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February 24, 2017

Catholics in Owerri pray for peace

Catholics in Owerri, the Imo State capital, including the clergy, religious and lay faithful, last Tuesday (September 20, 2016) held a prayer rally to solicit God’s blessings for peace in the world, Nigeria and Imo State.
The exercise which held simultaneously in all Catholic Dioceses in Nigeria, was in accordance with a directive from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) that every diocese should join Pope Francis, who was at Assissi that day praying for world peace.
Before the procession set out at Villa Mariae, Wetheral Road, Owerri,  His Grace Most Rev Anthony Obinna, after thanking all present, for defying the heavy downpour to be there, said, “The world needs peace, our country needs peace and Imo State needs peace to progress. That is why the bishops have called every faithful to join the Holy Father who was on that day, praying specifically for peace in the world in commemoration  of the  the 30th anniversary of Assissi Declaration, he said.
The prelate explained that the prayer being said was for everybody’s good and not aimed against anyone. “It is a prayer to God to wipe away the tears of the oppressed, to guide our rulers, as well as for the poor, the sick and the needy.
“The pope and our bishops want everyone to pray for peace among all men and all countries. Peace brings progress and joy; that is why we have gathered here today in line with Christ’s assurance that, “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called sons of God”.
The Most Rev Obinna recalled that Paul instructed that prayers be said for everybody including our rulers, so that we may with peace of mind serve God the way we should.
The Rosary procession which started at 9:30am did not go through Wetheral Road as earlier planned because of the blockade along Assumpta Avenue.  They  rather took the Emmanuel College Axis, through the Third Inland Road to the knights of St. John International (KSJI) Avenue  and from there moved into the Maria Assumpta Cathedral.
Shortly after the procession started, the rain stopped, giving way to a fine weather to the delight of the faithful.
Our arrival at the Cathedral, Archbishop Obinna commended the faithful for responding quickly to the call for the prayer rally despite the short notice.
He thanked in a special way  those who defied the early morning downpour to assemble at the Villa Mariae Guest House.
Praising God for the hitch-free procession, he stressed  that God used the rain to pour His blessings on the faithful.
Later in his homily, the prelate said sin was a major obstacle to both physical and spiritual development of Nigeria as it causes anxiety, hardship and backwardness. He used the opportunity to summarize the statement and communique  issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference at the end of the meeting in Akure, Ondo State.
It would be recalled that parishes outside Owerri urban had theirs in their parishes.

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