, Auchi has marked the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven recently.
The mass was concelebrated with His Lordship, Most Rev. (Dr.) G.G. Dunia, the Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Rev. Frs. Ferdinand Okafor; the Assistant Administrator, Fabian Eghiabumhe and Rev. Dania Charles.
During the homily, Bishop Dunia urged the lay faithful to learn how to be kind, holy and assist each other. He noted that Mary who was holy, kind and humble and was assumed into heaven and further tasked all to endeavour to imbibe the virtues of Mary, who is the Mother of Jesus.
More, the Bishop who said that God is most Holy and merciful, urged the Catholic community to endeavour to live holy lives, stressing that it is their sins that hinders answers to their prayers and advised that they should be prayerful and do penance for their sins, as well as pray to Mother Mary, to intercede on their behalf, so that their sins might be forgiven by God.
Also, Bishop Dunia stressed that God is rich in mercy and His mercies endurest forever, reiterating that no man can adequately appreciate the good deeds of God in his life.
Further, the Shepherd of souls asserted that Mary was given to all as a Mother, stressing that she was holy, humble, obedient and did all things according to the will of God. More, he assured the Catholic community that as Mary was assumed into heaven, she lives to intercede on their behalf and is an example for them to live a holy life and do God's will.
Finally, Bishop Dunia advised lay faithful to learn how to face reality in any where they find themselves. He prayed God to give them the grace to serve and live in peace with one another.
Highpoint of the celebration, were praying of Rosary and candle light procession from Auchi Polytechnic Hostel Gate to Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.
Ososo Celebrates Graduation Ceremony
…Sends Forth Rev. Sr. Ekperi
The staff and pupils of St. Anne Nursery/Primary School, Ososo and St. Anne Nursery/Primary School, Ojah have both celebrated their third graduation ceremony at the Ososo School premises, as well as a send forth for Rev. Sr. Perpetual Ekperi who was the headmistress of both schools.
Giving the homily at the mass, the parish administrator of St. Anne Parish Ososo, Rev. Fr. Philip Omokhekhe, thanked Rev. Sr. Ekperi for transforming the two schools. He also admonished parents of the pupils to always pray for their children and promised to effect innovations in the schools, as he reminded them of the enormous responsibility of taking care of the children.
Fr. Omokhekhe who explained that the task of raising a child is a continuous exercise stressed that parents must bring up their children in the way of the Church in order to have the fear of God. While noting that education is the only legacy they can bestow on their children, the priest pointed out that if proper education is given to a child he/she would attain greater position in their community and the country at large.
Speaking further, the cleric said that moral up bringing can only be achieved through teaching that will influence them positively, praying the rosary fervently and encouraged all present to join any prayer group in the Church.
Fr. Omokhekhe who urged parents not to fail in their responsibility of raising their children, warned that God would hold them responsible for any short coming of their children and wards, while warning against giving out of children as house helps to ungodly people who will turn them to nuisance in the society.
At the reception held at the same venue in honour of the graduating pupils and to also send forth the headmistress, the chairman of the occasion Hon. M.M. Ogedegbe enjoined parents of the graduates to give quality education to their children/ wards which would help in the over all development of the Church and the society in general and also thanked Rev. Sr. Ekperi for her role in the schools.
In her address, the outgone headmistress of the schools Rev. Sr. Perpetual Ekperi, appreciated God for making her tenure a fruitful one and thanked them for the Sendforth reception organized for her.
Moreso, Rev. Sr. Ekperi highlighted a number of her achievements recorded in the school during her tenure which includes increase in population of the school, settlement of debts owned staff and Ministry of Education, Benin, renovations of walls and floor of the class room and introduction of two sets of uniforms among others.
She appealed to parents for their co-operation to her successor Rev. Sister Abigael Ochekpe and to increase the number of classrooms to accommodate the growing population of students in the school.
The event witnessed cultural display, recitations and songs rendition.
New Executive For Ogbona CWO
A new executive for the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) Ogbona Parish, has been elected into office to run the affairs of the organization for a period of three years, the election was conducted by a Diocesan CWO officer Mrs Mary Akumeghie.
Before the election commenced, Mrs Akumeghie who thanked the women for their massive turn out and orderly conduct, spelt out the organization's constitutional requirement inorder to be an executive of any parish and also urged them to pray before casting their votes, so as to elect an executive that will be effective, efficient and God fearing.
