Knights, Ladies hold memorial Mass for departed members of KSJI District 8
Knights of St. John International (KSJI) and their Ladies Auxiliary (LAUX) from the seven local Commanderies of KSJI District 8 Owerri, on Saturday November 5, 2016 celebrated a memorial Mass for the repose of the souls of their dead members.
The Commanderies are: Holy Cross Commandery 422 Owerri, St. Michael’s Commandery 539 Akabo and Holy Family Commandery 560 Izombe. The rest are: Assumpta Commandery 655 Aladinma, St. Patrick’s Commendery 777 Uratta, Commandery 778 Ngor Okpala and St. Michael’s Commandery 824 Atta.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the District Chaplain, Rev. Fr. Xavier Francis Ekwugha, who concelebrated with Rev. Frs. Raymond Okoroigbo and Kizito Onyeka, Spiritual Advisers of KSJI 560 Izombe and 422 Owerri, respectively. The high point of the memorial mass was the roll call of knights and ladies that died in the District since the last memorial Mass 12 months ago. It was done by their respective Worthy and Respected Presidents. The high point was the solemn and sober moment, when each worthy /Respected President took turns to light a candle for departed members flanked by colour bearers approaching the altar in a slow march, corresponding with the sound of the trumpet and beating of the band.
The Grand President of the Owerri Grand Commandery, Bng-Gen-Ezechiel Ihionu, lighted the candle for priests and the religious who died in the District since the past one year.
Preaching the homily, Rev. Fr. Raymond Okoroigbo stated that the occasion called for sober reflection because there was no knight or lady who had not lost a loved one and therefore it was their duty to pray for the soul of such deceased ones. He explained that the love for the dead does not end with their departure and so we had gathered to pray for their repose since a memorial Mass is the most important way to show the love. Fr Okoroigbo therefore emphasized the need to pray for souls in Purgatory, recalling that even in the Old Testament; the Jews saw the need to pray for the dead as stated in the 2nd Book of Macabees. The homilist however advised that it was better to do everything necessary to finish the punishments meant for the sins forgiven during the earthly life than to hope on the prayers of other Christians after death. The remission of punishments for sins could be obtained through suffrages, prayers and acts of charity, he stated.
He also reminded Christ’s faithful that prayer for the dead does not begin and end with such memorial Mass but continues throughout the whole of the month November, which the church had set aside for it. He recommended that it should be done as often as one can.
At the end of Mass, Knights and Ladies were served a sumptuous meal before they left for their respective homes.
Speaking to the Leader after Mass, the District Commander, Major (Prof) Remy Uche further explained that Catholics believe in heaven, hell and Purgatory, where souls that were not perfect before death under some temporary purification. “Once in Purgatory, such souls cannot help themselves but depend entirely on the prayers of other Christians to be freed”, he said. He described prayer for the dead members as both their right for someone who is at good standing and a spiritual work of mercy. Major Uche described this year’s Memorial Mass as a huge success judging from the large turn out, including the presence of the Grand President, Brig-Gen Ihionu. “We command those who attended as well as the planning Committee led by Noble Bro Cele Ozuzufor their dexterity”. He advised members not to wait till District Memorial Mass in November but to make it a habit to request for Memorial Masses for departed Knights and Ladies because such acts bring a lot of Cod’s blessings. “The District Commander recommended that local Commanderies organize Memorial Masses for their dead members from time to time.