DIOCESAN NEWS

Ahiara loses another priest in three months
Holy Rosary Hospital Ogbor Nguru Gets Facelift
Promoting Our Cherished Family Values
A Statement at the End of the First Catholic Education Summit
MPP6 Commissions Water Project in Ezuhu Nguru
PRESS RELEASE


 

Ahiara loses another priest in three months

Barely two months and three days after the death of Fr. Simon Ebisike, the entire Catholic diocese of Ahiara was thrown into another mournful mood on Friday, February the 10th 2006.
Rev. Fr. Stanley Amanze who had had a running battle with cancer gave up the ghost at the Emekuku hospital.

Announcing the painful news to the Ahiara diocesan presbyterium, the bishop, Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe led the priests to observe a minute silence for the repose of the soul of the deceased priest, while commending him into the hands of God.

The funeral arrangement released by the office of the bishop and signed by his Chancellor Rev. Fr. Evaristus Mbata indicates that on Tuesday, February the 21st, 2006, a vigil mass will be held at the Sacred Heart Parish Umumbiri Ekwerazu by 4:30 pm. On Wednesday, February the 22nd, 2006, by 7:30 am, his body will depart the Holy Rosary Morgue at Ogbor Nguru enroute his home town Eziala Ihitte in the Ezinihitte Mbaise Area Council of Imo State. By 8:30 am same day, the body wil leave Eziala Ihitte with a flag stop at the Sacred Heart Parish Umumbiri. 9:30am, Fr. Stanley will be laid in state at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral, Ahaira Mbaise. At 11:00 am, the funeral mass in his honour will commence at the Cathedral. Interment will follow suit at the diocesan Priests' cemetery.

Born 39 years at Ezial Ihitte, Ezinihitte Mbaise, Fr. Stanley studied at the Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri for both Philosophy and Theology. After his ordination in the year 2000, he worked at the diocesan Secretariat serving as the assistant secretary to the bishop. From there he served next as the Parish Priest of St. Christopher's Church Akpim Okrika-Nweke. Until his death, he was the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church Umumbiri.

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Holy Rosary Hospital Ogbor Nguru Gets Facelift

The ceremony was quite brief, but very bright and fair. It was the official blessing and opening of the ultra modern ward at the Holy Rosary Hospital, Ogbor Nguru. In what turned out to be a miniature convocation of the leaders of thought in Nguru Nwe-Nkwo autonomous community, the Catholic bishop of Ahiara, Most Rev. Dr. V.A. Chikwe invoked God's blessings on both the staff, in-mates of the hospital, the entire Ogbor Nguru parish and the hospital ground itself.

Earlier in his introductory remarks, bishop Chikwe said it was really a thing of joy gathering together to bless the new structures at the Ogbor Nguru hospital. While thanking God for those friends of Ahiara diocese from the United States of America who have been of immense help in the upgrading of the hospital, he encouraged all and sundry, especially the host community to patronize the hospital in terms of security, donation of lands and also in the area of projecting a good image of the hospital.

While thanking the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Emma Ogu and the parish council for the good job they are doing in the place, he called on various Aladimma groups in the place to do their part in ensuring proper security in the hospital.

The bishop hinted that it is taking the diocese a lot in terms of money and manpower to upgrade the place and explained further that the diocese still needs a lot of money to bring the hospital to the required standards. This, he said, is of great relevance because the two most important things in one's life are: first, good health and second, good education.

Drawing inference from the gospel reading taken by Fr. E. Mbata, he explained that God is the ultimate healer of every illness and that we should make recourse to him always to heal both our spiritual and physical ailments.

At the end of the rite of blessing during which the sick inmates were specially blessed, a short reception ceremony was organized by both the host parish and the town union.

Speaking at the occasion, the traditional ruler of Nguru Nwe-Nkwo autonomous community, HRH Eze Damian Njoku, Ekwueme II of Nguru Nwe-Nkwo appreciated the bishop's presence. While tracing the history of the hospital from its original location to the present place it is situated, he corroborated the bishop's remark that good health and good education are optimal in every person's life. Eze Damian Njoku pledged the support and co-operation of the people of Nguru Nwe-Nkwo with both the administration and staff of the hospital. He gave special words of encouragement to the new Matron and her staff.

Adding her voice, the Matron of the hospital, Sr. Mary Eustace Ukwuije thanked God and counted herself a lucky person to witness the official blessing of the new ward just two days after arriving and assuming duties at the hospital. She pledged the loyalty of the sisters in realizing the intentions of the bishop for the place while hoping for a day in the near future, when the Ogbor Nguru hospital will become Holy Rosary Specialist hospital. Sr. Ukwuije applauded the spirit of co-operation exhibited by the workers.