Shortly after the election exercise, the following persons were successful at the polls; Mrs Patience Scholastica Amhanesi; President, Mrs Esther Isabage; 1st Vice President, Mrs Mary Joe Oboarekpe; 2nd Vice President, Mrs V.O. Nasamu; Secretary, Mrs Maria Esibor; Assistant Secretary and Mrs Benedicta Amhanokhai as the Financial Secretary. Others were Mrs Regina Imoagene; Treasurer, Mrs Paulina Osiregbhemhe; Welfare Officer I, Mrs Jusina Itsisor; Welfare Officer II and Mrs Victoria Itsuokor as the Provost.
While congratulating the new executive team, Mrs Akumeghie charged them to work with a focus and to always honour the outgone president who should in turn always assist the young executive in carrying out their duties.
Also at the occasion, the zonal CWO leader Mrs C. Izuagie, charged the women to support, pray and encourage the new president, while calling on the women to endeavour to regularly pay their monthly dues and attend meetings.
In her inaugural speech, Mrs Patience Scholastica Amhanesi, thanked God for the privilege to serve in the capacity as the group's president and also thanked all present for the confidence reposed in her and members of her team to pilot the affairs of the parish CWO, while promising better leadership and service through the intercession of Mother Mary.
Revere The Blessed Sacrament - Fr. Omunagbe
The parish priest of St Philip Neri Catholic Church, Jattu, Rev. Fr. Ignatius Omunagbe, has called on faithful to have outmost regard for the Blessed Sacrament. He gave this admonition while addressing parishioners at a Sunday Mass recently.
Fr. Omunagbe who condemned the attitude of noise making in the Church especially during Eucharistic celebrations, described the act as a total disregard for the person of Christ made present in the Blessed Sacrament. The priest further called on Catholics to maintain a peaceful disposition and decorum while at mass as a sign of reverence for the Body and Blood of Christ, while stressing that measures would soon be put in place to curb the attitude of noise making in the parish.
He also urged parishioners to learn to visit and interact with their priests on issues that affects the Church, so as to share ideas on the advancement of the Church, which he said is the responsibility of all and not the priests alone.
Further, the parish priest frowned at the attitude of some Catholics who malign their priests out of ignorance. He called on such persons to desist from such acts and should rather, ascertain facts on certain issues so as not to spread falsehood and create unnecessary disunity in the Church. While adding that good Christians must watch what they say so that they do not become “the honeyed voice of Satan” which is primarily aimed at destruction.
Fr. Omunagbe who spoke on a number of issues, also called on parents to invest more in the upbringing of the youths who he described as the leaders of tomorrow and the hope of the Church. He stated that the Church would carry out her responsibility towards the overall development of the youths, while calling on parents to do the same.
In addition, the priest urged Catholics and Christians generally to lay more emphasis on spiritual issues which would benefit them more than on physical and material aspects of life which he noted only lasts awhile.
Afuze Holds Laity Harvest
The Catholic community of St. Jude Parish, Afuze has celebrated their 6th parish laity harvest/bazaar recently.
During the mass presided by the assistant parish priest Rev. Fr. Francis Momoh, he said that the day was set aside by the laity of the parish to appreciate God for favours received in the past and praying to receive more in the future.
He described the harvest thanksgiving mass as a collaborative effort, as every parishioner would give according to his heart's dictate, not grudgingly, but cheerfully.
Thereafter, the parishioners proceeded on a joyful thanksgiving procession, bearing their gifts to the altar, where they were received by the priest who blessed them.
During the bazaar, the chairman of the occasion Mr. Evbomai Ikhide, thanked the parishioners of St. Jude's Catholic Church, Afuze for deeming him worthy to chair the occasion, while urging all and sundry to join hands to uplift the financial status of the parish laity council, through generous donations and purchases of items on display.
Earlier, the chairman harvest planning committee Mr Ambrose Ekperi in his address, stated that the parish laity council has a lot of responsibilities and projects to execute and observed that since the creation of Otuo Mass Centre out of the parish, much responsibility is imposed on the parish laity council, hence the organization of the bazaar to raise fund to meet the teething challenges and to also enable the parish to pay their dues and levies at the Diocesan Laity Council.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion were Engr. (Sir) Chris Ekaun, Sir Raphael Aruna, Pa. Egwakhide, Chief Isuku, Mr. G.R Ahonsi and a host of others.
