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International Pro-Life Conference ends in Owerri



– What the Resource Persons said

Cross section of lecturers  and participants during the Conference at Assumpta.

Cross section of lecturers and participants during the Conference at Assumpta.

A two-day Pro-Life International Conference organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri ended with a rally along the streets of Owerri, Imo State capital, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Delivering the homily at the Eucharistic celebration which heralded the event, Most Rev. Dr. A.J.V. Obinna noted that the conference has coincided with the memorial feast of Charles Lwanga and his companions – African martyrs who were executed by a king in their insistence never to betray their faith.  “The blood of the martyrs is the seed  the church.  Hence, Charles Lwanga and his companions, the prelate said showed character: “Character of true Christians”.

Archbishop said the character Charles Lwanga and his companions displayed in the face of persecution and death has made their names stretched in the hallowed books of the church.  Today, he continued, we identify them as saints because they have attested and witnessed Christ.  So let’s not be deterred by what the evil one can do to our mortal bodies.  Let’s also use this forum like the martyrs as a radical assembly from Africa and rise up to the challenges.  Standing with God and by God; announcing to the whole world that we cannot afford to throw away our moral values through an abhorred way of life known as same-sex marriage”.

The Metropolitan See of Owerri regretted that Europe and America, societies, formally known for their rich cultural heritage in Christianity have turned out becoming wolves in sheep clothing perpetrating evil around the world.

The Cleric further stated unequivocally that the wind of evil of deviation from moral values are blowing around the world, and as christians we must stand firm and say no to it.

Archbishop Obinna also warned governments of Africa to guard against obnoxious influences of the Western culture.  He commended those he said inspite of pressure from Europe and America have remained resolute in their stand and vehemently rejected the legal right to abortion in their region.  He therefore charged Christians especially those in position of authority to champion the cause of Pro-Life and never to violate this right in whatever form including enacting of laws.

Welcoming delegates after the Mass, the Chief Shepherd described the essence of the gathering thus: “Children of God united as one family across the world fighting against one evil called same-sex union.  He however showered encomiums on members of the National Assembly in their resolve to checkmate the idea of same-sex union.

Archbishop Obinna regrettably recalled the violence against Persons Prohibition Bill, signed into law in May 29, 2012 by the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, which sparked protest recently on the streets of Owerri.

The prelate described the law as against human and natural justice.  He noted that the nod given to the law by the Governor took “us by surprise but we have to brace up as people of God and do everything possible for it to be expunged.”

In his response, the Secretary to the State government, Prof. Tony Anwuka, who represented the governor at the conference condemned the inclusion of the portion which allows medical abortion in the body of the law, saying “as a Knight of Saint Mulumba of the Catholic Church, I believe that every person should have the courage to preserve life rather than destroying it.  He further advised the healthcare givers and government to have a re-think and establish ways of protecting life.

Kick-starting the lectures with the topic: When does human life begin?   Dr. Emmanuel Okechukwu, a Public Health Specialist in the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja, x-rayed the developmental stages of the human body from conception to birth.  He noted that a new life begins when the man’s sperm unites with the woman’s egg – a process he called fertilization.  He further said that it tantamounts to ulterior motive when people keep asking when does human life begin?  He said that such question is coming from the efforts of anti-life and atheistic secular humanists who spread their harmful utilitarian philosophy to the detriment of our common moral values.

Molly Suzanne White – Founder and CEO of Women for Life International, in her topic: Prof-life Initiatives and Efforts in Europe and America in the face of the Culture of Death  stated that the efforts of pro-lifers in Europe and America has been to nip activities of the anti-lifers in the bud.  She said that after 1973, pro-life groups have worked diligently in the election of those who will carry their message to the positions of higher authorities.  She used her lecture to inform the gathering that pro-life in America and Europe in the past 40 years have succeeded in ensuring that  laws must force abortion providers to fully inform women of all the risks of abortion.  She noted that they are earnestly looking forward to seeing when abortion will no longer be legal or accepted in all societies.

