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LGA Election: A Call For Credible Leadership
According to Chinua Achebe of Blessed memory, “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to their responsibility, to the challenges of personal example which are hallmarks of true leadership”.
In every sphere of life, a true leader is one who keeps his words and promises to his people, and in the sphere of politics such leaders are referred to as 'talk na do'. One who delivers on the promises he has made. But what we see and witness today around us, has turn the story of kettle calling pot black. With one hand, we seem to fight godfatherism and with the other we welcome people who celebrate us not just as godfathers but as grandfathers in politics.
It is terrible to see our local politics as the seat of corrupt practices and shameful to comprehend the fact that, electing a local government chairman and chancellor has turned the bedrock for dictatorship and single party rule.
Come April 20, Edo state will witness her local government election, but the atmosphere we see now does not in any way suggest a free and fair election. Without any prejudice in mind, the people should be given the voice to speak and not been spoken for as babies. If the Slogan of Mr. Governor is to tell the people of Edo state that we are in safe hands, then election should be made to run its normal course.
Edo State is the heartbeat of the Nation, thus, those in charge, the various stakeholders and all those who see sponsoring of candidate as a birthright to practice democracy, should know that, it is the heart that carries the body and when the heart stops breathing, the body is gone. If Edo State, the centre of the nation becomes a hub for crime and violence, then we should be ready to face the problem, except we begin to live like brothers that we are, and know that, party affiliation is secondary and the human life, primary.
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The one and only most highly acceptable sacrifice greater than which no other can ever be is being willing to do the will of God most unreservedly, in toto. This is summum bonum the highest or supreme good man can ever make of himself to God his creator. This truth has been revealed to us quite abundantly in many passages of the Scriptures, directly by Jesus Christ, himself, by, the Blessed Virgin Mary, in our sacred liturgical worships, and by the teaching of many holy men and women all through the ages. First, for example, the psalmist presents us with what the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ, foretold through the mouth of the psalmist: Ecce venio, meaning, Behold I am here (or I come). Facere voluntatem t meus, volui, meaning, I am willing to do your will my God; et lex tua in praecordiis meis, meaning because your law preoccupies my mind/heart (Psalm 40:8a and 9). Jesus Christ crowned it all with finality that it is the absolute allowance for the will of God to be done in all circumstances come what may that constitutes the greatest sacrifice not otherwise, when he said: Father, if this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, your will be done! (Mtt 26:39). The Blessed Virgin Mary on her part followed the same note of finality of absolutely allowing the will of God to be done, when she responded to the message of God through the Angel Gabriel: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me”(Luke1:38).
Doing the will of God comprises at least the following: listening, hearing (which is obeying), knowing, understanding God and his will and voluntarily resolving and surrendering one's will subsumably into the will of God.
Consequent upon the fact that man is able to freely establish an irrevocable allowance for the dwelling of God (God's will) in his mind, necessarily brings into being the free exercise of man's will most in accordance with the divine will.
By surrendering of his will to the will of God voluntarily, man offers all that is much more than the sacrifices and offerings of holocausts and victims which the Lord God has said, he has nothing to do with (cf. Psalm 40:7).
The doing of God's will which is the greater thing than no other can be is constituted in the following, among others: delighting in the law of God, being holy, proclaiming God's justice, truthfulness, mercy or love, bringing good news to the poor, healing the broken hearted people, setting captives and the oppressed free, proclaiming God's year of favour, warning the evil doers against the vengeance (retribution) of God, comforting the down trodden or mourners by providing them with the robe or oil of gladness and joy and giving all people of goodwill the promise of reigning with and in immortality (cf. Isaiah 61:1-3,6,8-9; Luke 4:16-21).
What is more, the utmost priority of doing the will of God over all other considerations as the one and only sacrifice that matters after all, is impressed on us by both the Gloria in excelsis Deo and The Lord's Prayer. In the Gloria in excelsis Deo, which means, glory to God in the highest, and that peace be upon all people of goodwill on earth, so that in that goodwill in peace, we must praise God, we must bless God, we must adore God, we must glorify God, we must thank God for his great glory as Lord God, king of heaven who is God the Father Almighty.
What is all this if not to God's will the best is offered and sacrificed, truly? Confirming this truism, the Lord's Prayer teaches us to beg God for the grace to be in us so that we can do God's will on earth as it is done in heaven. In other words, the only way the children of God on earth will ever be able to make the one and only most acceptable sacrifice greater than which no other can be which is already being made perpetually and eternally by the hosts of heaven is to request for the grace of God which can only make us do God's will on earth as it is done in heaven. The hosts of heaven are already being fed with every good thing promised to them who do God's will. Hence, the Lord's Prayer is telling us that if and when the children on earth truly receive the grace to do the will of God on earth as it is already being in heaven, being fed with every good thing promised to them who do God's will can possibly commence here on earth; hence, give us this day our daily bread immediately follows thy will be done on earth as it is heaven.
The food the children of God on earth really need to be satisfied can and will, surely, be made available de facto et de inure by the command of the promise of God. Until that time when the children of God will be able to do exactly the will of God, nothing will be truly tasteful, nothing will be satisfying, and nothing will have peace and rest. This informed the great Saint, Augustine, when he exclaimed: our hearts will have no rest until they rest in God.
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Modern Rosary Victories And Miracles
» By Prof. Michael Ogunu
Many times in history, the Rosary has won wars when generals and armies failed. Our Lady gave the Rosary to St. Dominic to overcome the Albigensian heresy. The latter was sweeping throughout Europe during the 13th century (1208) with the creed that marriage was sinful, that husbands and wives should desert their homes and families, that man's body was created by Satan himself, that concubinage was a virtue and suicide praiseworthy. Dominic was a staunch opponent of these heretics and among his supporters was Simon de Montfort, a fervent advocate of the Rosary. Dominic and all his followers said the Rosary when a small Christian task force of about 800 confronted a well-armed and disciplined army of 40,000 Albigenses near the city of Muret not far from Toulouse and routed them, resulting in the end of the heresy and the reconversion of those who had been led astray.
Beginning in the 7th century and for a thousand years that followed, there was another threat to Christian civilization, that of the Moslem sword. Setting out in the year 634 to conquer the world, the Moslems captured Syria and Damascus within a year and Jerusalem three years later and just nine years from the start had conquered in Asia and Africa a territory half the size of Europe. When they crossed the Straits of Gibraltar in 711, they overran Spain and Portugal and then France. Many bloody wars followed and the Christians managed to stand firm until 1453 when Constatinople fell after a huge assault. From that time the Moslems were firmly installed in Europe.
Their dominance continued until the year 1571 when a battle was fought on which hung not only the destiny of Europe but the destiny of Christian civilization. This was the battle of Lepanto in the Gulf of Corinth when a small Christian flotilla faced the overwhelming odds of a huge Moslem fleet. Pope Pius V, who had been encouraging the entire Catholic world to say the Rosary, was, at the time of the battle, as Vatican archives later revealed, saying the Rosary with many of the faithful in the Basilica of Santa Maria Magiore at Rome. The prayer continued from dawn to dusk while the battle raged and when it was all over the Moslems were defeated and in just one day, 200 out of 270 Moslem ships were destroyed. The Turks had also lost 30,000 men as against 4,000 to 5,000 Christian casualties. The Rosary had won a great military victory. The Pope instituted 'The Feast of the Holy Rosary' in 1571 in thanksgiving for a great victory won 'through the power of the Rosary'. His successor Pope Gregory XIII (1572 1585) says that we must believe in faith that the public prayers and processions of members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary were largely responsible for the great victory at Lepanto.
In 1683, Austria was saved from the Muslim Turks of the Ottoman Empire. It was not generals, nor battalions, nor arms that brought victory, but Our Lady of the Rosary as thousands of Austrians said the Rosary for deliverance. Over 270 years later, on 13th May 1955, the anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, the Four powers, U.S., U.K., France and Russia, signed an agreement in Vienna to restore freedom and sovereignty to Austria. Other enslaved Communist countries, like Hungary, revolted and failed. Austria succeeded without effort. WHY? 700,000 people or 10% of the seven million population had pledged themselves ten years earlier to say the Rosary daily. A modern example of how God can spare many for the prayers of the few.
The highlight of the Spanish Civil War in 1938 was the Battle of Alcazar when the Communists laid siege to this ancient fortress. The 1700 defenders including 500 women and 52 children, under constant bombardment from several thousand Communists, gathered to say the Rosary twice daily. They held out for 71 days till General Franco finally arrived to rout the Communists.
In 1945 when the atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a small community of eight Jesuit Fathers, close to the epicentre remained unharmed (the people and the building itself) while everyone else in a radius of 1.5 km from the centre was killed. Father Huber Schiffer (one of the eight priests) told the Eucharistic Congress of Philadelphia in 1976, when all eight members were alive and well, that 200 Scientists had carried out investigations for several years in search of scientific explanation. He told them that there was only one thing that made their house different to the others: THEY RECITED THE ROSARY TOGETHER EVERYDAY.
By 1964, the Communists had already gained political control of Brazil and were planning to eliminate all opposition. The 'BLOODBATH' was planned for Good Friday of Holy Week. Cardinal Carmera in a radio broadcast called the people to resist. There followed mammoth Rosary processions and rallies by hundreds of thousands and even millions. Brazilian military leaders brought about a 'BLOODLESS COUP'. The Communist leaders fled the country. On Good Friday two million people marched through the streets of Rio de Janeiro saying the Rosary in thanksgiving to Our Lady for saving their country from Communism.
