Fr. Augustine Onuoha, Chief celebrant at the opening Mass, flanked by Mr. Okoro, (L) Chairman of the Council, Bro.G. Anyanwu, (R.) Host President and other delegates shortly after Mass
A three day seminar organized by the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), Owerri Ecclesiastical Province has ended in Nguru Mbaise, Ahiara Diocese with the Theme: “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in Nigeria.”
The event which started from Friday August 22, 2014 with arrival of delegates witnessed good turnout of representatives from the six dioceses of the province, namely: Owerri, Umuahia, Okigwe, Orlu, Ahiara, and Aba.
In their separate welcome addresses, the Provincial Chairman, Mr. Dominic N. Okoro, and the Ahiara Diocesan President, Gerald Anyanwu (KSM) described the seminar as “an occasion which provides opportunity to re- appraise our lives, intensify our efforts towards the spirituality of our members in order to renew the temporal order by bringing the good news to all”.
Reflecting on the rapid dynamics of the contemporary society and the Nigeria polity with electioneering sentiments at the corner, the theme of the seminar they said was designed for the purpose of inward examination into matters bordering the family life, and a call for members to discharge their civic duties by participating actively in the political process where moral rules of the game would be applied.
While wishing the seminar a fruitful deliberation, the address noted with regrets the challenges facing Ahiara Laity Council since the death of Bishop V.A. Chikwe and asked for the members’ continued prayers for the diocese.
Three papers titled: Pastoral Challenges of the Family in Nigeria; The Contemporary Youth and Pastoral Challenges in Family life; and Lay Formation and New Evangelization, delivered by Rev. Frs: Ben Ogu, Chamberline Irozuru, and Nathaniel Ezenwa respectively, were among the activities that featured at the seminar.
Earlier in his homily at the opening Mass, Rev Fr. Augustine Onuoha, Assistant Parish Priest, Sacred Heart Nguru, noted that the inauguration of the Laity Council became imperative for the Church when the fathers of the Vacation II Council resolved to shift the mind from the Ecclesiology of hierarchy – centered church to incorporate the entire faith, both the clergy and the laity into one fold known as Ecclesiology of the people of God. This turn of event, he said does not only empower the laity with due rights to speak out but also elevated them to an important status where their presence and activities are useful in the Salvivic work of Christ. “As lay faithful, you are God’s precious vessels. As your position in the church allows you to engage in partisan politics, see it as a divine mandate for a positive change to win souls for God”.
Recalling the hypocritical lifestyles of the Pharisees as recorded in the day’s gospel reading, Fr. Onuoha pointed out that serving God in spirit and in truth are virtues every Christian should imbibe.
In a brief chat with the Laity Chairman Mr. Dominic Okoro, he commended the supportive efforts of his colleagues, explaining that the Laity Council which came into being in Nigeria in 1973 is an umbrella body covering all the Lay Organizations, Associations, and Sodalities in the Catholic Church. Making reference to the Cannon Law, he observed that those exempted from the Organ are only those under the vow of Holy Orders.
While announcing their upcoming event, the Chairman noted that the program, tagged: 3rd Laity Day; to be staged next year at Orlu would be geared towards showcasing activities of the Council in the province.
The Owerri Provincial Exco. Comprises the following: Mr. Dominic N. Okoro (npom) – Chairman; Chief Gerald M. Anyanwu – Vice Chairman, Chief P.J. Opara (KSJ) – Secretary, and
Clement M. Okolie – Ass. Sec. Others are: Barr. Mrs. Chisara Egwim (LSM) – Legal Adviser,
Iwuchukwu Ann – P.R.O, Hon. John Egbute – Fin. Sec. and Barr. Ebearo – Treasurer.