… At Inaugural Pastoral Council Meeting
In his Inaugural Pastoral Council Meeting at the Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral Diocese Ahiara Mbaise, Saturday 16th June 2018, the Apostolic Administrator, Most Rev. Dr. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, stressed the need for deepening of faith in parishes and schools in the diocese. Appreciating the people for their efforts in investing in setting up of magnificent church buildings, beautiful church halls and lovely presbyteries, he enjoined them to even invest more in building up people in matters of faith. He cited how seven big churches built by Old Turkey that lasted for 1,023 years as contained in the Book of Revelation 2 and 3, were overrun by Islam.
The Bishop regretted that while the church in our day is being threatened by militant Islam in one front, pentecostalism targets our young people in another sector with its alluring prosperity gospel, hawking of miracles and promises of instant success and breakthrough in poverty stricken society. He then charged priests, diocesan committee for religious education, the confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and volunteers to restore catechesis and bible studies in parishes and in primary and secondary schools; adding that parents should ensure that their children attend catechism classes regularly while adults should attend evening religious instructions on Sunday before Benediction. These are sure ways of deepening the faith, and building the people, he said.
Bishop Ugorji noticed visible signs of disunity and distrust in some parishes and association within the diocese, saying that such militates against the mission and progress of the church. Following St Paul in (1 Cor 2:13) asked, Has Christ been split up?” he then urged the clergy, parishes and lay associations to continue to foster the spirit of mutual love, understanding, trust, respect, and tolerance in the diocese.
His Excellency the Bishop, struck by the spirit of Priests Health Insurance, introduced a resource person, Dr. Peter Juan from Abuja who talked on “Salus Gold Plan for Priests and Customized Salus Green Plan for Parish Staff.” His Lordship encouraged the diocese to embrace it. Another resource person, Rev. Fr. Anthony Ibe, hammered on HIV/AIDS, disclosing that the population of children with HIV/AIDS is very alarming; hence the church should scout for such children for free treatment.
Continuing, the bishop gave the council some insight about work at the diocesan secretariat, setting up of new buildings at Nguru centre for retiring priests as well as those for Doctors at Ogbor Nguru Mission Hospital. He emphasized the importance of having a lawyer and an Auditor for smooth running of the diocese. He also stated that the Cathedral Standing Finance Committee (CSFC) should resume their service for effective work in the diocese while parishes should have finance committees. He then urged parishes still owing to clear their debts to the diocese without further delay.
The prelate did not fail to thank deaneries and parishes in the diocese for successful Cathedraticum and the warm reception accorded him during his inaugural Holy Mass at the Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral Ahiara Diocese Mbaise, March 10, 2018. He thanked them also for their devoted services to the church over the years both at diocesan and parish levels. At this juncture, he declared the present Pastoral Council dissolved, urging parish priests to also dissolve Parish Councils etc, in the diocese choosing a common date in readiness for new Pastoral Council Meeting on Saturday, October 20th, 2018 at the Cathedral.
Welcoming the bishop at the Pastoral Council meeting earlier, the Pastoral Council Chairman, Brig. Gen Paschal Okorie (KSJI), expressed happiness over his approaches and care for the diocese so far. He prayed God to continue to guide him aright. Sir P.E. Okorie also used the opportunity to thank and welcome the new Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Dr. Ethelbert Uwadoka, the new Diocesan Chancellor, Rev Fr. Jude Uwalaka and the Finance Administrator, Rev. Fr. Modestus Nwanna on behalf of the faithful of Ahiara Diocese.