In one year in 1985 in the Philippines, one million people signed the Blue Army Pledge which includes daily recitation of the Rosary. On 23rd February 1986 using a loudspeaker, a Blue Army Leader led the Rosary in front of the National Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima to several thousand people kneeling on the road, pavement, anywhere. Facing them were hundreds of combat-ready marines and behind the soldiers' tanks and armored cars ready to launch an attack. The troops stopped, the tanks were halted, but not by the force of bodies bound together in a human barricade. NO. The soldiers told his Eminence, “A very beautiful lady appeared. The vision said 'STOP! DON'T ATTACK MY PEOPLE. I AM THE QUEEN OF THIS LAND”. This was indisputably a 'Rosary miracle' of a bloodless transition from dictatorship to democracy.
In 1978, Pope John Paul II desired to visit Poland. The Communist government wanted to restrict his movements. Polish Catholics started a seven-day prayer vigil of continuous Rosaries at Jasna Gora. They called it the 'Siege of Jericho'. On 7th May, the last day of the vigil, the Communists relented and opened the way for the historic visit without restrictions. Later the Pope told the Poles, “I know about them (the Rosaries), I bless them, I rely upon them. Do them on a grand scale”.
Ever since the Blessed Virgin gave St. Dominic the Rosary in 1214, there has hardly been a Pope who has not recommended and recognized the Holy Rosary as the pre-emptive type of prayer. They have written encyclicals, bulls, and meditations and heaped indulgences on the Rosary.
Leo X (1513-21) called it a wall to hold back the evils that were going to break upon the Church.
Adrian VI (1522-23) said, “The Rosary is the scourge of the devil”.
Julius III (1550-55) said the Rosary was inspired by God that heaven might be more easily opened to us through the favours of Our Lady.
Gregory XIII (1572-85) said the Rosary was given to us from Heaven as a means of appeasing God's anger and of imploring Our Lady's intercession.
Leo XIII (1878-1903) said, “As Vicar of Christ I wish to honour Our Lady of the Rosary”. And he did. He wrote 8 encyclicals on the Rosary. This 'Rosary' Pope decreed that October be dedicated to the Rosary, with daily recitation of the Rosary in church in October. He added, 'Queen of the Most Holy Rosary' to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For Leo XIII, the Rosary “is the remedy for all our evils and the root of all our blessings”.
Pius X (1903-14) says: “The Rosary is richest in graces (and) most pleasing to Mary. Love the Rosary, recite it every day with devotion, this is the testament that I leave unto you”.
Pius XI (1922-39) says that the Rosary “abundantly sustains our Catholic faith, and is very efficacious in deterring impending evils and calamities”.
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Prayer And Healing Experience
» By Rev. Fr. Thomas Anavhe
In prayer we search for God who alone has power to quench our thirst. Without prayer our nothingness comes into play. For out of nothingness God calls man and woman into existence. To retain and enjoy the glory and honour that God has bestowed on us from the beginning of creation, we must be connected to God in prayer who is the original source of our strength. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2572) stresses how prayer restores man to God's likeness and enables him to share in the power of God's love that will always make us whole. So we cannot kneel down in prayer without receiving something (blessings) from God. An answer to a particular intention may not be received immediately after prayer has been said. But then, God's graces, blessings, favour and glory will always fall on anyone who is in true dialogue with God in prayer. The glory of God which we encounter in each prayer actually turns our nothingness into a glorious life in God.
We must be persistent in prayer like Jacob who did not lose faith in God. He prayed to the point that God did not only grant him his initial prayer request of finding favour in the hands of his brother Esua; God reviewed his name; from now on, God said, your name will no longer be Jacob; you have struggled with me and men, and you have won; so your name will be called Israel (Gen 32:28). In persisting in prayer, we receive God's graces that open more doors and opportunities for us that are beyond our imagination.
The act of praying as a way of bringing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing to God's people is always an ongoing process. Since in prayer we enter into the divine presence of God, His presence must effect some positive changes in our lives. He says, “I am the Lord who heals you (Ex. 15:26). God's presence in prayer helps us to rectify all forms of ill health or abnormality within us, by creating harmony between our body and soul. Man's body is an expression of spirit and soul which contains mind, will and intellect. For complete healing in our lives, our spirit must be in tune with God in prayer who is the ontological foundation of our existence. If our spirit (mind) lacks the touch of God in prayer; there is the tendency for us to experience inner pains, worries and anxiety which gives room to other ill health. Therefore, our spirits and souls must be nourished in prayers if we must experience physical healing. For God wishes above all things, that we prosper and be in health (3 Jn 1:2). So, in prayer; the physical part of us (body) can easily be healed, if the spiritual part of us is connected with God in prayer. God promised, I will give back your health and heal your wounds, (Jer. 30:17). Let us turn to God in prayer, He alone can fill and heal our vacuum. For the presence of God in prayer helps to waken the dieing spirit of the sick ones and brings a complete healing. So, staying with God in prayer is the true key to a complete healing. For we are healed by the punishment he suffered (Ish. 53:5).
God's spirit permeates the whole of our being when we approach God in prayer, and he gives life to our mortal bodies. For if the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit who dwells in you (Rom.8:l 1). At that point of spiritual connection in prayer with God, God infuses in us His spirit. And this spiritual infusion (energy) melts away all forms of ill-health especially tension, anxiety, grief, excessive headache, heartache, heart attack, heart failure, lost of focus in life and restored peace; for it makes our faith firmer and our body relaxed in Christ. Jesus is always ready to restore healing to His people, as well as taking away their terrible diseases.
The ten (10) lepers, in the Sacred Scripture were never healed until they went out from their leper's community and headed towards Jesus for healing. If we can kneel down in prayer before Jesus, Jesus who is always willing to restore healing to those who call upon Him, will stretch out His hands and touch us for a complete healing.
It is not all prayer that brings healing, but prayers said in total trust in God bring healing to God's people. God does not answer our prayer because of the level of our emotions or tears in our eyes, but the level of our trust in Him. Crying in prayer does not necessarily move God to grant our prayer request. The emotions we put into prayer sometimes could be as a result of lack of trust and confidence in God's saving powers.
The complaint of the Israelite to Moses (which concerns bringing them out from Egypt to the desert to die), made Moses cry for help like one who has already been defeated, instead of addressing the situation with prayer. Many Christians lament, wail and complain while they pray. This is a sign that God is incapable of saving them, as such they are completely distressed with their condition. There by conceiving God to be very far away and far removed from us. It was a condition like this that made the Lord said to Moses, why are you crying out for help? Address the situation with prayer by telling the people to move forward. Lift up your stick and hold it out over the sea. The water will divide, and your people will be able to walk through the sea on dry ground (Ex. 14:15).
More so, there was no immediate answer to Hannah's prayer year after year in Shiloh because she cries bitterly and subjected herself to serious sadness. There by giving the impression that God was incapable of helping her in her childless situation. I am not saying that we should not empty our hearts in prayer to God, but I want to emphasis that in our prayer, we must trust in God Completely that He alone can save us. Even when we are sad about our situation, we must address God in prayer with trust and joy believing that He has the power to save us. This approach in prayer, a way of bringing God's attention to our situation must also be done in joy. Like Hannah we must stop subjecting ourselves to bitterness, sadness and unnecessary grumbling about our situation. Rather let us learn how to celebrate and make solemn promise to God while praying believing that He alone has power to save. On the day God answered Hannah's prayer, we will discover that it was out of conviction in prayer, she said, if you give me a son, I promise that I will dedicate him to you forever. And she went away after a long time of bitterness and without eating. There after she ate some food, and was no longer sad (Is :11, 18).
Therefore, people of God, we must learn that complaint does not move God, complaint adds nothing to our faith either; sadness does not depict deep conviction, but faithlessness and lack of trust in the omnipotence and benevolence of the Almighty God. Let us therefore present our prayers to God with joy and with deep faith.
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» By Rev. Fr. Stan-William Ede
We are much familiar with the aspect of the Apostles' Creed which reads that Jesus Christ “was crucified, died and was buried, he descended into hell, the third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven”. Many people have been asking a lot of questions regarding the descent into hell and what it actually means. It all begins with the question: “Where was Jesus three days between his death and resurrection? Or rather, where did Jesus go after his death before he rose again?” The answer is: “He descended into hell”. Following this are various manners and shades of questions like, “Was it fitting for Christ to descend into hell? How could Christ's soul have gone to an evil place? Why did Jesus go to hell? What did he go to do in hell? Into which hell did Jesus descend? Did he make any stay in there?
Besides the statement made in the 5th Article of the Creed, there are a number of biblical references especially in the New Testament that imply or have been taken to mean that Jesus Christ descended into hell or to the realm of the dead before his resurrection and ascension into Heaven.
In Matt. 12:40, a comparison is drawn between Jonah being swallowed by a huge fish, and Christ being three days in the earth. In Acts 2:27 and Acts 2:31, the Bible declares in effect that Hades could not hold the crucified Christ. Two passages in the First Letter of St. Peter principally have been used as a basis for the doctrine. In 1 Pet. 3:19-20, it is written that Jesus “went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah …”. And 1 Pet. 4:6 says that the gospel was “proclaimed even to the dead …”. Also, some have interpreted 2 Cor. 2: 14 to include this doctrine where it is written: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him”. There is as well another important reference in the Bible that says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men” (Eph. 4:8-10).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.) expressly sets forth the explanation in such a way as to eradicate all the confusions and doubts associated with this teaching. The Church teaches in N. 631 that: Jesus “descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens” (Eph. 4:9-10). The Apostles' Creed confesses in the same article, Christ's descent into hell and his Resurrection from the dead on the third day, because in his Passover it was precisely out of the depths of death that he made life spring forth: “Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen” (cf. The Easter Proclamation Exultet).
The next paragraph of the same Catechism (C.C.C.) goes on to say that the frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection (Acts 3:15; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:20; cf. Heb 13:20). This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there (1 Pet 3:18-19).