Fugar CWO Celebrates Madonna Harvest
St. Theresa Catholic Church, Fugar was agog as women, men and children gathered to celebrate the 2nd edition of the Madonna harvest tagged “women build for the Lord”.
The mass for the ocassion was concelebrated with Rev. Frs. (Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika, Nicholas Oshiokede and Rev. Fr. Musa Sebastine, from Kontagora Vicariate
Giving the homily at the Eucharistic celebration, Rev. Fr. Sebastine Musa appreciated the women of the Church and charged them to be ready for ultimate search which is winning the kingdom of God and to always endeavour to contribute to the growth of the church.
Fr. Sebastine regretted that it was unfortunate that young Christians now search for vanity which would result to self centeredness and stop them from entering the Kingdom of God. He Stressed that, if people were given opportunity to choose, unlike King Solomon who asked for wisdom, many would have preferred money, power to kill and main, good health and children, adding that the step Solomon took was to build God's house.
He urged all to be happy and see it as a privilege to build for God, while he reaffirmed that harvest is one major way of demonstrating the wisdom and the Kingdom of God.
Further Fr. Sebastine charged parents to appreciate the good deeds God has done for them and see it as a privilege to build for God. He said that thanksgiving is compulsory for every Christian and it should be a harvest that comes from the heart of the faithful while tasking them to give without counting the cost, as God will bless them accordingly.
Highpoint of the mass was a thanksgiving procession by CWO members as well as lay faithful.
Thereafter at the reception, the Madonna harvest planning committee chairperson Mrs Theodora Ogwanighie welcomed all present and thanked them for gracing the occasion. She urged them to support the women to build for God.
In her opening speech, the chairperson of the occasion Mrs Angela Bagudu represented by her personal assistant Mrs Mary Adoro, said that the women harvest was apt and timely as women formed the majority of the Church population. She enjoined all present to support the women to build for God.
At the reception, the harvest cake was cut by the parish administrator Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika, with his assistant Rev. Fr. Nicholas Oshiokede, and Rev. Fr. Sebastine Musa, Rev. Amos Paul, Mrs Mary Adoro, Mrs Osogbo. Also, the new harvest queen Mrs Annet Aliu, was crowned by the former queen Mrs. Angela Aloye.
The vote of thanks was given by Mrs. Catherine Izuagie. In it, she commended everyone present for their support and prayed God to reward them bountifully.
On his part, the parish administrator of St. Theresa, Fugar Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Gregory Ogbenika appreciated all present for their contribution towards the “build for the Lord” project and prayed God's blessing to continue to remain on them.
Some of the dignitaries present at the occasion were Lady Roseline Oshonebo, Dr. Eitehemhe Idowu, Mrs. N.A Osogbo, Chief Mr. E. O. Momoh, Sir A.B.C Nasamu, Sir/Lady Mike Ogereghie and others.
Ososo Holds Laity Harvest At Ojah
Attah S. D.
The Catholic community of St. Anne Parish, Ososo recently held her annual parish laity harvest and bazaar at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Ojah, an outstation of St. Anne Catholic Church, Ososo.
Giving the homily in a Eucharistic celebration, Rev. Fr. Philip Omokhekhe the parish administrator enlightened the lay faithful about the attributes of King Solomon who prayed for wisdom to discern the true value of life. He pointed out that a faithful needs Wisdom like Solomon to be able to realize that the love of God is a treasure without prize.
Fr. Omokhekhe gave the exemplary quality of Solomon whom God had blessed with wisdom because of his humble nature, love for God and for his subject, pointing out that he asked for wisdom and he was blessed with it, remarking that no other's wisdom has surpassed Solomon's till this day.
Also, Fr. Omokhekhe reminded the faithful of the importance of thanksgiving, and tasked them to give thanks to God who give good gifts to all His creatures, while warning against the act of ingratitude, as many no longer believe in giving thanks to God.
In addition, he advised parents to watch over their children and to caution them against any social vice that would cause problem to the society and country at large, as he encouraged them to do profitable jobs and shun all forms of bad attitude.
The highpoint of the mass was a general thanksgiving by all stations of the parish.
Shortly after the mass, the chairman of the harvest planning committee Mr J.O. Ochedu, thanked all for attending the occasion and solicited for their co-operation and support to enable the house of God to grow, remarking that without it, development would be difficult.
