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July 16, 2018

Doctor, what is the normal blood pressure?

This is one of the frequently asked questions during medical consultations. Some patients have discontinued their antihypertensive medications because people around them have advised them that a low blood pressure is worse than a high blood pressure and that if they continue to take these medicines, they will become addicted to them. Unfortunately, complying to this unprofessional advice most often may end in fatality, eg. Stroke or sudden death. Most people believe that as one ages, so should the blood pressure rise to a high level. Blood pressure levels What actually is the normal blood pressure for different ages? It…

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You are the one he loves

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

St Augustine once said that it’s impossible to love and to desert someone at the same time. If we truly believe that God loves us, then there should be no room for despair in our life no matter the circumstances. In today’s Gospel, Martha and Mary are bemoaning the death of their brother, Lazarus, and the fact that Jesus was late in coming to his assistance. Scripture is very clear that Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Nevertheless, he doesn’t rush across to Bethany to heal Lazarus. Nor does he heal him from a distance, as he did with the…

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A reflection on the power/blessings of Charity Presented to the CMO, Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri

One cardinal policy of the Owerri Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Men Organization (OACCMO) over the past years by current executive of this great organization is our determined and bold step towards matters concerning the less privileged and seeing life through their eyes. It is a sine qua non for us that every year we take it upon ourselves to visit as many Charity homes and the needy in our midst and attend to their needs as capable as we could. This aspect of our OACCMO life cannot be overemphasised. At the end of 2016, I looked into how we fulfilled…

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Help before blame

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

This week, the Lord challenges us to always lend a helping hand first before pointing the finger of blame. Also, we are called to always acknowledge the good deeds of others even when we do not exactly like them. In those days, it was believed that health and prosperity were signs of God’s approval and favour, while sickness and destitution were the result of sin and God’s disapproval. This mindset flows from the book of Exodus, which talks about God “punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Ex. 20:5). Nonetheless, Jesus makes…

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Suicide on the increase

It is just not our culture for people to take their own lives, whatever the reason. In the olden days, anyone who commits suicide is taken to the so-called and dreaded evil forest, where no one wants to end up or have their loved ones buried. This is because suicide is seen as a shameful and cowardly act, and this is not peculiar to Ndigbo. The rest of Nigeria has similar views on suicide and frowns terribly at it. Unlike in Europe and Asia, even in the Americas where the suicide rate is high, Africa, except in a few places,…

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Mothers’ Day Celebration in a habitual degenerating society

The Catholic Church in Nigeria and some in certain parts of Europe and America have set aside this day to celebrate motherhood. Involved in this celebration are every mother, every father and every child. It is a special day for every human being born of a woman.  In essence, it is a day when we meditatively fathom the unquantifiable prominence of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, Reverend sisters, Nuns in the Monasteries and other significant mother-figures in our lives. Mothers’ Day celebration recognizes and brings to the fore that inherent motherhood and intrinsic maternal bond in every woman. It…

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I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS JOHN 15:15 (2)

If we may ask him who his brothers are; he says ‘my brothers are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’ Those who give heed to the commandment of love by seeing the face of Christ in the most vulnerable and defenseless in our society. Walter Burghardt, S.J. in his book Preaching the Just Word, evangelizes that in trying to live Jesus’ declared mission, we should not only struggle to preach good news to the poor, proclaim release to prisoners and sight to the blind, but we should actually strive to ‘send the downtrodden away relieved.’ [Luke…

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Religion is NOT the Problem: Revisiting Prof. Soyinka’s Stigmatization of Religion (6)

Ngugi wa Thiong’o in one of his lectures points out that image resides in the memory and that the story we tell about ourselves, as it were, is a process of helping the African people to draw their own image unfettered. Images are very important. This is the reason why many people like looking at themselves in the mirror and like to take photos of themselves. In many African societies, the shadow is thought to carry the soul of a person. But in our context, we are talking of image of Nigeria as a cultural, religious, philosophical, and even as…

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Leaving our buckets behind

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, Jesus uses the Samaritan woman’s search for water to lead her to the fountain of grace and authentic freedom. In the process, he breaks longstanding racial boundaries (asking a Samaritan for a favour); and social convention as well (a rabbi hanging out with a woman). Jesus offers her the living water which whoever drinks of it will never thirst again. Like the Samaritan woman, we all have the physiological need for food, drink, shelter, etc. We also have the social need for affection, companionship, recognition, and affirmation. All the above can be achieved through human effort but, being short-lived,…

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The significance of the season of Lent in our world today

In this historical period, the Church all over the world, Catholics and non-Catholics alike embark on the spectacular season of Lent. This season begins on a given Wednesday popularly labeled “Ash Wednesday” on account of the ritual Ash in which almost all the Christians willingly participate. The ritual celebration of Ashes on this Wednesday marks the solemn inauguration of the Lenten season. The formal procedure of blessing and distribu­tion of burnt ashes on the forehead of every participating Christian is the major liturgy of the day. This life touching ceremony lasts from morning to night on this particular day and…

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XENOPHOBIA: Lessons for Nigeria as South Africa attacks again