In the topic: Using the Natural Family Planning Method to uphold the Culture of life by Dr. Mrs. Henrietta Williams, the National President of Catholic Doctors’ Association, Nigeria she observed that co-operation between the two couples is the key to success of any Natural Family Planning.  She said that NFP, which does not involve drug or chemical, takes advantage of changes associated with ovulation.  She believed that couples using this method to postpone pregnancy abstain from intercourse during the fertile period.

For Dr. Mrs. Williams therefore, NFP can help identify potential fertility problems, hormonal irregularities, painful ovulation, excessive or deviant vaginal discharge.  She concluded by announcing that this method is accepted and supported by the church.

L-R Brian Clowes Ph.D of Human life International USA, Mrs. Stella Acholonu, Mrs. Anne Igwe, Fr. Justin Okoro Lady Stella Achunne - Pro-life moment in Owerri.

L-R Brian Clowes Ph.D of Human life International USA, Mrs. Stella Acholonu, Mrs. Anne Igwe, Rev. Fr. Justin Okoro and  Lady Stella Achunne – Pro-life moment in Owerri.

Dr. Darlington Akukwu of the Hospital Management Board, Owerri in his topic: The Degradation and Commercialization of Human Person, frowned at the news emanating from the Nigerian Society on young ladies who he said are making moneys through the sale of their newly born babies.  Dr. Akukwu said “It is not just to believe that human life is sacred and dignified”, it goes beyond that.  “Human life is God’s image”.  He noted that development of human life follows a process of growth, death and decay with the return of the soul to God the Creator.  With this, he dejected any form of human trafficking, saying they are against the dignity of the human person.

While Dr. Akukwu tried kicking against commercialization of human bodies, Dr. Woodbridge Clows, Director of Education and Research in Humanity Life International in his topic: Sustaining and Promoting Man-Woman Marriages, maintained that it is idealistically enriching when human beings continue to respect the will of creation as it regards marriage.  Dr. Brian opined that there are two things that make one happy – family and God.  He said that God in his infinite blessing bring together husband and wife into a family where they are allowed by law to procreate.  The fruits of the womb, he said, must be protected always.  This is why according to Dr. Brian man-woman marriage should be sustained and promoted.  This act he added is a sign of cooperation with God in bringing life into being.

Catholics demonstrating against abortion,  same sex union in Owerri.

Catholics demonstrating against abortion, same sex union in Owerri.

In his Chastity vs the Dangers of Illicit Sex and Contraceptive among the Youth, Rev. Fr. Dr. Justin Okoror remarked that sex is a special reserve for the married.  He pointed out that when the unmarried and adolescents jump into marriage many problems emerge.  For him, there is no true love binding the two party and its problems could range from broken heart to unwanted pregnancy.  In this situation, Fr. Okoro noted that the killing of the innocent unborn becomes an option to cover illicit acts and its consequences.  He however used the forum to remind young people that sexual drives, sexual explosions and abuse of sexuality does not mean love.  Any abuse of sexuality will lead to violence of self esteem and in an attempt to prevent conception and avoid abortion some go into contraceptives which he said has caused more harm than good.

The clergyman advised youths to learn self respect for their bodies by practicing chastity, abstinence and love of God.  “Your beauty is for the glory of God.  Avoid premarital sex and gain better health and family life”, he concluded.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ann whyte

    June 18, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    This is wonderful and the lectures should come up as often as possible.
    Many atimes.peoples has been led into this sinful act of abortion byn those
    they intend rendering help to as in the case of a friend i know whose colleague
    friend and her husband planned and use charm on her,-an ex seminarian husband.

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Covid-19 robs 2020 Owerri Archdiocesan Day/Odenigbo lecture of usual festivities



2020 Odenigbo with Archbishop Obinna

…Half a loaf better than no bread at all – Archbishop Obinna

By Emeka Ani

The usual pomp and pageantry that characterize the Owerri Archdiocesan Day/Odenigbo lecture did not feature this year due to Covid-19 pandemic, thus leading to a low-key celebration.

