Eucharistic Congress: Owerri Archdiocese has become missionary church – Archbishp Obinna
Christ’s faithful in the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, have been called upon to appreciate the need to contribute their resources to the funding of Priests from the Archdiocese on missions outside Nigeria. The Call was made recently by the Chief shepherd, His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna while preaching the homily at the Holy Mass to round off the activities marking the 24th anniversary of the National Eucharistic Congress held in Owerri in October 1992.
The occasion took place at the Eucharistic Congress site behind the Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri.
The Archbishop who was preaching Owerri, on the eve of this year’s Mission Sunday, recalled that white missionary priests from Europe, who brought the good news of Christ to our land did so with the resources raised by Christians in their home churches and that it was time we supported the spread of the gospel in other countries where our own brothers are spreading the Gospel of Christ.
He recalled that money from Germany helped in building the Seat of Wisdom Seminary as well as the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri.
“We have become a missionary church and so we are called to contribute on mission Sunday what will be sent to Rome for the work of evangelization” said the Archbishop. He also recalled that some of the white missionaries toiled, suffered, died and are buried in our land at such places as Mt Carmel Emekuku and Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri. He further said, “Let’s imitate Christ in mercy by being missionaries wherever we find ourselves. Everything in us: our hands, eyes, tongue and leg should be used to show the mercy of God.
The Most Rev. Obinna said that Christ wants to teach us how to show mercy. “Our broken hearts should show mercy like that of Christ, when it was pierced, God’s mercy and love flowed”.
The prelate stressed on the importance of the Sacraments of reconciliation and Holy Eucharist in the life of a catholic. The life of a true Catholic is rooted in regular confessions and communion. How can you get on at these austere times with so much suffering and hardship if not relying on Christ? How can you overcome evil if not by leaning on Christ?, he asked.
Such a gathering as the Eucharistic Congress Anniversary often affords backsliding Catholics opportunities to wake up in practice of their faith and enables them to take seriously such devotions as the Rosary, daily Masses, benediction etc.
“When Christ lives in you and you in Him, you receive the strength to be merciful to others as God the Father, who never tires showing mercy”, stressed the Archbishop.
It would be recalled that the activities for the day (Archdiocesan Reconciliation: Eucharistic Congress/Mission Congress) started with a Rosary procession by the faithful around the Cathedral. This was followed by a lecture on “Eucharistic Congress Anniversary, Missioning in the year of Mercy” delivered by Rev. Fr. Dr. Alex Okoro, Parish Priest of Mt Carmel’s Church Emekuku, Director of Catechesis and propagation of Faith in the Archdiocese.
In his lecture, Fr. Okoro, who traced the history of the Eucharistic Congress to 1881 in France, described the National Eucharistic Congress held in Owerri in October 1992 as having yielded a harvest of Divine Love. Among its many blessings, it has helped Catholics to appreciate more the importance of the Eucharist in the life of the church and in the life of Catholics.
Another great fruit of the congress is the Eu-care that came into existence at the inspiration of Fr. Anthony Obinna, now the Archbishop of Owerri. Through this charitable arm of the Archdiocese, the church had been able to touch the lives of many individuals both within and outside Imo State. The lecture also discussed the imperative of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Rev. Fr. Joachim Onyeagam conducted the penitential service that featured the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, reflection on the lesson from the parable of the prodigal son and confessions rounded off with a benediction.
At the end of Mass followed the inauguration of the Pontifical Mission Union (PMU), the Pontifical Society of St. Peter Apostle (SPA) and the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of Faith (SPF) to which Rev. Frs. Patrick Ekeogu, Joseph Enyiaka and Alex Okoro were appointed coordinators respectively.