As the Magisterium (Teaching Authority) of the Church explains, Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “Hell” having Norse roots, Hel; in Latin, infernus, infernum, inferi; in Greek, ?äçò (Hades); in Hebrew, ùàåì (Sheol) because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God (cf. Phil 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev 1:18; Eph 4:9; Ps. 6:6; Ps. 88:11-13). Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham's bosom” (cf. Ps 89:49; 1 Sam 28:19; Ezek 32:17-32; Lk 16:22-26). “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.” Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him (cf. C.C.C., 633).
The Early and Medieval Church Fathers also various commented on the 5th article of the Creed and taught extensively to clarify the issues at stake. According to St. Cyril of Alexandria, “The Lord preached the gospel to those in Hades, as well as to all on earth, In order that all might believe and be saved, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the gospel, as He did descend, it was either to preach the gospel to all, or to the Hebrews only. It is accordingly to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there”.
Responding to various questions that the 5th Article of the Apostle's Creed pose, St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica declares that, it was fitting for Christ to descend into hell. First of all, because he came to bear our penalty in order to free us from penalty, hence the Bible says: “Surely He hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows” (Is. 53:4). But through sin, man had incurred not only the death of the body, but also descent into hell. Consequently, since it was fitting for Christ to die in order to deliver us from death, so it was fitting for Him to descend into hell in order to deliver us also from going down into hell. Hence it is written: “O death, I will be thy death; O hell, I will be thy bite” (Hos. 13:14). Secondly, because it was fitting when the devil was overthrown by the Passion, that Christ should deliver the captives detained in hell for “Thou also by the blood of thy Testament has sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit” (Zech. 9:11). And it is written: “Despoiling the principalities and powers, He hath exposed them confidently” (Col. 2:15). Thirdly, that as He showed forth His power on earth by living and dying, so also He might manifest it in hell by visiting it and enlightening it. Accordingly it is written that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow”, not only “of them that are in heaven”, but likewise “of them that are on earth and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10).
This view had early been expressed by St. Augustine who said that Christ descended into hell to “set free all the just who were held in the bonds of original sin”. And among them was Job, who says of himself, “All that I have shall go down into the deepest pit” (Job, 17:16).
In the Catechism and teachings of Pope St. Pius X, we read that “Limbo is not the same place as Purgatory, because the souls in Purgatory suffer, while those in Limbo do not. There were in Limbo when Our Lord descended into it the souls of all those who died the friends of God, but could not enter heaven till the Ascension of Our Lord. Christ descended into Limbo to preach to the souls who were in prison that is, to announce to them the joyful tidings of their redemption. While Christ's soul was in Limbo His body was in the Holy Sepulchre”.
The American Catholic Church explains this Papal position of Pope Pius X plainly and clearly in the Baltimore Catechism, saying that, “Hell” here does not mean the place where the damned are, but a place called “Limbo”. You know that when our first parents sinned, Heaven was closed against them and us, and no human being could be admitted into it till after the death of Our Lord; for He by His death would redeem us make amends for our fall and once more open for us Heaven. Now from the time Adam sinned till the time Christ died, there were at least some good men, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and others, in the world, who tried to serve God as best they could keeping all the divine laws known to them, and believing that the Messiah would someday come to redeem them. When, therefore, they died they could not go to Heaven, because it was closed against them. They could not go to Hell, because they were good men. Neither could they go to Purgatory, because they would have to suffer there. Where could they go? God in His goodness provided a place for them Limbo where they could stay without suffering till Our Lord reopened Heaven. Therefore, while Our Lord's body laid in the Sepulchre, His soul went down into Limbo, to tell these good men that Heaven was now opened for them, and that at His Ascension He would take them there with Him.
A summation of explanations and commentaries on the subject by the Fathers of the Church and Catholic Theologians all through the ages leave us with the following synthesis: There are two truths of faith affirmed in this article of the Creed. The first is that after Christ died, his soul, separated from the body, visited the souls of the faithful departed in what has come to be called the Limbo of the Fathers. The second truth is the Resurrection of Christ from the grave on Easter Sunday. While the Resurrection of Christ is far more significant, His descent “into hell” deserves to be better known.
It is not difficult to trace the origins of the statement that, after He died, Jesus “descended into hell.” Pre-Christian Judaism is clear on the point. By whatever name it was called, Jewish believers by the time of Christ held that there was an abode of the departed just. It was assumed to be a place or state of happiness, temporary, and was to be replaced by a condition of final or permanent bliss when the Messiah came to establish His kingdom.
On the strength of this tradition, the Apostles' Creed affirms the existence of a limbo distinct from hell and purgatory for the just who had died before Christ's ascension into heaven. Because of the fall of man, heaven was closed to human beings. In other words, actual possession of the beatific vision was postponed even for those who were purified of all sin. They would enjoy the vision of God only after the Redemption was historically completed by Christ's visible ascension into heaven. This was implied in the Savior's promise to the penitent thief on Calvary. “This day”, he was assured, “you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 24:43).
The reason for Christ's visit to the faithful departed seems evident from the circumstances. He wished to reassure these justified souls that they were, indeed, redeemed and their entrance into heaven was near at hand.
St. Thomas Aquinas further explained in the Summa Theologica, that there are “two hells” in the Christian context the “Hell of the Lost” (a place of eternal condemnation) and Limbo (a place for righteous souls while they are awaiting entrance into heaven). According to him, Christ descended into each of the hells, but in different manners. For going down into the “hell of the lost”, Christ wrought this effect, that by descending thither He put them to shame and bitter torments for their unbelief and wickedness. But to them who were detained in “Limbo”, Christ gave hope of attaining to glory; that is to say, upon the holy Fathers detained in the “Limbo of the Fathers” solely on account of original sin, Christ shed the light of glory everlasting.
Our discussion therefore, boils down to this, that: “By the expression 'He descended into Hell', the Apostles' Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil 'who has the power of death' (Heb. 2:14). In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened Heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church - C.C.C., 636-637).
After three days in the heart of the earth, Christ rose from the dead as the crowning miracle of his visible stay on earth. His resurrection is the promise and prelude of our own final resurrection on the last day. He is, as St. Paul tells us, the first fruits of those who sleep. The mystery of death, which we all naturally fear, is balanced by the confident hope that we, too, will rise from the grave. And, finally, He ascended into heaven where He lives and reigns as King and Lord of heaven and earth, and of the whole universe.
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Alamieyeseigha's Pardon: A New Chapter Of Corruption
» By Rev. Fr. Leonard O. Anetekhai
The greatest shock as a Nigerian I have witness since my birth is waking up to hear of a state pardon by the almighty President Jonathan for Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, an ex-governor of Bayelsa State who was detained in London on charges of money laundering; this is not only a shock but a stigma that will continue to increase corruption in our society.
It will be interesting to hear that, a month before the arrest of Alamieyeseigha, he delivered a message, through his then deputy, Goodluck Jonathan (now President), at a seminar in Abuja on “Winning the War against Corruption”. In commending government's stride with the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau, and urged the bodies not to ignore the private sector.
In the said paper, Alamieyeseigha called for those with criminal records to be barred from elective office, “It is only in Nigeria where people who looted banks to a distress situation are allowed to use such loots to open their own banks or are given high political appointment”. Alamieyeseigha's paper titled: “Corruption Reduction Through Government Policies: The Bayelsa Experience”, highlighted “the various mechanism put in place by the state government to check corruption as it was inimical to national growth and development and as such, must be abhorred by all and sundry”.
Nice words of admonition, but from the wrong man who was reported to have a total of £1.8m in cash and bank accounts, and £1m found in cash in his London home. Alamieyeseigha jumped bail in December 2005 from the United Kingdom by allegedly disguising himself as a woman. He had hoped to continue in office as governor, which did not materialize for him.
On July 26, 2007, the fugitive governor as called, pled guilty to six charges of making false declaration of assets and 23 charges of money laundering by his companies. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Like many of his compatriots, just hours after being taken to prison, he walked home a free man, under our complicated justice system.
Naturally, one with such profiles should be made to pay for the sins of exploiting the people he was supposed to serve. But today he is been celebrated and granted pardon, probably in view of his political aspiration of becoming a senator in 2015 Oh Nigeria, a nation with dreams, but visionless leaders.
Many called for his removal and prosecution, even personality like Reuben Abati of The Guardian Newspaper in one of his write up “Alami should go: It's over”, made it clear that, “By running away from England under the cover of the night, away from the British judiciary which was probing him on charges of money laundering, by taking evasive action from the law and communicating with his feet, Alamiyeseigha, a man who until now was known and addressed as His Excellency, has shown himself to be a dishonourable fellow, unfit to rule, unfit to sit among men and women of honour and integrity, unfit to preach to the people that he leads about ideals and values... Today, he has become a presidential town crier and spoke man, and nothing seems to be wrong with a state pardon for the very man he called for his crucifixion, I guess the slogan now is “Alami should stay”: it is a new beginning. I am very sure in Ijaw land; it is a serious offence to condemn an Ijaw man for pardoning another Ijaw man for stealing money belonging to the Ijaw people. If you are in favour say I…I guess this leaves a lot of question for us to reflect on.
As many will believe, understanding Alamieyeseigha's pardon is to understand the character of the Nigerian state. There is no case to make for his pardon other than to say it is what the doctor has prescribed for him. And the doctor here we know, whether medical or native doctor is irrelevant, he has given medication. At least to secure a second term as Mr. President, he must grant pardon to the 'Governor General' of the Ijaw nation, which is the only way to secure their support in the dream of having another four years as a President.
Like the Psalmist will say, “foundation once destroyed, what can the just do”? It is a pity that corruption has taught us as Nigerians a wrong lesson that it does not pay to be honest, hardworking and law-abiding. This is because through corrupt means many political office holders have acquired wealth and properties in and outside Nigeria and display their ill-gotten wealth without the society blinking. This has, unfortunately, made politics a big and lucrative business in the society, because anything spent to secure a political office is regarded as an investment that matures immediately one gets into office.
