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Becoming Holy Humans In Christ, A 2014 Easter Message

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On Sunday the 27th April 2014, Divine Mercy Sunday, Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II, will be canonized, that is officially proclaimed saints by Pope Francis at the St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Rome. Over a million pilgrims catholic and non-catholic from all over the world are expected at the canonization. Nigerians, including a number from Imo State will be there to represent us.

 

Although Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II continue to have enormous influence in our contemporary world and Church it is the holiness of their personal human lives that is the reason for their canonization. With this event they become for all Christians and humans heroes in being truly human, models to be imitated and holy intercessors for us needy and sinful humans,. What an elevating moment! All glory, honour and thanksgiving to God Our Almighty and Gracious Father.

 

In canonizing the two blessed Popes on Divine Mercy Sunday just one week after Resurrection Sunday we are led directly to Our Lord Jesus Christ whose merciful, compassionate life and death is the source and basis of the celebration of holiness embodied in the canonization event.

 

St. Paul whose own life and character were totally changed for good by his redemptive encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ invites us all to recognize the path of holiness in imitation of Christ, who had equality with God, but never bragged about it:

 

But he emptied himself taking the form of a slave becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. Philippians 2:7-8

 

The heart of holiness, of being fully and truly human in Christ is the emptying of myself, of oneself, of my pride and unnecessary ambition; becoming a servant and slave to others in mercy and compassion, accepting humiliation without hatred or spite, and accepting death however it comes in total submission to God’s will; as painful as it will be.

Becoming holy or fully human is and can be frightening. That is why we are generally afraid or lukewarm about it. No one can be truly holy or fully human without the grace of God in Christ, without the encouragement of saints, without the communion of saints. The litany of the saints is not just a prayer; it is the story of a long line of saints from the Old Testament into the New and into our own day; men and women, as weak and sinful as ourselves who responded to God’s invitation to be holy and by God’s grace succeeded.

We have a universal vocation to be holy in every sphere of our lives – business, politics, government, teaching, science, technology, medicine, nursing, police, army, navy, civil service, priesthood, religious life etc. We should and can all be holy. It all begins with our conversion to God in Christ signaled by our baptism and continuously renewed, and strengthened in the word of God and other sacraments.

According to St. Paul baptism is a spiritual circumcision by which we are stripped of our natural sinful selves, forgiven and invested with Christ’s own life and body. Thus even in this life we begin to live the lives of the saints and angels in heaven.

As we rejoice in the Resurrection of our Crucified Saviour, Jesus Christ, and as we gratefully associate ourselves with the canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II who in 1998 visited Nigeria and Igbo Land to beatify our own compatriot Blessed Cyprian Iwene Tansi, may God in His Divine mercy kindle and newkindle in us all the hunger of holiness without which we cannot see God and without which we cannot be truly and fully human.

May these two Blesseds, Saints very soon, intercede for us all so that we may tread the rough path of holiness successfully as they did.

A Happy and Holy Easter to you and to All Humans Everywhere.

 

________________________

Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna
Archbishop of Owerri

 

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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