Not only that the usual lecture did not hold, the “Odenigbo Eve,” which usually involves a variety of cultural entertainment, including dances, drama, singing and wrestling contests did not feature at all; Covid-19 emebiela ihe!

But according to Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri and founder, Odenigbo lecture series, who filled the gap created by the absence of this year’s lecture, “kama ehi mmadu ga-agbafucha, o ka mma igbubiri ya odu”. (It is better to accept less than one wants or expects than to have nothing at all.)

The Owerri Archdiocesan Day is an annual celebration to commemorate the 1994 elevation of the Catholic Diocese of Owerri to an Archdiocese. The celebration began in 1996.
According to Archbishop Obinna, the “arch-ness bestowed on the diocese was an invitation challenge to root the gospel of salvation deep into our lives and culture, to purify, rectify and sanctify every part of our culture, to reject what is evil, harmful and inhuman therein.”

This year, the Archdiocesan Day, which was held on Saturday September 5, began with a thanksgiving Mass as usual at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri. It was presided over by Most Rev. Anthony Obinna assisted by the Catholic Bishop of Aba, Most Rev. Augustine Echema and the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, Episcopal Vicars and several priests.

The Cathedral, unlike in the past was half-filled following directives by the Archdiocese that only those invited would be admitted to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 protocols, especially physical distancing.

In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Echema described Owerri as a special Archdiocese that produced two bishops in one year; a reference to the appointment of Bishop Chikwe and himself in 2019.

Commending Archbishop Obinna for establishing Odenigbo lecture series, Bishop Echema highlighted the importance of native language, saying there is correlation between language and culture.

Bishop Echema emphasized the importance of native language in evangelization and advised ndigbo to take Igbo Language seriously, speak Igbo, write Igbo and dream in Igbo, because “when one dreams in a language, it shows that one understands not only the language but also the culture of the people.”

The thanksgiving Mass was followed by fund-raising for archdiocesan projects especially the building of a new Archdiocesan Secretariat, a minor seminary and a monastery, after which the faithful relocated to the Obiri-Odenigbo for refreshment and a talk in place of the 2020 Odenigbo lecture which was to be delivered by Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Papal Nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago. Because of the coronavirus and the total lockdown, the lecturer could not arrive Nigeria for the lecture, titled: Otu Chukwu: Otu Obara, Mbikozi Umu Mmadu. The lecture has now been differed to 2021.

However, in its place and to ensure this year’s Odenigbo is not totally a failure, Archbishop Obinna delivered what he called a “Talk” but eventually became a lecture. He titled it: ODENIGBO: ENYEMAKA PURUICHE N’IJI ASUSU IGBO EZISAZI – ANABATACHA OZIOMA KRISTI.

In the 57-page lecture, which he delivered with the same vigor and vitality as he did in 2000 when he delivered that year’s Odenigbo lecture – “UJUNWA: Anuri Uwa Niile,” Archbishop Obinna, explained that the need to intensify and expand the saving work of Christ among ndigbo and within the Igbo religio-cultural context through Igbo Language gave rise to Odenigbo.

He commended the white missionaries for bringing the Goodnews of salvation to Igboland and elsewhere even though they did not give much attention to the use of Igbo Language in evangelization, apart from the Catechism and other publications like Ndu Dinwenu Anyi.

Archbishop Obinna recalled with nostalgia, a historical event which took place on September 20, 1970 during the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Mark Unegbu at Mt. Carmel Catholic Church, Emekuku.

“That day was unforgettable in the use of Igbo Language and Igbo music and instrument to celebrate Mass. For the first time, since 1885 Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Otito Diri Chineke n’elu kacha elu) was sung in Igbo (instead of Latin) with Igbo instrument amid jubilation.

Describing Christ as Odenigbo, Odenuwa, Amarachi Obinna said, he (Christ) has freed ndigbo from ancient and modern fears, occasioned by traditions and customs that terrorize and hold ndigbo captive.

Concluding the lecture, he observed that the modern darkness we see today is based on stupidity and pride, when some people want to recreate themselves, do whatever they like, without fear of God or man because of greed, modernity, science and technology.