Mr Ochedu who reminded all of the importance of the laity in the Church, stressed that it needs financial assistance to meet up with their obligation within the parish and at the diocesan level and urged all to encourage the development of the parish.
Holy Cross Nursery/Primary School Holds Graduation at Imoga
The management, staff and Pupils of Holy Cross Nursery/Primary School Imoga, have celebrated their 3rd graduation ceremony for the 2011 session, at the school premises.
Giving the homily at the mass, the parish administrator of St. Peter Catholic Church, Ibillo Rev. Fr. Godrick Shaba, congratulated the graduating students and prayed for more wisdom and understanding for them as they proceed higher in their academic pursuit.
He reminded them of the need to have faith and trust in God, rather than man made gods. Fr. Shaba also said that they should avoid negative habits that would affect them and tasked them to shine as light which will dispel darkness from the world.
On his advise to parents, the priest reiterated that they should bring up their children in the fear of God so that they would not deviate from it in future, while stressing that they should put their hope in God, who alone can do all things.
Shortly after the homily, there was a thanksgiving procession by the management and students of the school, who were accompany to the altar by the parents.
In his address at the reception, seminarian Akinlade Stephen, welcomed all present to the ceremony and thanked the parents of the pupils for their co-operation and the growth of the school. He gave an update of the building construction going on in the school and called for their support.
The ceremony witnessed drama presentation, cultural display and presentation of awards as well as gifts to some grandaunts. Thereafter, Bro. Akinlade Stephen gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the parish Administrator, in which he appreciated all present at the occasion for making the ceremony a success.
Guide Your Children To Grow In Christ Fr. Adorolo
Christians have again been advised to bring up their children in a Christ like manner in order to ensure a bright future for them. This admonition was given recently by the parish administrator of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Azukala/Ugbekpe, Ekperi Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, at the graduation ceremony of pupils of SS Peter and Paul Nursery/Primary School, at the Church premises.
In his homily, Fr. Adorolo reminded parents that as they celebrate their children, they should make it a point of duty to guide them on the right part, direct them on how to grow in Christ. He noted that their duty is not only to pay their fees, buy books and uniforms, but also is to ensure that their future is guaranteed in the knowledge of Christ, which would make them excel.
Further the homilist advised Christians to approach God in gentleness while praying to Him, as he is the supreme God who knows all their problems, instead of approaching Him with noise and hostility. He pointed out that Elijah witnessed the presence of God in a gentle breeze and advised that they should always meditate and have a quiet moment with God
Highpoint of the celebration was a thanksgiving procession led by Rev Sr. Francisca Nwonwu, the headmistress of the school with the graduates who were in a joyful mood and were accompanied by their parents and friends.
At the reception held in the Church premises, the headmistress Rev. Sr. Francisca Nwonwu, welcomed parents and guardians to the occasion. She urged parents to properly train their children in order to represent their families in better positions in future.
In his opening speech, Chief Hon. Jackson Sule who represented the chairman of the occasion Hon. Thompson Ilegogie, commended the efforts of the immediate past parish administrator of the Church Rev. Fr. Peter Egielewa for establishing the school in Ekperi land. He appreciated the present parish administrator Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo for sustaining the project.
He prayed God to continue to bless all and the school, while also appreciating the parishioners who have contributed immensely to the development of the school and the entire parish.
The event was spiced up with drama presentation, cultural display, poem recitation, presentation of gifts to outstanding students as well as distribution of certificates and their results by the headmistress.
Jattu Sendsforth Fr. Enegbuma
The Catholic Community of St. Philip-Neri Catholic Church has recently organized a send forth for their immediate past parish priest Very Rev. Fr. Richard Enegbuma, who is now the Rector of Christ the King Mass Centre, Fugar.
Speaking during the homily at the mass, Rev. Fr. Joseph Iyamah called on the faithful to always appreciate the efforts of their priests and urged them to support them in all ways possible and to always pray for the success of their work.
In his remarks, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Enegbuma, thanked the parishioners for the love and care shown to him during his stay in the parish as the parish administrator. He went down memory lane, recalling his surprise at the unalloyed support he received from the parishioners. Fr. Enegbuma noted that his transfer did not mean he was totally removed from the parish, adding that he would always remember to pray for the parishioners and urged them to do same.
Also, Fr. Enegbuma appreciated the faithful for the ceremony and implored them to continue to support their priests, as it is the only way to sustain spiritual and physical growth in the parish.