This singular act of Mr. President transformation agenda of entrenching corruption is one that is testing the will of Nigerians, but Mr. President must be certain that our will is ours even in our abject poverty and ignorance. The only transformation we see today is the continuous increase of I-care-for-myself leaders, who are actually opportune to be at the helms of affairs, political criminals and crooks that have in one way or the others, indulged in mischievous activities. With this kind of transformation, we daily see corruption, poverty, crime and religion violence becoming the fastest growing industries in our country Nigeria this has made our hard earned democratic government worthless.
To the best of my little knowledge, the primary concern of reasonable, caring and competent leader should be the welfare of his followers. But in Nigeria, the case is different and so far while our leaders pay lip service to fight against corruption and poverty reduction, they wallow in self-adulation and obsequiousness, and never seem to be tired of asking for more benefits for themselves.
May God help us.
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Coping With Adolescent Behaviour
» By Rev. Fr. Francis Ikhianosime
One can arguably say there is no period a parent finds his or her child stranger to understand other than the adolescent stage in their life. The behaviors of these children get so strange to the confusion of what disciplinary action one can adopt. The parent(s) is/are often torn apart, especially the mother who is quick to notice these eccentric traits. They often don't know whether to be silent or to speak, whether to flog or to send them away. If the parent leaves the child to his/her whims, he/she could get bad to a state of not easily corrected, on the other hand, if the parent does not speak up, it may appear that he/she is not moving with the age of the child. Not to recognize that the child is growing up and that at each stage in the child's life, new methods of training and discipline must be adopted would be a sign of poor parenting. This confusion, not many parents are able to overcome. So, how could one cope with this behavior, knowing too well that the adulthood of the child and what he/she would become is built during this period? This is where an understanding of the adolescent period of a child is important and adopting ways of coping is not only important but non-negotiable. But to well develop this topic, we must first look at what adolescent period and the characteristics that mark this period are.
The adolescent period is often the teenage period of the child. This is more generally defined as the period from puberty to adulthood. Puberty is more characteristically known as the beginning of physiological changes and maturation in the individual; that is adult sexual characteristics like breasts, menstrual periods, pubic hair, facial hair, etc start developing. This period usually stems from 8-14 years old. These however, are only the physical signs. There are also internal signs and these are reflected in unusual behaviours. Typical adolescent behavior include many things that seem strange to parents like dyed hair, sagging of trousers by boys, odd piercings, strange music, new fashion and even making new friends. For girls, appearance means so much to them at this time. They care about their looks and want to be trendy. They thus move with many trendy styles even with technology. I must quickly add here, that many teenager get fixated at this stage and even at adulthood, they are still caught up with the fever of adolescent behaviour. These people usually are advanced in age but in behavior they have been trapped in an earlier stage in life. Be that as it may, the adolescent period is basically a time of experimentation for some teenagers. Some experiment with alcohol and drugs and sometimes sex.
Remarkably, the factor informing some of these traits and behavior is the desire for independence and this can sometimes lead teenagers to distance themselves from their families. This trait can be more worrisome as the teenager would appear to find no more solace and happiness with family members but with friends of their 'click'. This sometimes too, draws the child's participation at home backward. This latter development of weaker desire to participate in house chores is a more disturbing tendency that calls for concern.
Closely related with this tendency is increased argumentation. Teenagers who appear to find solace with friends and have more hang-out times are likely to feel that their parents do not love them or they accuse their parents of unfairness. The latter is a common misgiving amongst teenagers. This situation sometimes causes parent-child rift. It needs some understanding and techniques to handle such a teenager. Once this tendency continues for long, then, problem is properly brewing.
Of a close note is the emotional ups and down which sometimes reflect in mental change during this period. Teenagers during this period usually have intervals of moodiness. They sometimes complain of no friends once and the next time, one finds him/her hanging out with many friends. Some of these behavioural undulations are even expressed in friendships. Some friends would experience the inconsistency in reaction of teenage friends which they would time and again come to apologize for. Anxiety and sadness are two emotions that are not likely to go away. One must understand their frequent change in a pattern that may become so annoying and even irritating. But this may indicate an emotional conflict which may be resolved by attention by a close friend, family member or even a counselor.
One common factor that cannot but be mentioned is the fact of rebellion. Adolescent during their developing years are most rebellious. This rebellion is more to constituted authorities. First, there is the rebellion to parents, the school authorities and then to God. In fact, this is the period many adolescent just skip church activities for no good reason. Some who even out of coercion go to church would even not participate in events in the Church or deliberately stop going to confession, receiving communion and sometimes they even cut off their attendance of pious societies they may have hitherto belonged to. They just really seem to go blank with understanding any meaning with church, God and authorities. These authorities appear just like burden to them and they really would want to get over them. But this attitude must not be allowed to play out just like that.
The weird features of the adolescent period enumerated above seem to make this period more frightening than it may have earlier appeared or noticed. But this is not the aim of this write-up. In fact, these characteristic traits are common yet easily managed if well understood. In fact, many adults who successfully passed this stage without being terribly caught up in their own errors and naivety of the adolescent period look back with deep appreciation to those significant others whom they then hated but guided them through this period with pains, understanding and firmness. How this period can be managed is therefore our next concern.
There are a number of ways to handle this period in the life of the teen. But the foremost step would be staying informed and keeping the teen informed. By this, parents must first understand that this stage in their life has set in and then move to be more tolerant. Again, parents must make their teens good friends by keeping them informed of events in their life. The better the lines of communication are kept, the more open the child would be during this period of his/her life. You must seek to listen to your child. Know when he is beginning to give salacious jokes and beginning to be secretive. This is exactly when you should jump into asking him/her some questions. You must teach him/her the rudiments of this period especially handling things like menstruation and wet dreams. Give your child books to read on adolescence and you could share some of your experiences with your child.
Another way one can ply through this period is by setting expectations for your teen. Once a child knows the expectations he has from his/her parent, he/she would most likely want to fulfill them. Expectations like good grades, set behaviour, etc help to check unruly behaviour. The absence of expectation would make the child feels the parent does not love him/her.
Parents and adult friends must be patient with their adolescent ward. They must put themselves in the shoes of their teen and slow down the hammer. Again, parents and guardians must not been seen speaking on every issue. Not all battles the parent must enter into. Once they are not so harmful, you may choose to overlook. This does not mean not speaking at all, but not exerting any much pressure for change. For instance, if he wants to wear a particular hairstyle, as long as it does not affect the moral outlook of the child, you can choose to be indifferent. Nevertheless, such a parent should speak up with changing friends whom they do not know or if the child starts keeping late nights, experimentation with drugs, tobacco, alcohol or even sex. Closely associated with this is the fact that, parents must learn to know the friends of their children at this stage, where they go and equally set time when they should return. Peer influence is very strong during this time.
Be that as it may, parents must learn to respect the privacy of their teen at this period. By this, parents should not just invade the rooms of their adolescent child. Although, once warning signs are imminent, parents could invade their privacy till they get to the heart of the matter. Otherwise, there should be respect of the fact that they are becoming adults and there should be a respect for privacy. Text messages, e-mails, telephone callers, should be the privacy of the adolescent child. Once these are unduly invaded, the child could cause rebellion and funny reactions. Parents should learn to trust their children. Once confidence is reposed on them, they most likely would respond to the obligation of confidence- good behaviour.
Further, parents must similarly monitor what their adolescent read and see. This is not a violation of their privacy. During this period, there are a handful of information available to the teenage child. Parents should not be afraid to make rules on what they read and not allow too much of screen time and even too much of visit to the internet. While these should be encouraged, preoccupation in them may lead to fallen grades and even corruption of morals. Accessing the internet and viewing of programmes must not be left to the privacy of the adolescent child.
Parents must equally encourage responsibility during this period. Adolescent children should be given tasks. They could be made to handle cooking at particular times, or given other adult responsibilities with supervision. This makes them feel accepted and responsible. Teens could be allowed private time to be alone sometimes during the day. Conversely, parents should learn to spend some time with their adolescent children during this period to discuss their future dreams. During the adolescent period, the teens are likely to lose sight of their dreams for the future. In discussing with them like this, their vision and purposes are refreshed.
Parents must equally loosen the rope tighten on their children at this time. Parents must learn to explain unacceptable behavior on their children at this time. Since this is the period of argumentation, they want to know why they are prevented from doing certain things. Only with an explanation would they have reason why they should not venture into such an act again. Parents must be aware that certain disciplinary actions are not most appropriate for the adolescent child. The way a child of 8-13 years old would be punished may be different from the way one of 15-20 should be punished. Again, the mode and place of correction is important. Once a child is reproved openly, the child would not take to correction.
Lastly, parents must learn to love their children. They must emphasize their strength above their weaknesses. They must let them know what they worth and why they must not afford to lose their value and worth. Parents must find things they love about their adolescent children and always look at it when they feel irritated by the weird adolescent behaviour. They must above all be patient and commend them to God at all times. Coping with adolescent behaviour must be with one motto: we are going through this together and we are coming out of this together. Eventually, the adolescent years wear out, and maturity, understanding, discipline and devotion set in.
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Integrity And Nation Building
» By Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua
Education and educational process from elementary to higher education is a place we can learn and identify character and integrity in people. In our secondary school days a certain student was known to be a notorious thief. He was a torn in the flesh of everybody around him. The school had a great relief when he withdrew from school voluntarily. Surprise! The next thing we heard was that he had joined the police force. We thought it was a lie or a joke or a funny “April fool” until we saw him in full police uniform collecting money from taxi drivers along the road of a busy market. One day, he was not on duty but he mounted a road block and was aggressively forcing money out of every driver. On another day, he forced money out of a person who turned out to be a police officer who arrested him and eventually sacked him from the force. After his release from detention, he continued to use the police uniform to rob until luck ran out of him and his gang. He was arrested and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to life imprisonment.
