KSJI elevates 183 Sir Knights to Chavelir …4th Degree
A total of 183 members of the 2nd & 3rd Degree of Knights of St. John International (KSJI) also called Sir Knights, from across the country, were recently exemplified into the Fourth Degree (Chavelir) of the Noble Order.
The epoch-making event which had candidates from all the Grand Commanderies in Nigeria took place at KSJI complex behind the Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, lasted from Thursday November 3 to Sunday November 5, 2016.
Dignitaries present included: Rev. Fr. Prof. Kenneth Obasi, the Supreme Subordinate Spiritual Director, who presided at the exemplification Mass, concelebrated with the Chavelir Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Nwabude and the Spiritual Adviser for Commandery 422 Owerrri. Others are: the Chavelir Grand Master, Col Cele Ozuzu, the immediate past Chavelir Grand Master, Col Mike Ikon, who is also the SSC 2nd Vice President (representing Major-General Anselem Okafor, SSP President) Col C.A. Nwokocha, BOCC member, Brig-Gen Chidi Arinze, SSC Secretary General and SSC Inspector Gen; Brig-Gen Emenalo, were there.
The Grand President Owerri Grand Commandery, Brig-Gen Ezechiel Ihionu and former Grand President, Brig-Gen Godwin Shiweobi, Chavelir Commander of Guards, Col Peter Opara, Owerri Grand Financial Secretary, Lt. Donatus Onyenanu, Grand Guard, Capt. Mike Okereke, Grand Messenger, Lt. Col Jude Alozie and Grand Assistant Secretary, Capt CEJ Ibe graced the occasion.
In his address, the Chavelir Grand Master, Noble (Col) Cele Ozuzu, told the new fourth Degree members that they were entering the highest Degree of the Noble Order of KSJI meant only for Knights at good standing. This implies that they must be up to date financially and attendance to meetings, drills and other ordered turn outs for a minimum of 75%.
He further explained that while in the first Degree, emphasis is placed on practice of true Catholic faith; Unity and Charity assume great importance in the 2nd and 3rd Degree respectively.
Col Ozuzu stressed the need to be generous to the church and the order with one’s 3Ts: Time, Talent and Treasure, pointing out that in the Chavelir Degree emphasis is on God and country hence its motto: Pro Deo et Patra (for God and Country). This can be achieved by an all round sense of responsibility. The Chavelir Grand Master’s address also touched on: Uniform of the Knight, the Beatitudes, Degrees in the Order and the Principal Ceremonies performed in the Order. Col Ozuzu listed the qualities of a true Chavelir as: Courage, Honour and Care for the weak and the needy.
Welcoming the candidates and the Degree team to Owerri earlier, the Owerri Grand President, Brig-Gen Ezechiel Ihionu invited them to enjoy the facilities the host Grand Commandery adding that the Chavelir is the highest Degree of KSJI which makes it mandatory for everyone to live an exemplary life henceforth. This is especially in terms of fraternal love and charity to the church and the needy as well as practice of sound spirituality.
“Every member of the fourth Degree should be the best friend of his Parish Priest as well as a great defender of the Catholic Faith without doubts”, said Noble Ihionu.
In his speech at the occasion, Col Mike Ikon, Immediate Past Chavelir Grand Master and 2nd SSC Vice President, who represented the SSC President, Major-Gen Anslem Okafor commended the fourth degree candidates for presenting themselves for exemplification into the Chavelir Degree, pointing out that their new status is a spiritual elevation not a rank, as it signifies that they have accepted to embrace the spirituality of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of KSJI.
He urged them to respond generously when they receive the invitation to the 40th anniversary of KSJI in Nigeria being celebrated in February next year. The
In his own remarks, the SSC Secretary General, Brig-Gen Chidi Arinze, urged the new Chavelirs to go and live out what they have learnt.
The SSC Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Prof. Kenneth Obasi, who concelebrated with the Chavelir Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Nwabude and the Spiritual Adviser of the host commandery, Rev. Fr. Kizito Onyeka, at the beginning of the Mass enjoined Knights to follow the footsteps of St. Charles Borromeo, whose feast was being celebrated that, day and who used his position in life to win many souls for Christ.
In his homily at the Exemplification Mass, Fr. Nwabude told the Chavelirs that Fourth Degree is all about Discipline, since it is the highest and military wing of KSJI, because soldiers are known for their discipline, especially soldiers of Christ. As a soldier of Christ, discipline saves you from falling into sin. He said, reminded knights of the importance of their Rosaries and Holy Masses as spiritual weapons.
Seven candidates who scored 93% and above in the qualifying written examination they sat after the Chavelir Grand Master had screened them that morning. Prizes were awarded priest.
The three-day retreat also featured: Spiritual Devotions, Confessions, Drill and sword manual operations, muster, inspection of candidates and BOCC Brand Meeting.