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Bishops Bar Knights from wearing headgears in Church

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Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke

Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke

Pastoral Directives on Participation at Liturgical Ceremonies by Knights and Church Paramilitary Personnel

INTRODUCTION

The Catholic Church has always recognized the important role of her non clerical members in liturgical celebrations. It is a long time practice that every person rightly plays the roles suited to his or her state in the Church at liturgical ceremonies. In order that our liturgy does not become mere social celebrations, the Church gave the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM). The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) desires to keep to the rubrics and maintain the solemnity that is needed at liturgical celebrations without leaving out the vibrancy associated with African form of worship.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

In order to enhance the solemnity of our liturgy and to be in accord with the universal practice of the Church, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria gives the following directives concerning the participation of Knights and Church Paramilitary Personnel in our Liturgical Ceremonies.

1.         In the celebration of the sacred liturgy, each person has a place and role to play suitable to his or her state (Clergy and Non Clergy) in the Church. Each role is very important in the liturgical life of the Church.

2.         Each person should be attired in the dress proper to his or her state (Clergy and non Clergy).

3.         There are postures and gestures proper to each person at the various stages of   liturgical celebrations for solemnity, veneration and respect. They express the intentions and spiritual attitude of the participants and also foster them (GIRM, 42).

4.         The celebration of the Holy Mass begins with the procession for Holy Mass, it is only those who have roles to play in the liturgy such as Lectors, Extra-ordinary ministers of the Eucharist, Church wardens, Mass Servers, Deacons, and the Clergy who are properly vested, are allowed to join to the altar (GIRM 120). Knights and Church Paramilitary outfits such as MOD, etc who have no liturgical roles to play are not to join in the procession to or recession from the altar. And if any of such have roles to play as listed above, he or she is to be vested in the attire proper for such role.

5.         The ancient tradition of the Church, following the Biblical injunction that men should uncover their heads at prayer, liturgical worship, upon entry into a Church where there is the Blessed Sacrament and at the celebration of the Holy Mass should be respected. The presence of Blessed Sacrament at any gathering of the Church is so revered and solemn and it is central in the life of the Church and that is why from the point of the Eucharistic prayers up to after the reception of the Holy Eucharist at the Holy Mass and at Benediction and Adoration, those with Episcopal dignity even have to remove their skull caps, including the Holy Father, the Pope. We there direct  that every man removes his cap and ceremonial headgear from his  head upon entrance to a Church in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved or exposed for adoration and at the celebration of the Holy Mass. This includes the knights of all Orders in the Church.

6.         The practice of raising the sword or the movement of the colour party of flags at consecration is not liturgical and adds no spiritual value to the celebration. This is therefore not to be allowed.

7.  The Church Wardens have their roles to play concerning orderliness at liturgical ceremonies and so they move around during the Mass. The detachment of MODs and Knights that stand guard around the sanctuary at liturgical ceremonies,           especially, the Mass is not necessary. The MODs and the others can at best be most suitable for keeping the peace and security outside and away from the altar and congregation.

 

The Orders of the Knighthood so conferred and cherished by the Church and respected by the Clergy, lay Faithful, is a rich patrimony of our Conference. This guideline is merely to safeguard the dignity of the Orders from being reduced to that of mere security and for show at liturgical ceremonies.

We urge these directives be enforced and properly adhered to by all and that Priests and leaders of these groups see to it that it is properly understood.

 


 

Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, Archbishop of Onitsha
Chairman, Pastoral and
Liturgical Committee Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.

 

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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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