It is interesting that the present leadership of the police force is insisting on academic qualifications and moral integrity as part of the requirements for recruitment into the police force. On December 22, 2012, Premium times reported that “Nigeria Police College sacks 500 trainees for theft, forgery,” stealing, health challenges and indiscipline. “The recruit intake Batch 1/2011 course was inaugurated in October 2011. This was revealed by the Acting Commandant of the college, Adekunle Oladunjoye, a deputy Commissioner of Police during the graduation of 4,484 recruits in Kaduna. The Inspector General of the Police, Mohammed Abubakar charged the new graduates to diligently discharge their primary duty of protecting people's lives and property.
I was reading Eugenia Abu's “In the Blink of an Eye, 2007” with gusto until I got trapped in her reflection on “As if it isn't London.” Eugenia narrated her experience in London and what some Nigerians do with themselves in “oyibo” empire. In Page 103-104, see how she reacts to the attitude of some Nigerians with post graduate degrees and professionals who are employed to sweep gutters, clean public toilets and serve as “oyibo” gardeners: “Is this London? Give me a break. London is an illusion. Would you not rather earn N500.00 a month (which to us Londoners is a mere £25 and have a messenger greet you “Morning Madam” than clean London streets for £500 a month. There is a word for one of the options: Integrity. For those who chose integrity, home is where to be!”
Given that “home is home” and that it is difficult to “be a king in another person's land” the lingering question is to what extent we have made our communities an enviable home that one would love to return to. Our traditional societies have a modus operandi and a mode of law to instil discipline and integrity in the community. Our communities in the past rewarded virtue and punished vice. Children where questioned by their parents about where and how they got things that were not provided by the parents. The greed for wealth was minimal because the value of name and integrity was held in a very high esteem. Even in marriage, enquiries and investigations were carried out, to ascertain the integrity of the man and the moral probity of the woman before marriage. There were checks and balances in our various communities.
It is obvious that no one can be intelligent without maintaining one's integrity. Intelligence that is devoid of integrity can at best be classed as cleverness that is couched in trick and masking of a person's true identity. Such a person lives in fear of being discovered and so live a life of deception. The fact however is that one may succeed in deceiving the people around but cannot deceive oneself. This schizophrenic life style that is devoid of integrity marks a person as a walking corpse. These are the kind of people that should revisit the saying of Socrates: “man knows thyself!”
Integrity is like “good palm oil” that needs no advertisement. If Nigerians believe that “there is no discrimination in excellence”, it will be easy to identify, good, honest, patriotic and selfless citizens who can add candour and honour to the various communities and the nation at large. The problem however, is that Nigerians keep shouting corruption without identifying the corrupt and shameless people who prefer worldly gains to their names and the attendant reputation. This is often crowned by giving chieftaincy titles and honorary degrees to people that are known to be spiritually, intellectually and morally bankrupt. This is not the best way to teach the future generation the value of life and the honour that should be a reward for people of true integrity and moral probity. The word “integrity” is derived from a latin adjective, “integer” meaning “whole” and “complete”. The ingredient of integrity is honesty and consistency that defines the content of a person's character. A person of integrity is accountable and responsible for his or her actions. Integrity is often manifested in the way and manner a person maintains principles that do not contradict human nature.
It is easier to dialogue with people who are conscious of integrity, respect and honour in nation building. It is becoming very obvious that no nation can be built on deceit and hypocrisy which is the opposite of integrity. It means that any nation that cares about a transformation agenda must test the attitude and aptitude of her citizens by giving honour to whom honour is due and encourage those who are striving to be men and women of integrity by creating various types of job opportunities where the citizens can contribute to the nation in their different areas of expertise. When people are challenged with meaningful responsibilities, they tend to use the given space to display and manifest their professionalism. Otherwise we shall remain in a world for a very long time where people are not proud of who they are. We may continue in a situation where for instance, a medical doctor would prefer to be a politician or a business man at the expense of his professional fulfilment. Today some professional teachers are shy to be seen as teachers because of the attendant poverty in the teaching industry. Today many people prefer the political industry for solace and succour whereas they are trained professionals in various fields who should be given a space to build up their capacity with a high sense of professional fulfilment instead of looking else where for their sustenance. I wish every profession is given the true value to such an extent that every worker will have a sense of belonging.
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» By Pharm. Nzewi
DISLIPIDAEMIA: To understand lipidaemia, we recall what lipid is. When the substance lipid is liquid at room temperature, it is called oil and when it is solid at room temperature, it is called fat. This is to say that oil and fat are different forms of lipid. Lipids are insoluble in the blood plasma. They are often carried in the blood in combined form. Commonly, they are combined with proteins to form spherical bodies or particles called lipoproteins. Two common types of lipoprotein are known and these are 1, the low density lipoprotein (LDLs), and 2, the high density lipoprotein (HDLs). While the HDLs contain 21% cholesterol, the LDLs contains 55% cholesterol. The higher the amount of the HDL, and the lower the LDLS in the blood, the better for the human health. The low Density lipoprotein is males, the LDL levels increase gradually with age. This is attributed to testosterone. In females, it is known that the effect of estrogen increases the HDLs thereby is a protective measure between puberty and o human menopause. Any disorder in the metabolism of lipoprotein will increase plasma concentration of total cholesterol i.e. the HDLs and the LDLs.
Diet is one of the common contributory factors to cardiovascular disease. Other contributory factors include hypertension, and smoking. The first stage is the development of atherosclerosis and hence heart or cardiovascular disease. It has been established that animals fed on high fat diet developed artery disease. The incidence of cardiovascular is low in people who are not into high intake of fat and fatty food. It is still emphasized that as much as possible intake of saturated fatty acids e.g. butter must be avoided. Endeavour to reduce the cholesterols in the blood as this is beneficial to human health. Today, there are blood fat, and cholesterol reducing teas.
High blood pressure can give opportunity for cardiovascular disease to set in. It is - therefore important to guard against the precipitators of hypertension such as stress, obesity, smoking, excessive intake of alcohol, diabetes, and lack of exercise. Where there is genetically established hypertension, the Individual should adopt a tight control on hypertension under the supervision or the management of a medical doctor. A careful adoption of healthy lifestyle will save one from the problems of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Smoking has a lot of negative effect on the human health. Smoking is a very bad life style. The smoker exposes himself to many dangers to good health. These include lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Smokers are more exposed to cardiovascular disorders than non smokers.
To avoid heart attack, stroke, heart failure, cardiovascular (Heart) disease, you must make conscious effort to care for your heart. Carelessness and ignorance to importance of good lifestyle have sent so many people to early grave. Exercise, smoking, drinking, eating, diabetes, stress are factors of life that need careful attention and good care. It is also important to have family history of heart diseases. This will guide against laxity on control and tight control on lifestyle that usually open the way to cardiovascular diseases.
Just as smoking damages the human lungs, so also it damages the heart by subjecting it to heart attack. As the smoker stops smoking, the degeneration of the heart to heart attack is also stopped. A smoker who is praying for long life is not serious. If you desire to live long, you have to stop smoking.
It can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure, and cause malnourishment. The alcoholic is usually not interested in food and this condition gives way to malnourishment and pale presentation. Malnourishment then gives way to opportunistic diseases. If you cannot completely stop alcohol, do not exceed just a small volume of it daily.
Salt must be sparingly consumed and where necessary completely avoided. Salt can cause increase in blood pressure and high blood pressure increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Minimize the food added to food and guide against consumption of marketed foods such as crisps, salted nuts, canned food baked beans, pizzas, ready meals, canned vegetables, suya meat, salted biscuits etc. Foods rich in saturated fats are also to be avoided.
The importance of exercise to human health can never be over emphasized. The health standard of the heart is high when the individual is the exercising type. Exercise is very good for the heart, and can keep away coronary heart diseases like heart failure and heart attack. Too many people today are so occupied that they do not have time for exercise. For the sake of good health, mental alertness, and overall wellbeing, you must aim at daily exercise of about 3Omins.
Overweight is not good for the sake of good health, smartness, and basic hygiene. It exposes the individual to diabetes and heart disease. If you are already overweight, a conscious effort, and determination to the type of food you eat is a great remedy followed by exercise.
High blood pressure is used to be called the disease of old age but today it is also found among the younger ones. As part of the effort to keep the heart healthy, it is advised that one checks ones blood pressure regularly and maintain a tight control on the blood pressure. The higher the blood pressure is, the higher the risk of life threatening conditions, such as stroke or heart attack. Cholesterol tends to increase blood pressure so there must a control of intake of food. Avoid saturated fats as they are turned into cholesterol by the liver. The cholesterol finds its way into the blood where it can be deposited along the walls of the coronary arteries. The deposition increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and disturbed good blood circulation. Food rich in fiber is known to lower blood cholesterol. Such foods include beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, wheat, pulses, and lentils. Exercise also lowers blood cholesterol.
Rest is important for the heart. Take a holiday because it offers the opportunity to rest. Drinking and smoking exacerbate stress and that way quickening the journey to heart to heart problems.
Heart problem may be genetically. Here the problem is known to run in the family. This calls for early and disciplined check on lifestyle.
Wake up to useful information. Be anxious to acquire knowledge as it will save you from a lot of discomfort, ill health and even untimely death. Also prevention is better than cure. When there is tightness around the chest, breathlessness, discomfort at the chest, neck, arm, or stomach, on exertion but absent in the state of relaxation, there is need to go to the physician. Ignoring these signs may subject one to angina and heart attack.
