Owerri Archdiocesan CMO ends her 2016 annual retreat
A two day 2016 annual retreat organized by the Owerri Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Men Organization (OACCMO), came to an end at the Knights of St. John’s International Secretariat Owerri, on Saturday September 10, 2016.
The retreat which drew various CMO Presidents and Secretaries from Catholic Parishes in Owerri Archdiocese kicked off with confession, offering the participants the opportunity of purifying their hearts to embrace the retreat. This Retreat was in preparation for the CMO Day celebration at the Archdiocesan level slated for Saturday October 15, 2016. The retreat has as its theme, THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, PURGATORY, CONSCIENCE AND THE EUCHARIST.
The resource person, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Alozie of St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish Logara, Ngor Okpala LGA, Imo State, praised the Catholic Men for their large turn-out, an indication that “good and committed men hunger for Christ.” He dwelt on the Blessed Virgin Mary highlighting her qualities which endeared her to Catholics and non-Catholics.
According to the cleric, the doctrine of the Catholic Church should be carefully taught and understood, to avoid misunderstanding among Christians. He condemned the remarks by non-Catholics that the Virgin Mary had other children after the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, describing that belief as misleading, as it is not in the Bible.
Rev. Fr. Alozie went down memory lane recalling the ultimate relationship between our lord Jesus Christ and His mother at the wedding at Canaan of Galilee, where the Blessed Virgin Mary asked her son Jesus Christ to provide assistance to the wedding celebrants whose wine ran short for the guests at the marriage ceremony, to which her son Jesus Christ obliged her. He insisted that those who see nothing good in channeling request or prayer through the Blessed Virgin Mary should have a rethink, asking why the celebrants did not reach Jesus Christ directly for their needs. He called on all Christians, particularly Catholics to reverence their mothers as it has been established beyond reasonable doubt that mothers are bridges between children and their fathers.
Speaking on Purgatory, Rev. Fr Alozie explained that it is a state where those who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified undergo purification after death so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. He reminded Christians; among other things that going to Heaven is not by merit but by His grace since nobody is righteous. Since all are weak, sincere efforts, he said, must be followed by the living to reach God who enjoined that “without me you can do nothing”. He advised Christians to emulate the holy men like Father Padre Pio who dwelt in prayer in season and out of season to reach God.
The second day began with holy Mass jointly celebrated by the chaplain Very Rev. Fr. S.O. lgbokwe and the retreat lecturer, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Alozie.
Resuming the lecture, Fr. Alozie described ‘conscience’ as a judgment room with three types of classification: Lax conscience, upright conscience and scrupulous conscience. Among them, he said, lax conscience was the most terrible where majority of people in every society belong. It has motives that favour ones stupidity and drives for achieving unfavourable desires, greed, pleasure in sin and beastly behaviour without reasonable thinking, etc. He gave remedial measures for lax conscience as prayer, restitution, frequent examination of conscience, reading of good books- spiritual life of the saints, etc.
On the upright conscience, he described it as a beautiful conscience that builds up humility and love. It obeys established laws and says ‘sorry’ when violated. It leads to right thinking before voicing out something and sticks to the teachings of the church.
Accordingly, upright conscience helps one to grow spiritually, physically and intellectually, building one to be stronger in withstanding the storms of life.
On scrupulous conscience, the lecturer said that people who belong to this category are excessively timid. They do not see clearly. They perceive fear and do not believe in forgiveness. They also hold the perception that Jesus Christ does not forgive sin.
The eloquent lecturer rounded off with the Eucharist by noting that some people take the body of Christ and drink His blood without deep feeling. For one to gain Heaven, he or she must be in a state of grace to eat the body of Christ and drink his blood, for Christ said ‘unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
The OACCMO president, Sir Nwora Alfred Nonyelum thanked the OACCMO chaplain, Very Rev. Fr. S.O. Igbokwe for his fatherly guidance and poured encomiums on the brilliant and eloquent lecturer, Fr. Kenneth Alozie. He prayed God to continue to guide him and bestow him with wisdom to work in His vineyard. Sir Nonyelum also thanked the organizers of the retreat, the OACCMO Exco, zonal leaders and the entire members for the success of the retreat. He finally prayed God to reward them abundantly.