Giving their individual remarks, parishioners described Fr. Enegbuma as a pace,-setter, adding that he had laid a good foundation for any priest to build on spiritually and otherwise. They extolled his qualities of hard work, discipline and dedication to duty, as they expressed sadness that he would be sorely missed in the parish.
The occasion which was attended by parishioners from the four outstations that makeup the parish, featured presentation of gifts to the priest, drama presentation by CYON and speeches by some parishioners.
Rev. Fr. Imiere Thanks God At Sobe
One of the newly ordained priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin city Rev. Fr. Paul Imiere, has recently celebrated his ordination thanksgiving mass at St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church, Sobe.
During the homily, Rev Fr. Clement Odiah charged the newly ordained priest not to forget his priestly duties and noted that Sobe has produced five priests. Remarking that the anointing of priests are connected to Jesus Christ and added that the priest acts in the person of Christ whose message is to bring salvation to the world.
Fr. Odiah added that a priest is to give hope to the people, bless the people and not to increase their burdens, pointing out that priests are chosen from among the people noting that it is when a priest works in harmony with the people that rapid development is witnessed in a parish. He urged the newly ordained priest to be focused on his priestly duties in order for him not to miss the way.
Earlier, the parish priest Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Anselm Jimoh had introduced the priests present at the mass whom he said were at the mass to celebrate with their fellow priest who God has called to do His will. He thanked Rev. Frs. Andrew Ologhobo and Clement Odiah for celebrating with the new priest.
Highpoint of the mass was a thanksgiving procession led by the newly ordained priest Rev. Fr. Paul Imiere, accompanied to the altar by his family and friends.
On his speech at the reception, the chairman of the occasion Air Vice Marshall Olu Obadan urged all present at the occasion to live together in peace and unity. He said that they should always endeavour to get their children educated, stressing that gone were the days when the people of Sobe did not want their children to be Revered fathers.
Air Vice Marshall Olu Obadan pointed out that Sobe indigenous now see the call to priesthood as a gift and humble privilege from God and advised the younger ones to respect their elders so as to receive God's blessing.
The occasion was spiced up with chorography dance by youths from St. Augustine Catholic Church, Ifon, cultural presentation and presentation of gift items to the new priest.
Responding, the newly ordained priest who said he was overwhelmed with joy, thanked the priests present, religious and lay faithful for the honour done to him and stressed that the young ones should embrace the priesthood and serve God who would make all things possible.
Diocesan Sacred Heart Of Jesus Meets At Ogbona
The Catholic community of St John the Baptist Parish Ogbona, recently played host to the Diocesan Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary Society.
Welcoming members to the parish, Mrs C.A. Anaweokhai who is the leader of the group in Ogbona, appreciated the members for coming to Ogbona for the meeting and prayed for fruitful deliberations.
Also, the Diocesan chairman of the group Mr Donatus Arewa, thanked Ogbona parish for the warm reception accorded them and commended the efforts of Mrs C.A. Anaweokhai for her role in sustaining the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary society in the parish.
Speaking further, the Diocesan chairman said that they were at Ogbona to address a number of issues confronting the group and thanked Ogbona for the successful hosting of the meeting.
Shortly after the meeting, the occasion witnessed a cultural dance by Ogbona Parish Sunday school and Master Misericordia Nursery and Primary School, while the CWO of the parish thrilled the audience with Agbi cultural dance step, members of the CYON presented a drama piece.
Agenebode Holds Laity Harvest
Sacred Heart Parish, Agenebode has recently held her 2011 laity harvest/bazaar at the Church premises.
In his homily tagged “the power of focus”, Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosimhe admonished Christians to focus on God and never look back unlike Peter who was doubtful and almost sank in the water.
Fr. Ikhianosimhe charged the laity to put God first in whatever they do, jettison fear as it would bring about doubt of the power of God to save them from their various trials of life. He also advised them to always be focused in God for them to achieve their aims in life.
Welcoming guests to the Bazaar sales, the parish laity chairman Sir P. Dakpokpo (KSM) thanked them all for coming to the harvest and enumerated the areas the income for the harvest would be used for.
In his remark, the 2011 laity harvest chairman Hon. Ojor Anyia, the caretaker committee chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State who was represented by Hon. Akowe Patrick, encouraged the laity to contribute generously towards the work of God who is the owner of their lives.