These health tips are basically from British Health Foundation.
Weight control and regular exercise are very important for a healthy heart. Know what to eat and what not to eat. This will help to lower bad cholesterol, control blood pressure, blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight.
Avoid fats such as found in butter, margarine, fatty meat. Use oil free from cholesterol such as Olive oil, sunflower oil. Avoid too much egg and fried egg. Avoid snacks, ice creams, dairies, chips. Eat freely fruits and vegetables. Take a lot of water instead of sugar and high calorie drinks. Red wine is also good for the heart. Eat foods such as fiber, protein, fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds. To lower cholesterol use fish, walnuts, and other nuts, olive oil, fish, oat meal. Fish such as salmon and herring help to control cholesterol. Omega- fish fatty acids contained in fish is also good for the heart.
NOTE; Labels such as “cholesterol free” or low cholesterol may not be 100% correct. Finally, our body and our health need careful but not careless attention.
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The Sacrament Of Anointing Of The Sick
» By Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Okafor
The Sacrament of Anointing of the sick is a viable means through which those who are sick experience the love of God. Jesus the Saviour of the world revealed God's love for mankind through his healing ministry. He went about healing the sick and restoring those who were held bound by various problems. That same ministry he entrusted to his apostles (Mt 10:1; Jn 20:21) and his mystical body, the Church, who today identifies with the sick through the Sacrament of Anointing. The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament of faith. It is based on the faith of the Church in her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Every baptized person is called to express the same faith in Jesus Christ through the Sacrament of Anointing of the sick.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1); that is, a humble reliance or dependence on God It is the foundation of Christian life; without it, it is impossible to please God or obtain request from him (Heb 11:6). Anyone who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, should not expect to receive anything from God (Jas 1:6-8). To doubt is to have double mind (Jas 1:7).
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick is derived from the activities of the Apostles of Jesus who went out preaching the Gospel and anointed those who were sick and cured them (Mk 6:13). Similarly, St. James admonished Christians in the early Church to call on the Presbyters to anoint the sick (Jas 5:14-15). The Sacrament of Anointing was formerly known as extreme unction, because it was administered to those who were at the point of death. In ancient times people dreaded this Sacrament because it was regarded as the last sacrament before death. It was believed that whoever received this Sacrament had no hope of recovery, he was sure to die. This was upon the common practice that existed in the 5th Century, when Pope Innocent 1 (401-417AD) declared that anointing should not be administered to sinners before reconciliation. This means that the Sacrament of Anointing must be administered after the Sacrament of reconciliation. This is because the Sacrament of Anointing is a sacrament of the living hence it must be received in the state of grace.
The Sacrament of reconciliation was often postponed till the time of death. It was at death bed that people often reconciled to God and the Church. Similarly, since the Pope held that the Sacrament of Anointing be administered after confession, this Sacrament was deferred till the moment of death, thus it became known as the last Sacrament or extreme unction. Even when reconciliation was no longer only at the time of death, the Anointing of the Sick was still left till when death was imminent. The reason was to ensure that the recipient was incapable of further sin. At the Council of Trent (1545) it was regarded as a misnomer to anoint one only at the point of death. The Second Vatican Council gave a new impetus to this Sacrament first, by changing the name from Extreme Unction to Anointing of the Sick, second by stating that this Sacrament is not for those at the point of death only but as soon as any of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this Sacrament has certainly already come (Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 73). The emphasis here is not necessarily the medical status but the spiritual powerlessness resulting from illness or old age.
The central reality of this sacrament is the Grace of the Holy Spirit. This is depicted by the laying on of hands in silence on the sick by the priest, thereby trusting in the grace of the Holy Spirit to restore the sick to health. The three distinct aspects of this Sacrament are: the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands and the anointing with oil.
The Meaning of Anointing
Anointing generally mean to consecrate or make sacred. It is a sign of the outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit on the recipient. Oil is a powerful symbol of healing, health and strength. To anoint the sick is to consecrate them to God asking for healing for them. It enables the sick to embrace the challenges posed by illness and death.
The effects of the Sacrament of Anointing
• The Sacrament of Anointing of the sick brings about a spiritual healing, through it the sick have the strength to bear suffering and resist evil. It gives grace to overcome anxiety, depression of spirit and temptation to despair. Anxiety, weakness in faith, depression, discouragement and self-withdrawal are some of the effects of sickness. Through the Sacrament of Anointing the Church shares in the burden of the sick and empowers them to bear the burden of sickness and express faith in God, thereby sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
• The Sacrament of Anointing remits venial sins, removes any remaining sin and its remnant as well as increasing sanctifying grace.
• It aids in restoring health of the body for the good of the soul.
Anointing of the Sick is no longer the last Sacrament, rather, Holy Communion administered as viaticum (food for the journey) is the last sacrament. It is important that Catholics know the importance of this sacrament and they should ensure that a priest is contacted as soon as one is seriously sick.
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Auchi Diocese Celebrates Chrism Mass
The Catholic Diocese of Auchi has recently celebrated the 2013 Chrism Mass with thanksgiving to God for the gift of the priesthood.
Delivering the homily at the Holy Mass, the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia who noted that the day was the birthday of the holy priesthood of Christ, stressed that the Priests, Religious and Lay faithful of the Diocese gather to reflect on the sacrifice of which no other sacrifice is greater than, adding that there is nothing compare to the gift of the priesthood instituted by Jesus Christ.
Continuing, the Shepherd of souls enjoined all present to be willing to do the will of God, noting that doing the will of God was what made Christ to come in form of human to sacrifice himself for humanity, as he is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, pointing out that even when it was clear that he was going to suffer and die on the cross, was not deterred but rather obeyed the will of the father.
More, the Prelate pointed out that in Holy Mass, Christ is always the one who offers himself through his ordained priests, adding that the Blessed Virgin Mary was a clear example to all, as she was willing to do the will of the father without hesitation, affirming that doing the will of God implies; hearing, knowing God, listening, obedient to God, understanding God and surrendering one's life to Him, adding that in order for them to do the will of God perfectly, the following commands should be observed; doing the will of God, proclaiming the good news of God, setting the captives and oppressed free, comforting the downtrodden and giving all the people of good will the promises of God.
Further, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese noted that, man constituting a problem on earth is a clear manifestation that man has refused to do the will of God, stressing that the problems of corruption, killing among others are as a result of man disobedient to God, urging all present to make the will of God a priority over other things to enable all things go smoothly and prayed God to give them grace to be able to continue to do His will.
In the vote of thanks, Rev. Fr. Peter Ayala who praised the Bishop for the event, commended Priests, Religious and Lay faithful of the Diocese for attending the 2013 Chrism Mass to celebrate with the Bishop and Priests and prayed God to bless them.
Speaking with our correspondent shortly after the mass, Rev. Fr. John Aligamhe who noted that the celebration was to mark the gift of the priesthood instituted by Jesus Christ and the Bishop, Priests, Religious and Lay faithful of the Diocese gather to celebrate the Chrism mass and also for the priests to renew their priestly commitment, asserting that the event was a great day in the life of the church, as it was to re-enact what Jesus Christ instituted for the Church, stressing that as the birthday of the priesthood of Christ, every priests had participated in the mass, while describing the 2013 celebration as a huge success.
In her reaction, a parishioner from St. John the Apostle, Igarra, Mrs. C.O Sumanu who equally described the event as wonderful and remarkable, noted that this year's celebration recorded a large turn out of faithful from all parishes, mass centres and out stations to celebrate with the Bishop and priests of the diocese and prayed God to continue to bless them with more strength to shepherd His flocks.
Highpoint of the event was the renewal of priestly commitment to the Bishop by all priests present, presentation of oil of catechumen, oil of chrism and oil the sick, thanksgiving procession to the altar by all parishes, mass centre's, out stations, lay apostolate groups and individuals.
Be Protectors Of God’s Gifts - Pope Francis
The Holy father Pope Francis, has reiterated the need for all to love, care and protect all things created by God, particularly the poor and the needy.
This was contained in His homily at the inauguration mass for his Petrine ministry at St. Peter Basilica, Rome.
According to the pontiff, “the vocation of being a protector, however is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving every one, stressing that being a protector is to be able to care and protect the nature and all things created by God, as it means respecting the environment in which we live.
Continuing, the Bishop of Rome affirmed that “it means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need who are often the last we think about”, noting that… “caring for one another in our families, husbands and wives, first protect one another and them as parents, they care for their children and children themselves in time, protect their parents”, adding that building sincere friendship in which we protect one another in trust, respect and goodness, In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection and all of us are responsible for it…”
Further, the shepherd of souls pointed out that “when human beings fail to live up to their responsibility towards their fellow human beings and creation, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened”, and appealed to all in authority to “protect creation and the underprivileged members of the society, particularly the poor and needy because power is basically given to those in authority to serve the people and not lord it over them.” He hinted that” please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life and all men and women of Goodwill; let us be protectors of creation, protectors of Gods plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment: let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world”, he added.
More, the Pope affirmed that “to be protectors, we also have to keep watch over ourselves. Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives. Being protectors, then also means keeping watch over our emotion, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intention that build up and tear down”, stressing that “we must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness”.
Reminding all present that power means service, the Holy father pointed out that “let us never forget that authentic power is service and that the Pope too, when exercising power must enter more into the service which has its radiant culmination on the cross, adding that “… he must open his arms to protect all of Gods people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those who Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison,(cf. Mt 25:31-46). While urging all the people of the world to rise up to the challenge using all they have to protect with love all that God has given us, especially the poorest”.
Pope Francis was born on November 17, 1936 in Buenus Aires as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, whose father was a railway worker who immigrated to Argentina from Italy and Francis is one of his five children.