Xenophobia: There is no better way to express it than to say: It is sad, so sad, that the former Big Brother is now an unwanted guest. Nigeria has clearly become a personae non gratae in Some African countries however the South African Government tries to explain it away. South Africans do not like Nigerians and would rather not have them in their country. When Nigerians are not being ridiculed in South African films, they are physically attacked in down town Johannesburg or other cities and their businesses destroyed. Call it Xenophobia or whatever you like. Nigerians and the Federal…

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I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS JOHN 15:15

“I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.”  John 15:15 We all have friends, and we enjoy being in friendship with them. This is because, their company is invaluable. It is because they are always there. We are always filled with the albums of memories of the past moments, and the love which encompassed our encounters with them. We can never forget them; we remember the mysterious ways in which we met them for the…

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Beyond the awesome moments

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

In today’s Gospel, Peter wishes to prolong the Transfiguration experience: “It is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” But that was only a foretaste of heaven and not the main deal. Like Peter, we’ve all had awesome moments that made us wish to remain there for good. Such moments we describe as: absolutely incredible, awesome, fantastic, splendid, breathtaking, etc. Sadly however, those moments do not endure as we cannot possibly achieve supreme happiness here on earth. With every scientific breakthrough, we…

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Religion is NOT the Problem: Revisiting Prof. Soyinka’s Stigmatization of Religion (5)

The same is with the marginalization of other ethnic groups, especially, the Igbo, in the present federal government political appointments and denying them of infrastructural allocation. Any group that is viewed as antithetical to the ideals of the superior race is immediately sidelined. Does it surprise anybody that our elites and the so-called international community seemed to have awakened from their slumber to the on-going state sponsored violence and disturbance in Nigeria simply because, it has just happened in the ‘North.’ Last year alone, for example, many villages were reported to have been wiped out by the Fulani herdsmen militia…

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CALLED TO OVERCOME

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Today, fresh from his baptism at the Jordan, Jesus sets out to fast and pray in the desert. He is preparing for his mission to rescue humanity from the wilderness of sin and alienation. The Lord comes to liberate us from the dominion of iniquity and shame, and to restore us to the fullness of grace and divine life. The forty days in the wilderness is a symbol of the great physical and spiritual challenges of life. The Great Flood lasted forty days (Gen.7: 4, 17), and so did Moses’ fasting on Mount Sinai (Ex.34:28). Then, there were spies sent…

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Medical Tourism: Let the change begin

Beside food and shelter, man’s greatest need is health. Good health is vital and that is why people can give anything in exchange for it.  Those who are medically challenged and can afford it go the extra mile to get the best medical care for themselves and their loved ones.  This is why medical tourism is booming, and a nation like Nigeria, with poor infrastructure and medical facilities, is a prime target. Everyone knows Nigerians love life, comparatively, and try their best to live long.  Anything that spells ill health or untimely death is hated passionately.  If in doubt, cast…

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Religion is NOT the Problem: Revisiting Prof. Soyinka’s Stigmatization of Religion (4)

Our elites, intellectuals and political leaders are yet to have the courage, and capability to address our country’s problem as a nation-state in a creative way for truth, peace and justice to reign in our land. It was for this kind of naïve approach and attitude to our perennial and unresolved historical problem that we have had the 1966 military coup and the counter coup, the year after in 1967. The 1954 first pogrom against the Igbo and other Easterners living in Northern Nigeria was in furtherance of this unresolved historical problem. The 1966 Second Northern Nigeria pogrom, mother of…

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Ash Wednesday: Remember you are dust

THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ASH WEDNESDAY LITURGY Historically, the ashes of burned objects such as plants, animals, human bodies and dust are commonly found in use among ancient peoples for religious, magical and medical purposes. Among these ashes there are certain ashes or dust that have sacred character and power, above all, ashes or dust signify mortality,’ mourning and penance or repentance. In line with this ritual, Christian liturgical usage and symbolism of ashes or dust is traced to Jewish tradition. Presently, the Roman liturgy uses ashes only on Ash Wednesday liturgy. The practice of all the faithful receiving ashes…

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Do you know that God is a politician?

People seem to divorce religion from politics. More often than not, men of God criticize political office holders, and distance themselves from playing politics. Some say that politics in a dirty game as some erroneously say that lawyers are liars.Those exercising political power appear to agree with the men of God that political matters are exclusively for those in government and expect the men of God to keep off, and preoccupy themselves with only religious issues, and leave political issues for identified politicians to handle. This is a misnomer; a clear manifestation of ignorance by anybody who thinks along that…

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The futility of worry

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe

Material success is considered by many to be necessary sign of divine favour, and this principle provides the basis for the prosperity doctrine held by many Pentecostal/Evangelical Christian denominations. Today, however, Jesus negates this concept by insisting that we seek the Kingdom of God first and most importantly, and every other thing will follow. Material pursuits are good and desirable but they must be subordinated to the pursuit of righteousness – our ticket to eternal beatitude. When the pursuit of wealth comes first, allegiance to Christ takes the back seat. Our possessions will start to possess us and, instead of…

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