Before saying the concluding prayer rapping up the event, bishop Chikwe specially welcomed the new Matron to the diocese while recalling the request of late Eze Nwachukwu-Udaku for the modernization of the Ogbor Nguru hospital. He hinted that that was actually the intention of the diocese.

He also thanked the medical delegation that earlier visited the diocese from Michigan in the United States of America led by Fr. Innocent Emecheta and whom he said, are willing to see that the hospital is developed further.

Among the priests who graced the brief but colourful occasion included: Frs. Emma Ogu, Emma Nwaogwugwu, E. Mbata and Ted. Onumaegbu. Other dignitaries who witnessed the event included also, HRH Eze Damian Njoku (Ekwueme II of Nguru Nwe-Nkwo), Mr. Peter Nzem (Chairman, Town Union), Mr. Tony Nwishi (Chairman, Parish Council of St. Joseph's Ogbor Nguru who also doubled as the M.C. for the day), Sir C.C. Nnodim, Nze Linus Nwachukwu, Chief Eugene Olewuike, Nze Raymond E. Okorie, Mrs. Onyeoziri, Mrs. Emelda Anyamele and teachers and students of Mother Mary Colman Memorial Girls’ Secondary School, Ogbor Nguru.

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Promoting Our Cherished Family Values - A Statement issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province at the End of their First Plenary Meeting for the Year 2006, January 24-25, at the Assumpta Pastoral Centre, Owerri

We the bishops of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province met at the Assumpta Pastoral Centre and deliberated on a number of issues affecting the Church and our society. As we rise from the meeting we issue the following statement.

Preamble

1. Acclaiming its inestimable place in the divine plan for the survival and building up of the human person and society, we wish to focus attention on the family “given the political, economic, social and cultural difficulties which African families must face as a result of the great changes which characterize contemporary society.” (Ecclesia in Africa, 1995, no. 80). The difficulties give us your pastors, cause for great concern to take the necessary measures to protect and promote the family and the cherished values it incarnates, inherited from the positive aspects of modernity, the sublime teachings of our Christianity as well as enviable customs of our traditional culture. We do so in order to guarantee the family, to protect its dignity and integrity from the aberrations of anti-family policies and movements.

The Family

2. “The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life”. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2207). For us Igbo Christians, this definition includes both the nuclear and the extended dimensions of the family, without the one excluding the other, since each is not an island but is necessary for the existence of the other.

3. The Family as an Inestimable Premier Value: In the face of the threatening devaluation of family values, we make bold to reassert that the family remains an inestimable premier value. We must never lose sight of the truth that the family is the source and cradle of life, the place in which all of us are born, nurtured and sustained (see John Paul II, The Lay Members of Christ's faithful, 1988, no. 40). When every other institution shall have failed us, the family remains the champion and ultimate bastion of our life cause, individually and collectively, “Authority, stability and the life of relationships within the family continue the foundation for freedom, security and fraternity within society.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2207).

4. The Family as a School for Humanization: We recognize with gratitude the formative role of our families in our acquisition of intellectual, moral, spiritual and creative capacities. It is thanks to our families that we first come to our knowledge of right and wrong and to our capacity to distinguish the good from the bad. Clearly, we owe our personality, self-esteem and balance to our family background and formation. Our families instill in us our primal and basic discipline of character and conduct: our endurance capacity, patience, contentment, self-control, self-moderation, modesty, respect, spirit of accommodation, truthfulness, etc.

5. Love, Respect and Hospitality: The crisis in human relationship that we experience today challenges us to rediscover our cherished tradition of respect and hospitality accorded to each and everyone, be it our kinspersons or even strangers. We recall with nostalgia those endearing customs of reciprocal respect between the old and young, and between men and women. We recall the preponderant use of endearments between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, seniors and juniors that made for mutual understanding, harmony and support. These basic ingredients of the typical Igbo family made life such a beauty and joy.


6. Responsibility and Industriousness: Against the backdrop of laziness and sloth that fuels the syndrome of dependency, begging and crime among our people today, we cannot but appreciate the responsibility and enterprising spirit that characterize the Igbo family of the time. Both husband and wife as well as their children were never idle but always had something creative, productive and lucrative to do. As children, our families engaged us also in certain appropriate domestic and business works, not really in order to punish or abuse us, but to prepare us for life, besides the contributions being made to the family welfare.