Personal Conversion Is Important To Reconciliation - Archbishop Kasujja
The Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, has stressed on the importance of personal conversion and courage in overcoming prejudices as factor for sincere reconciliation.
This was contained in his goodwill message to the colloquium on peace and reconciliation: A Nigerian conversion in the light of Africae Munus organized by the catholic secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), at Daughter of Divine Love Retreat and conference centre, (DRACC), Lugbe, Abuja.
Continuing, Archbishop Kasujja who harped on the exhortation of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI in Africae Munus which calls on all the faithful to become agents of reconciliation within the ecclesial and social communities in which they live and work, stressed that “ All right thinking people can easily agree that sincere dialogue between rival groups is the only way to address differences and promote tolerance which is built on mutual acceptance and understanding”, noting that “to put this into practice is not easy especially when the parties have grievances and nurse past wounds”, adding that “ it requires forgiveness and wisdom.
According to the prelate, the part played by the Catholic Church in Nigeria in promoting such dialogue especially between Christians and Muslims is known and also recognized on the international stage as it attracted international awards for Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the president of the Catholic Bishops conference, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama during the past year”, while he prayed that the colloquium in the spirit of Africae Munus will facilitate peace and reconciliation in the country.
In His address, the secretary General of the CSN, Very Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu who described the colloquium as the right step in the right direction and at the right time for the church in the country, added that “it gives us the great pleasure to witness event which has brought together Bishops, Priests, Religious, Lay faithful from different parts of Nigeria and beyond, to deliberate on the mission of the Church in this challenging times in our country and the world” and expressed gratitude to Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria for contributing to success of the colloquium.

Auchi Diocese Host National Executive Nurses Guild Of Nigeria
The National Catholic Nurses Guild of Nigeria (CNGN), has recently held a two-day conference at the Catholic Diocese of Auchi Pastoral Centre, Sabo-Iyakpi.
Delivering the homily at the opening mass celebrated with Rev.fr. Leonard Anetekhai, the Chaplain of Oyo Diocese chapter, Rev Fr. J. P Egunjobi, classified parenting style of leadership as authoritative, permissive and neglected, and authoritarian, stressing that each parent has a way of disciplining their children. He added that proper method of disciplining a child should be adopted to enable them raise their children in order for the fear of God and in order them to become better future leaders in the society.
Continuing, Fr. Egunjobi hinted that God is not an authoritarian or authoritative father, rather, He is always compassionate in nature, as He is merciful and always ready to forgive their wrongs and enjoined all present to shun their sinful ways and return to God. Further he stressed that they should be willing to correct their mistakes, as inability for them to turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins will deprive them from receiving His abundant blessings.
More, the homilist charged all not to judge people with their past, pointing out that as humans, they should be compassionate to others, affirming that prayers and fasting are some of the ways to make their spirit come alive and enhance better communication with God and tasked all present to lead their children to Christ, while praying God to grant them the grace to be compassionate to others.
In his remarks, the chaplain Nurses guild of Nigeria, Auchi Diocese, Rev. Fr. Leonard Anetekhai who on behalf of the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, welcomed members to the diocese, appreciated them for coming, noting that as a young diocese, a lot of developmental projects is taking place in the pastoral centre.
Fr. Anetekhai commended members for coming to deliberate on better ways of moving the Guild forward and enjoined them to remain united to enable succeed in their endeavour, while tasking them to continue to use their profession to impact positively on others and wished them a fruitful deliberation.
Appreciating the Bishop of the diocese, the chaplain, members of the guild Auchi diocese for accepting to host them, the national President of the group Mrs. Rosalyn Okoobo, commended all for their cooperation and urged Catholic Nurses who are not members of the group to join them, adding that it would serve as an opportunity for them to contribute to the Church and the society, stressing that the meeting was an opportunity for them to deliberate on issues affecting the Guild and suggest ways of moving them forward.

Training On Natural Family Planning Holds In Auchi
In a bid to educate couples on the issues of natural family planning and Billing's method, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Auchi in conjunction with Pro-life Association of Nigeria for Billing method and Natural family planning, have trained couples at the Diocesan pastoral centre, Sabo Iyakpi.
Welcoming participants to the programme, the Bishop of the Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia who appreciated the facilitator of the programme Rev. Sr. (Dr.) McSweeney for her wonderful job all over the country, noted that couples in Nigeria are not living on the natural family planning ordained by God and enjoined participants to utilize the knowledge gained from the training effectively and prayed God to reward the organizer for the event.
On his part, the Cathedral Administrator Rev. Fr. Valentine Anaweokhai who enjoined all present to use the training positively, affirmed that the event was timely, as there was the need to educate all couples on proper family planning and Billing method and commended the facilitator for her effort in making the event possible, while appreciating all that has contributed to the success of the training.
Speaking on some of the advantages of the programme, the facilitator Rev. Sr. (Dr.) Leonie McSweeney, noted that Billing method would help couples to promote happy marriage life, stressing that it will help childless couple to achieve pregnancy, help breastfeeding mothers limit size of family, pre-select sex of their baby and also help a husband and wife to understand their combined fertility through a dialogue that brings them together with increasing peace and enjoined participants to make use of the lessons learnt effectively to enhance a better and happy family life.
Highlight of the event also featured interactive session among participants.

The Appearance Of The Lord Is Our Blessed Hope - Bishop Dunia
…As Immaculate Conception Cathedral Marks Palm Sunday
The Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia has harped on the need for faithful not to lose hope, stressing that the appearance of the Lord is their blessed hope. This was contained in one of his homily delivered at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.
The Chief Shepherd of the Diocese who assured faithful that God is their father and through baptism they have become adopted children of God, affirmed that anyone that lives according to the way of the Lord will inherit the kingdom of God on the last day and charged all present to protect their Christian values that will enable them receive His blessings.
Continuing, the Prelate pointed out that Jesus has bequeathed peace unto them hence they should always feel great no matter the circumstances they might find themselves, adding that God is immutable hence His promise does not change, while urging them to make themselves available for Jesus by making Him their best friend all the days of their lives.
The Shepherd of souls tasked all faithful not to let anything intimidate them from attaching their lives to God, as His grace will keep them to the end, stressing that the blessed hope of Christ is for their salvation to be firm, while enjoining all present to renew their baptismal promises individually and they should take their baptism seriously and also by embarking on spiritual retreat.
Further, the Bishop charged them not to postpone the spiritual nourishment as they should be concerned with the honest, sincere and faithful friend who will never deny them and is always available and ready to bless them at all times and prayed God to grant them the grace to be able to witness His appearance on the last day.
In another development, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi has marked Palm Sunday, the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem.
Delivering the homily in one of the masses, Rev. Fr. Kinsley Okodugha who harped on the need for Catholic faithful and leaders to continue to trust and be obedient to Jesus Christ, noted that it was humility that made Christ die on the cross for the redemption of mankind, adding that through obedience, ones victory in life is sure.
Continuing, Fr. Okodugua enjoined all present to emulate the exemplary qualities of Jesus and urged leaders and all faithful to shun pride and inordinate urge to acquire material possession, as it would deter them from enjoying Gods abundant blessings.
Further, the homilist charged faithful not to always react negatively to issues as they unfold, stressing that it would amount to total chaos, while urging them to utilize the message of God to enhance their wellbeing. He added that worries, stress and other challenges when committed to God in prayers, obedience and trust, will enable them triumph in life and live a happy life and urged them to learn how to treat those around them with love.
He further prayed God to grant them the grace to live a life of obedience, humility and happiness.
Meanwhile, the event also featured blessing and distribution of palm to all present as well as procession round the church premises.
St. James Re-organize BCC
As part of efforts to cater for the spiritual needs and enhance effective relationship of parishioners of St. James Catholic Church, Waterboard, Auchi, the Rector of the Mass Centre Rev. Fr. Francis Emodogo has re-organized their Basic Christian Community, (BCC).
Delivering the homily at the mass, Fr. Emodogo noted that the reading of the day proclaimed liberation as priest Ezra was able to bring the message of liberation to the people Israel and they responded as well. He implored all present to always respond to the message of God, as prompt response to the message of God will attract positive things in their lives.
Continuing, the priest admonished faithful to continue to give adequate attention to the word of God by studying and meditating on them at all time, stressing that studying the Bible at the family level is very essential as the family is the first domestic church and urged them to shun any act that will deprive them from receiving the word of God, while cautioning against distractions during masses.
More, the homilist explained that gathering people in the synagogue during the time of Jesus Christ is likened to the gathering of Catholics in the BCC, sharing the word of God and enjoined parishioners to fix their minds on Jesus Christ so that His word will yield fruit in their lives.
Meanwhile the re-organization process includes the newly created St. John BCC which comprise Igbira camp and its environs making it four BCC in the mass centre. The other three existing ones are St. Rita, St. James and St. Michael.
Meanwhile the rector of the mass centre is embarking on Thursday BCC evening mass geared towards boosting the spiritual growth and encourage brotherliness among the catholic community in the area
National Directors Of Education Meet At Onitsha
The National association of catholic directors/secretaries of education, has recently held their annual conference at Madonna Renewal Centre, Nkpor, Onitsha Anambra State, with the theme “Return of Schools to Voluntary Agencies: Its Effects and Challenges”.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the conference signed by the chairman Very Rev. Fr. Richard Omolade and the secretary Rev. Fr. Matthew O. Otuji, the members commended the efforts of some states governors who have returned schools to their rightful owners, stressing that they are sustaining the cause of educating children and enjoined other states who have not done so to return schools to their original owners in order to enhance holistic formation of children.
Further, the communiqué condemned every form of indiscipline especially examination malpractices in schools and urged all stakeholders in education to remain in their decision to instill discipline through hard work and dedication to duty and charged all examination bodies and law enforcement agencies to enforce the existing laws against examination malpractices.
