Dr. Marcus A. Njoku
Dr. Marcus A. Njoku
Dr. Marcus A. Njoku

Chaplaincy is defined as a position, work of house of a chaplain.  Chaplain is a Priest or other Christian ministers who works in a chapel, a school, prison or with the armed forces.

The Catholic Church as the father of all churches agreed or disagreed does not have a well defined chaplaincy. The complexity and sophistication of the modern church and man. The Catholic Church as a universal church should review the appointment of chaplain in line with the philosophy behind the year of faith, the time of just appointing a chaplain based only on his spiritual standing before the bishop without due professional consideration and other factors is out dated. That was the time the role of  chaplains  were only to go to the institution say Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation in the institution concerned and sick call.

Chaplaincy with the year of faith should be seen as a critical tool in the evangelization Process; it provides a fatal ground for productive evangelization.



A chaplain should be sound in theology (spiritual training) and well groomed Priest. He should also have a basic knowledge and training in psychology, sociology, humanities, Anthropology and Academics, in order to cope  with the various groups of people, he may encounter in the course of his chaplaincy. For example, to be a chaplain in the hospital set up, the chaplain must have basic psychology, sociology, humanity and anthropology. He must have the joy and pride of visiting the patients in the ward 2 – 3 times a week to counsel them and chat with them. Both Catholics, non Catholics and Muslims and other religion. He should do the same in both government and non government hospitals with formal permission. Through this means he evangelizes the people through words of consolation from the bible. Words of God from the Bible Impact much on the sick Catholics, Muslims and other religions. He should try to learn a little local language of greeting of the people.

It is surprising that the Catholic Church which instituted the first hospital in Nigeria (sacred heart Catholic Hospital in Lantoro, Ogun State in 1895) 120 years ago has not been able to produce Priest who should manage their Hospitals better, they instead field Priest who have no medical  of peradventure knowledge of hospital management or administration  as such some of them run into inefficient problem of hospital management. There by losing their popularity within their locality.

A well trained, humble  and homely hospital chaplain could provide feedback mechanism to the hospital management through his patient counseling and interaction thereby maintaining the quality standard of the hospital and eliminating some carefree young doctors and highly irritable old and young nurses who find favour with the Rev. Sisters and Rev Father through eye service.

For the Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other Tertiary Institutions. The chaplaincy there exist only for those who are Catholics that come to the school as such the Priests role is to say the Mass and go to their attached parishes. The chaplain should identify with the students both Catholics and Non Catholics by organizing relevant activity in  other to attract Non Catholic students provided it is not in conflict with their academics as our Christian brothers are actively doing in all institutions converting Catholics because ours is there to say only Mass and answer sick calls. Most chaplains never try to identify with the students who are facing difficulties, psychological and emotionally not financial difficulty which we know they cannot solve. The actual success of a school chaplaincy depends on how many new converts or increases in the number of students not on the increase of new intake of the school enrolment he could account to evangelize. The school chaplain should be a teacher or lecturer and must meet the need of reaching the student in any other form apart from his normal school work. In this end he can easily identify students who have emotional, psychological or family and academic problem and counsel them or refer them to the school counselor. Some students can provide the information of their friend if you need.



This has been the centre of evangelization by other Christian brethren. In the National TV other media you listen their different testimonies made by convert in the prison, even though we Catholics are not known as noise-makers our prison chaplain should in one time or the other feature in television and radio show of the enormous things they have been doing providing both medical and re-habitation services for the prisoners.

The chaplain with the JPDC, should be walking strictly by enlisting and advertising those on illegal detention without trials for many years by this the chaplaincy will help the Government to expose the plight of those abandon innocent people in the prison.



This has been a more rigid institution which other chaplaincy should follow military chaplain which has to  undergo military training so as to fit into the system, the chaplaincy usually have fully training or knowledge of what is involved  psychology, sociology, anthropology and humanities for a Priest to be a chaplain in a hospital by his orientation he should be sober and sociable to reach the Muslims and other Non Catholics by quoting the bible portion that encourages the sick of whatever denomination to admire him. The chaplain of all types should try to learn the common greetings of other ethics groups like what is your name, good morning, how are you, you will get well, God loves you, God is with you with only this six (6) phrases the chaplain can easily win the heart of the sick people forget the gift if you don’t have it do this visit twice in a week and see the spiritual evangelization in action. We have enough Priests now to do the work. Chaplaincy should be a full time work or appointment. It is not just drive in and out waiting for sick call. It is a practical full time evangelization.


Dr. Marcus A. Njoku, MD, Oji Ikechukwu Agwu Orie I of Uri.


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