“We had thought that the end of Nigeria-Biafra war will bring peace to the country but unfortunately there is still fear and anxiety in Igboland and Nigeria, people are living in fear, the world is living in fear.”

For man to have peace of mind and live in peace, in a world full of fear, the lecturer said there was need for us to receive the light of Christ and gift of the spirit; take the word of God seriously and live a life of humility, devoid of pride based on academic qualifications, scientific and technological discoveries and material acquisitions.

“These will give way to a life of humility, love and mercy and the beauty of the world created by God will manifest in you and in the society.”

“It is only in the gospel message of Christ – who is Odenuwa and Odenigbo that one can proudly say; “The world is beautiful (Uwa Amaka), he said.

In a vote of thanks, the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe said the standing ovation that greeted the Archbishop’s special lecture was a proof that the talk was well delivered and well received, adding that the Archbishop is always at home with Igbo Language.

The takeaway of the lecture, according to Bishop Chikwe, was that Igbo Language is beautiful and its beauty was rooted in Christ, the Odenigbo, who is neither white nor black.
Though Mbem Odenigbo (Odenigbo Anthem) and Ekwe Odenigbo did not feature at the lecture, the cultural dance by the CWO of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Egbeada entertained the audience, thus giving the occasion a semblance of Odenigbo celebration.

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HRH Eze Peter Opara inaugurates cabinet



HRH Eze Peter Opara  inaugurates cabinet

…As traditional leadership gets boost at Umunumo Ancient Kingdom

By Magnus Ibe

The Traditional leadership of Umunumo Autonomous Community, Ehime Mbano LGA of Imo State received a resounding boost on Sunday August 23, as the cabinet members were formally inaugurated by HRH, Eze Peter Chima Opara (Eze Udo II).

The assemblage of top brass personalities into the cabinet is indicative of robust prospects for the growth and development of the Ancient Autonomous Community.

Inaugurating the members of the Eze-in-Council, the Royal Father charged the inductees to shun personal interest and put the community in the front burner for a rapid transformation and development. He enjoined the cabinet members to be proactive, articulative and dogged about the welfare of the community, employment and empowerment of the youths so that a new chapter is enacted.

According to him, many are called, but few are chosen. He charged them to move the community to the next level by articulating right attitude and formulate policies that will accelerate the development of the community. He cautioned against indolence and insubordination that can retard the unity and development of the community.

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara with Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu and other priests

In his remarks, the President-General of the Town, Chief Godwin Uwah working in synergy with the royal father advised that the various Town Unions leadership should synergize and work in one page with the cabinet members. Chief Godwin Uwah observed that membership of cabinet is subject to review every four years.

Among the cabinet members comprise Chief Godwin Uwah PG, Sir MCN Asawalam (KSM), Chief Chidi Ogueri, Chief Sir Emmanuel Ibe, Chief Aloka Alexander, Nze H.D. Eze, Mr. Emeto K. Michael, Nze Godwin Amaku, Mr. Columba Ohazurike, Chief Mel Daimeon Osuji (Omereoha), Hon Ononamadu Emeka Joseph, Chief Peter Crown Duru, Chief Romanus Ogueri, Comrade Godwin Ihekwoaba, Nze Romanus Chukwu, Nze Vincent Ukah, Chief E. Evaristus Okafor, Chief S. Okele, Nze Clement Iwueze, Hon Felix Iwuji, Chief S. Obikaonu, Hon Kelechi Iwueze, Mr. Joseph Obi Onyema (Deputy PG), ACP H. Agbiogwu, Chief M.C. Okoro, Nze Nneji Boniface, Nze Charles Nwokoro, Nze Edmund Nwokeke, Chief Joseph Anosike, Chief M. Dingwo, Chief Columbia Isikuma, Chief Oliver Agbaso, Ichie Bernard Nwohiri, Nze Titus Iwunze, Chief Romanus Ijejiobi and all village chairmen constitute members of the enlarged cabinet. HRH Eze P. Alozie, Abunumo I graced the event.

