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Owerri Archdiocese opens Pilgrimage/Retreat Centre at Ihiagwa

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Owerri Archdiocese opens Pilgrimage/Retreat Centre at Ihiagwa

The Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna on Thursday May 20, opened the Verbum Domini Pilgrimage/Retreat Centre in Ihiagwa/Obinze Owerri West LGA. It was a two-day event which had the priests, religious and lay faithful within and outside the Archdiocese in attendance. The opening Mass on the first day was presided over by the Archbishop.

In his opening remarks, the prelate praised the congregation for their zeal and faith in God. He thanked the Spiritual Director of the Centre, Rev. Fr. Bona Chinemerem Opara for his thoughtfulness in asking for permission for the establishment of such a place. The Archbishop also thanked the faithful, who out of their generosity donated in both cash and kind to see that the structures that were needed to be in place for the opening ceremony.

Prior to the commencement of the Holy Mass, the Archbishop read the provision of the Canon Law, which give a Local Ordinary of a Diocese authority to establish such centres for the growth of God’s people.

The notes read in part: “A shrine or a Pilgrimage Centre is a ‘Sacred Place’ which with the approval of the Local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims” (Canon 1230).
“Certain privileges may be granted to shrines when the local circumstances, the number of pilgrims and especially the good of the faithful would seem to make this advisable” (Canon 1233).

“At shrines the mean of salvation are to be more abundantly made available to the faithful by sedulous proclamation of the word of God, by suitable encouragement of liturgical life, especially by the celebration of the Eucharist and Penance, and by the fostering of approved forms of popular devotion” (Canon 1234).

“This Verbum Domini Pilgrimage/Retreat Centre has been approved my me, the Local Ordinary, as an extension of the evangelization mission and pastoral ministry of the Catholic Church, thereby emphasizing the unity and universality of the Church’s mission. All faithful and authentic members of Christ’s faithful: bishops, priests, religious and laity painstakingly should seek to participate in the Catholic Church’s mission and ministry in the unity of the Catholic Faith, and in communion with and in obedience to the legitimate ecclesiastical authority. It is in this line that the Spiritual Director for now of this Centre has been given the approval to initiate the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage Centre. On your behalf I thank him for this initiative and congratulate those who have assisted him so far in the spiritual project”.

“The prayer of our Lord in today’s Gospel challenges all to work in unison. The division of Sadducees and Pharisees in the presence of Christianity made Paul remind us of the divisions and cracks that have emerged from those who claim to have gifts and charisms superior to the ones approved by the Church. Whoever serves here in the future will be simply known as the Spiritual Director”.

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Owerri Archdiocese: JDPC graduates 11 students in tailoring, fashion designing

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Owerri Archdiocese: JDPC graduates 11 students in tailoring, fashion designing

The Justice, Development, Peace and Caritas Commission (JDPC) Friday June 4, 2021 at Assumpta Cathedral graduated the second set of students trained on tailoring and fashion designing.

Just like their pioneer counterparts, the new graduates, numbering 11were trained and empowered with modern sewing machines and cash donations by the skill acquisition department of JDPC that interfaces with the Church and Society under the spiritual leadership of Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna and Rev. Fr. Dr. Gerald Chukwudi Njoku as the Director.

In his remarks, the director, Fr. Njoku, welcomed all from various walks of life and stressed on the need to be time conscious. Fr. Njoku thanked Rev. Fr. Kyrian Agogbuo, the Director of Entrepreneurship in the Archdiocese for his priceless inputs, Rev. Fr. Henry Opara, the Youths Chaplain, for mobilizing the youths for modernity, the Administrator, Rev. Fr. Clement Odoemena, for being proactive and Rev. Sr. J.T. Nwokoroku of Health sector for her quick response to duty, especially when life is at risk.

He said JDPC Commission has a dream of expanding the skill acquisition to an Institute of repute, with many more artisanship aids. He called on the youths to embrace the scheme, which he said remains free of charge.

Fr. Opara, Youth Chaplain, Fr. Agogbuo, Director Entrepreneurship and Fr. Ray Nzereogu, Director Ozisa Radio FM as well as Sr. Nwokoroku and Engr. Cyril Eke, Vice Chairman of Entrepreneurship, were among the dignitaries who spoke at the event. They all advised the graduands on the need to make good use of the opportunity provided them by the church through JDPC, while urging them to extend same gesture to the society by empowering others.

Highlights of the event were the launching of Almanac of the graduands, showcasing of their talents – class and style of the dresses sewn by them, award of Certificates to the graduands and appreciations by attendees. Miss Emmanuela, alumni of the institute stole the show with her presence, noting that her works have gone viral up to Germany.

Fr. Njoku, apart from footing the bill of the Almanac production, also gave stipends to the last year’s graduates to augment their efforts. He Njoku and the teacher of the graduands, Mr. Magnus Ndum joined the grauduands in paying glowing tributes to Mr. Kingsley Ohaeri, the JDPC Scribe and manager of the Skill Acquisition Institute, for his wondrous acts and innovations that conjure a galaxy of good legacies.