The communiqué revealed that “we commend parents, teachers and administrators in the various roles and responsibilities and request their continuous contributions towards the growth and development of education in order to overcome the challenges facing education in our nation” and expressed dismay that the nation's indigenous languages are gradually going into extinction, while encouraging the teaching and learning of indigenous languages in schools.
More, the directors/secretaries tasked all to put in more effort to restore the lost glories of the nation's educational system by upholding the goals and objectives of Catholic education through effective management, stressing that to achieve the objective of providing holistic education, qualified, competent and committed teachers must be employed and be motivated accordingly.

Ibillo Holds Two-Day Seminar/Workshop
St. Peter Catholic Church, Ibillo has recently organized a two-day seminar/workshop for parishioners on integrated cassava based product and cassava based confectionaries.
Welcoming participants to the occasion, the parish administrator and facilitator of the programme Rev. Fr. Godrick Shaba, who commended all present for attending the events, noted that the seminar/workshop was to intimate and educate them on importance of cassava to national development, stressing that the significance of cassava cannot be overemphasized.
Continuing, Fr. Shaba implored participants to take the seminar/workshop seriously, as it aims at sensitizing them on some of the blessings embedded in cassava products, adding that Ibillo is blessed with abundant cassava, hence they should know its important and how to effectively utilize it, to enhance and improve their standard of living.
Educating the participants on how flour can be processed from cassava products, a corps member serving in Ugboshi Afe community Mr. Ngama Chukwudi, pointed out that flour from cassava products can also be used for baking bread, cake, donuts and confectionaries, adding that if properly utilized, it will be of great benefit to the people who depend on it for survival and enjoined all present to invest more on cassava, as it would further enhance their economic wellbeing and commended the parish administrator Rev Fr. Godrick Shaba and his assistant Rev. Fr Sylvester Attashie for organizing the event.
Meanwhile the seminar/workshop also featured practical on how to produce soya milk, yoghurt and others.
NFCS Holds Orientation For New Students
As part of effort to sensitize the newly admitted students in Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi for 2012/2013 academic session, the National Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS), St Augustine Chaplaincy, recently organized orientation exercise for their new students.
Delivering the homily at the mass, the Chaplain of the chaplaincy Rev. Fr. Anthony Erin-Ola who tasked the new students to a righteous life on campus, stressed that they should continue to imbibe the virtue of Christ who died on the cross to redeem mankind, adding that they should shun any act that would affect their studies.
Continuing, Fr. Erin-Ola enjoined them to take their studies seriously, noting that their major aim of coming to Auchi Polytechnic is to acquire knowledge and make their parents proud. He also stressed that sin and corrupt activities are some of the things that would deprive them from attaining their goal, while urging them to pray to God for wisdom and strength to enable them succeed.
In their separate remarks, Sir George Umoru and Mr. Peter Aliu who enjoined the new students to be focused on their studies, noted that hard work and dedication to study is a sure way to their success, adding that they should serve as instrument of peace to others, while enjoining them to shun any act capable of affecting their studies.
The occasion also featured talks, chorography, drama presentation, among others.
The Church Recognizes The Value Of Social Networks - Archbishop Adewale
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Most. Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, has affirmed that the Catholic Church recognizes the values embedded in the social networks, stressing that it should be used effectively for evangelization of the kingdom of God.
He dropped this hint recently, during a visit of the Diocesan directors of Social Communications at the Archbishop's Court, Marina, Lagos.
The Archbishop who welcomed all present to the Archdiocese of Lagos, noted that the role of Catholic media workers in propagating the gospel of Christ cannot be emphasized, adding that the different documents of the church has constantly reminded them on how vital communication is in the Church and pointed out that the work of social communication requires committed people who are ready to disseminate the message of the Church to the world, adding that the message of the Church is the message of Jesus Christ.
Continuing, the prelate reiterated that communication is very important in the life of the Church, he stressed that though the new social media has ups and downs, but should be used effectively to promote the work of Christ, while frowning at the attitude of those using the social media negatively, describing it as unfortunate.
The Shepherd of Souls enjoined all present to see the gathering as an opportunity for them to learn from one another and share better ways of disseminating information effectively among the people of God, adding that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), is concerned about how to reach out to people, so that they can use the social networks positively, while imploring all present to remain committed to the effective usage of social networks in information dissemination.
St. James CCRN Hold Retreat
The Divine Praise Prayer Group of Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), St. James Waterboard, Auchi chapter, has held a three day retreat tagged “Anointing that breaks the yoke”.
In a talk delivered by the Priest in residence Rev. Fr. Anthony Erin-Ola, he noted that repentance begins when one decides to turn from their old ways to a better and positive life, while charging all present to turn to Christ who came to redeem them from eternal condemnation through His death and resurrection.
Continuing, Fr. Erin-Ola who enjoined faithful not to shift blames, but should rather seek for forgiveness from God, tasked all present to desist from bad behaviour that would hinder them from receiving God's abundant blessings and urged them to continue to promote brotherly love and unity among members.
In his talk titled “dwelling in the presence of the Lord”, Brother Pele explained that dwelling in the presence of God means been in constant communication with God where divinity and humanity settle the issues of life, stressing that Christians should connect themselves to God through prayer, fasting and the studying of His word.
Continuing, Bro. Pele emphasized that anointing is the power of God and the Holy Spirit in action, adding that by the reason of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, yokes are broken and called on all present to always pray to God who is ready to set them free from any difficulty they might find themselves.
High points of the event were recitation of the Rosary, praise and worship, penitential service, confession among other activities.
Repent And Reconcile With God Bishop Dunia Tells Faithful
As a means of strengthening their relationship with God, the Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel G. Dunia, has reiterated the need for all faithful to repent and reconcile with God their creator.
He gave this admonition in his homily on Ash Wednesday, at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.
The Shepherd of Souls who harped on the need for all Catholics to continue to work in accordance with the way of God the father, noted that no one can succeed in his/her endeavours, except they repent and turn to God, stressing that acting contrary to the will of God would amount to failure in their lives.
Continuing, the prelate charged all present to be humble and be kind to those around them at all time, adding that following Christ in sincerity would help them to avert evil perpetuated by the devil against them, pointing out that though the nature of man is prone to sinfulness, but they should be conscious of it and endeavour to avoid it in whatever they do.
Emphasizing on the significance of Lenten season, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese affirmed that faithful should endeavour to pray, fast, do penance, give alms and abstain from sin, stressing that they should submit themselves both individually and collectively to Christ to enable them reap the blessings embedded in the death and resurrection of Christ, while urging them to make it a point of duty to attend the stations of the cross and other activities in the church.
More, the Bishop hinted that the Church is great, as the power of the Holy Spirit is in charge hence it will continue to uphold the vision of Jesus Christ on earth and called on all faithful to continue to pray for the leaders of the universal church and prayed the Virgin Mother Mary to continue to intercede for all faithful to enable them reconcile with God.
Highpoint of the mass was the blessing and distribution of ash to all present.

Use Your Talent To Glorify God Fr. Akpejioi Admonishes Faithful
...As Fr. Okodugha Tasks Faithful To Strengthen Their Bond With Godi
The assistant Administrator of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi, Rev. Fr. Romanus Akpejioi has reiterated the need for faithful to use their talent to glorify God, stressing that everyone is endowed by God with various gifts hence they should use it to the glory of God.
This was contained in one of his homilies at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.
Fr. Akpejioi who tasked all present to give all their best to the glory of God, noted that serving with sincerity and love would give an angel of God a reason to fight on their behalf, adding that without love no one can receive the abundant gifts of God, as love supersede all things.
Continuing, the homilist enjoined faithful to shun contrary use of the gift given them by God, stressing that they should have faith in God, as 2013 is a year of faith as declared by Pope Benedict XVI. He also enjoined faithful to go back to God in prayers, pointing out that renewing their commitment to God would enable them attain success in life, while praying God to grant them the grace to use their gifts effectively.
Rev. Fr. Kingsley Okodugha has harped on the need for Catholics to strengthen their relationship with God, stressing that from inception of creation, God has always given man an opportunity for them to come close to Him.
This was contained in one of his homilies at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Auchi.
Fr. Okodugha who noted that although man broke his relationship with God in the beginning of creation, God has never left him to be alone, pointing out that God's love for mankind can never be quantified hence there is the need for all to strengthen their relationship with God to enable them attract His abundant blessing.
Continuing, the homilist charged all present to accept Christ as their Lord and personal Saviour in order to be renewed, adding that they should also make it a point of duty to always pray through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary who through her Son Jesus, performed the first miracle at Canaan. More, the priest enjoined all present to shun any act that would deter them from receiving God's blessings, as God is love and the owner of their lives and prayed God to give them the grace to be closer to Him.
Sts Peter And Paul Ekperi Gets New Laity Executive
The Parish laity council of Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Azukhala/Ugbekpe, Ekperi has recently elected new Laity executive to run their affairs for the next three years.
Addressing the new executive at the inauguration ceremony, the Parish Administrator Rev. Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, charged the newly elected officers to be committed to the work of God which is the purpose for their election, stressing that they should work diligently and give their best to the service of the Lord, adding that they should put God first in all they do, as it would enable them succeed in moving the parish forward.
Continuing, Fr. Adorolo, tasked them to cooperate effectively with parishioners and enjoined all faithful in the parish to continue to support the laity council to enable them carry out the work successfully, while praying God to strengthen them to enable them achieve their goal.
The newly elected executive are, Mr. John Momoh. Chairman, Mr. P.E kadiri, Vice Chairman, Mr. Jimoh Imonikhe, Secretary and Mr. Samuel Ogbetebu, Assistant Secretary. Others are Mr. Francis Okponor, Financial Secretary and Mr. Philip Audu, Treasurer.
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