In a vote of thanks, Chief Mel-Daimeon Osuji, promised on behalf of the members of the Eze’s cabinet to live above board like Caesar’s wife. He observed that he was humbled to speak on behalf of the top brass personalities who constitute the Eze-in-Council and also made a personal donation of one million naira.

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet  members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

Centre: HRH Eze & Ugoeze Peter Chima Opara (Ezeudo II) with the cabinet
members, Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu & Eze & Ugoeze P.O. Alozie (Ebunumo I)

In his contribution, Hon. Emeka Joseph Ononammadu, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu State, who is also a member of the cabinet made a mouthwatering financial support and others including Sir. M.C.N. Asawalam donated handsomely.

Inducting the new cabinet members, Msgr. Jerry Ofoegbu prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom for the Royal Father and the cabinet members.

He eulogized the royal father for putting God first in his nascent leadership. He admonished the PG and the members of the Eze-in-Council to ensure peace and unity in their various domain. He spoke against injustice, insubordination and manipulative divisive tendencies that will sow seed of discord in the community. He prayed God to bless the royal father with the Wisdom of Solomon.

Msgr. Ofoegbu prayed for longitivity, peace and development of Umunumo Ama-Iri community. He cautioned against sectionalism and maltreatment of widows, orphans and the less privileged in the society.

Traditional cuisine of palm wine, Ugba with stockfish and other local delicacies were served to all and sundry. Eze & Ugoeze Ekwunno, Eze Umuezeala Oguara graced the event amid pomp and pageantry.

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St. Michael’s Choir Umuaro wins singing competition



St. Michael's Choir Umuaro wins singing competition
By Magnus Ibe

Monsignor Jerry Ofoegbu presided over the activities heralding the Silver Jubilee anniversary celebration of Rev. Sr. Mary Ifechukwudere Emeribe which kicked-off at St. Charles Parish Umunumo, Ehime Mbano LGA Saturday August 29, with worship and praises to the glory of God with a singing competition among four parishes.

Msgr. Ofoegbu, the Dean of Ehime Deanery expressed profound gratitude to God for His mercies and goodness culminating in the silver jubilee anniversary celebration of Rev. Sr. Emeribe of Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy congregation (DMMM) who is billed to mark the 25th year anniversary celebration of her profession in December.

The event was graced by Rev. Frs. Paschal Nwaobasi, Boniface Edomobi, Nnamdi Anyanwu, Andrew Agbiogwu who extolled the Silver Jubilarian for keeping faith and for being involved in the spread of evangelism. He appreciated her niece for commencing her celebration with the singing competition among the parishes in her home Umunumo community.

The competing parish choirs included: St. Charles Parish Choir Umunumo led by David Ohaeri, St. Ignatius Parish Choir Ibeafor Umunumo led by Okorie Damian, St. Michael’s Parish Choir Umuaro-Umunumo headed by Jim Nnorom and St. Theresa’s Parish Choir Umuoma Nzerem led by Fidelis Osuji.

In her remarks prior to the commencement of the competition, Rev. Sr. Emeribe observed that the event marks the beginning of the celebration heralding her profession and consecration in the Lord’s vineyard. According to her, she was motivated by St. Augustine who said that “whoever sings well, prays twice.”

According to her, she started the induction of the four competing parish choirs on March 23, 2020. She posited that she was motivated to help upgrade the choir because most times, “external” choirs were hired to animate Eucharist worship at burials and weddings due to the poor and inferior choir at the locality.

She disclosed that she included St. Theresa’s choir Umuoma Nkerem because she served there for over ten years. She observed that even participating choirs will have a token of appreciation and a certificate of participation. She said the star prize of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000) goes to the eventual winner of the competition in addition to the customized trophy.

According to her, her intentions to help groom a central choir from the whole Umunumo Ama-Iri community and she hopes that the competition will become an annual event.

The team of judges from Abia State led by Nath Nwoko (Rochobath) included, Amarachi Udochika and Obinna Osisiogu.

At the end of the competition, the choir from St. Michael’s Parish Umuaro won the first prize and were given the their prize money after each choir rendered five Christian renditions each.

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