Other dignitaries at the event included Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, erstwhile Special Assistance to Imo State Governor on Skill Acquisition, Hon. Godswill Onyebuchi and Imo State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Ukachi Uka.

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Happy day at Assumpta Minor Seminary Naze … as Bishop Chikwe commissions landmark projects

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Happy day at Assumpta Minor Seminary Naze ... as Bishop Chikwe commissions landmark projects

Monday June 7, was a day of joy for students and formators of Assumpta Minor Seminary Naze, Owerri North, as they paid host to the auxiliary bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe.

The auxiliary bishop was at the school to commission two landmark projects: the newly renovated JSS hostel (All Saints Hostel) transformed by the rector of the Seminary, and a brand new 50KVA FG Wilson sound-proof generator procured for power supply in the Seminary.

Bishop Chikwe was delighted at the level of transformation in the school, particularly the face-lift brought by the renovated All Saints Hostel, a structure he saw last in disrepair during the Foundation Day ceremony of the Seminary in March last year.

Commissioning of the brand new 50kva soundproof generator by the bishop

In his brief speech during the ceremony, the chief shepherd charged the seminarians to appreciate the good work done by Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna, through the rector by ensuring that they make good use of the ultra modern facility, which aimed at enhancing both their academic well-being and overall seminary formation.

He pointed out the need for them to always appear neat not only externally but also internally, adding that to keep the hostel and the entire school premises clean should remain their watchword at all times.

The rector, Fr. Barr. Akoronye, in his thank you remark, expressed gladness that the bishop found time to commission the projects. He believed that the projects would boost the image of the seminary as well as helping the students aim high in their academic pursuit.

A cross section of seminarians during the ceremony

Present at the occasion were members of the Archdiocesan Seminary Committee, who included: Rev. Frs. Paschal Mbagwu, Eustace Okere, Bethrand Ujunwa, Bonaventure Opara and Henry Ajaero.

Other priests in attendance were Rev. Frs. Kyrian Agogbuo, Francis Ngere and Martin Agalaba.

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Auxiliary bishop inaugurates St David’s Orodo …Sues for peace in Igboland

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Auxiliary bishop inaugurates St David's Orodo …Sues for peace in Igboland

Auxiliary Catholic bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe has advised those fanning the embers of hatred and violence in Imo State and Igbo land as a whole to refrain, stressing that as a people of Christian faith “we’re all part of the sacred body of Christ.”

The message was contained in a homily the bishop delivered last Sunday at St. David’s Catholic Church Ubahaeze Orodo, Mbaitoli LGA, during the official inauguration ceremony of the church; where about 54 candidates received the sacrament of Confirmation.

Bishop Chikwe, who represented Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna at the event, anchored his admonition on the day’s feast of the Body & Blood of Christ.

He regretted that in spite of the lengthy years of Christianity in Igbo land, adherents of the religion were yet to grapple with the “simple injunction: Love one another as yourself.”

Speaking directly to Catholics, the auxiliary bishop said: “Majority of us tends to lose sight of the spiritual value of what we receive at Holy Communion. Be reminded that through this sacred act, all of us are unified in the blood of Christ. So let’s give peace a chance. Let’s forgive one another and let’s continue to tolerate each other.”

Reflecting on the Sacrament of Confirmation, Bishop Chikwe, who was flanked at the Mass by Rev. Frs. Philip Opara and Samuel Uzoukwu, parish priest and Archdiocesan Chancellor/Secretary respectively, advised the newly confirmed to give their life completely to the service of God, adding that the spirit of God they received would make them soldiers of Christ.

The bishop had earlier at the Mass presented the Book of Inauguration Decree to the parish priest, following the priest’s installation as pioneer parish priest and inauguration of members of Parish Pastoral Council (PPC).

The inauguration segment featured Archbishop Obinna’s gifts presentation of Ciborium and Chasuble to the parish. Upon receiving the gifts from the auxiliary bishop, the newly installed parish priest and his PPC Chairman, Sir Peter Opara, in a separate reaction, promised to discharge their duties with obedience and faithfulness.

The happy event took another turn with Archbishop’s arrival toward the tail end of the Mass, as his presence elicited happy response from parishioners.

Citing “not too strong” as reason for unable to preside at the Mass, the Owerri Metropolitan, who ensured that he maintained his usual style of honoring parish inauguration ceremony with song composition, led the happy church faithful in the following lyrics: Ubahaeze kele Chineke, Ubahaeze Tobe Jesu, Ubahaeze nara Muonso, Ubahaeze kwusa Ozioma.

The event shifted to the reception ground shortly after Mass with blessing of the Parish rectory.

It should be recalled that St. David’s Ubahaeze, former Station Church under Stella Maris Parish Orodo, on April 13, 2017 was raised to parish status, with Fr. Opara appointed as pioneer parish priest. 

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