7. Kinship and Solidarity: More than any other institution, the family teaches us that no man is an island, that we are not isolated individuals but persons created for community fraternity and friendship. Left alone, no one can make it, for as we live, we do so in mutual dependency.

8. Sense of the Sacred: Every authentic Igbo family has a deep sense of the sacred through its regular family prayer life style and religious devotions. It is indeed thanks to our families that many of us first come to this highest ideal, how to reverence and worship God. Our families introduced us to the faith, taught us how to believe and pray, brought us to the community of believers and worshippers, and encouraged us to obey divine commandments. A wholesome family life fosters interior dispositions, prepares for a living faith, and remains a solid anchor for the faith throughout life.

Conclusion

The family is at the soul of the human person and society. We therefore call on all Catholics, Christians, Believers, the Government and men and women of goodwill, to join hands in promoting the family and its values as a way of also guaranteeing the security and survival of the human race.

We entrust all our families to the patronage of the Holy Family of Nazareth for divine protection and blessing.

Signed:

Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna
The Archbishop of Owerri
President
Most Rev. Victor A. Chikwe
The Bishop of Ahiara
Secretary.

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A STATEMENT AT THE END OF THE FIRST CATHOLIC EDUCATION SUMMIT HELD AT THE NATIONAL CENTRE FOR WOMEN EVELOPMENT, ABUJA, 6TH - 10TH FEBRUARY, 2006

We, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, (CBCN), through our Education Committee, met from the 6th to the 10th February 2006, at the National Centre for Women Development, Abuja, with our Catholic Education experts and practitioners, priests, religious and laity, involved at various levels of education and in various parts of the country to comprehensively review the state of Catholic Education in Nigeria in the light of the updated Catholic Church Policy on Education in Nigeria. At the end of this very well attended Summit we issue the following Statement:

1. We humbly give thanks to Almighty God, the source of all wisdom and holy inspiration, for giving us a share of His wisdom that enabled us reflect fruitfully on the updated Catholic Church Policy on education in Nigeria, recently approved by the CNCN.

2. We rejoice at the historic achievement of Catholic Education in Nigeria for which so many Nigerians; Catholic and non-catholic are still grateful.

3. Given the continued longing of many Nigerians for Catholic qualitative Education in the face of government take-over schools and the erosion of educational standards, we have publicly rededicated ourselves through this summit to sustain and hand on the legacy of excellent education to the younger generation of Nigerians.

4. We share with government the national commitment to provide good and effective education to our children at all levels of education. In that regard; we have adopted the general principles and guidelines of Nigeria's National Policy on Education while imbuing them with the Divine Catholic principles that make Catholic Education a Divine Mission, a Divine Mandate and a humane service.

5. We gratefully declare that Catholic education is the integral and optimal formation, training and development of human persons in the wisdom- discipline inspired by Divine-Christian Revelation drawing freely into the process ideals, values, subject-disciplines, skills, techniques and equipment that serve humanity and the common good.

6. As optimal education in Nigeria would entail a healthy partnership between Church and State, we urge Government to cater for the education of all citizens of our nation irrespective of ownership of schools by granting the same financial support and basic education materials to every school.

7. To correct the injustice of taking over Church schools in the past and to help restore their historic glory, we urge those state governments that have not yet returned schools to their owners to do so.

8. We pledge our readiness to work with International bodies and other bodies in our country who are committed to education to bring about a renaissance of education for the overall welfare of Nigerians. We will appreciate their financial support in order to help keep fees in our schools at affordable levels especially for the poor.

9. We urge all education at all levels of our Catholic Educations System; pre-nursery, nursery, primary, secondary, and tertiary, including seminaries and novitiates, to closely implement the guidelines of the updated Catholic Church Policy on Education, especially the integration of religious and moral education into the knowledge and professional curriculum, a healthy spirituality and healthy morality are essential to healthy nation-building.

10. In this age of Globalization with his heightened Information and communication outreach and exchange, we urge every level of our education to draw into the teaching and learning process the resources of information, communication and computer technology.

11. We will sustain the benefit of this First Catholic Education Summit through an Implementation Committee at the National level, through the Diocesan and Congregational Education offices, through the National Association of Catholic Education Directors/Secretaries and through the production of “Excel”- the Journal of Catholic Education.

Signed:

MOST REV. JOHN O. ONAIYEKAN
Archbishop of Abuja
President, CBCN

MOST REV. ANTHONY J.V. OBINNA
Archbishop of Owerri
Chairman, Education, Committee CBCN


On behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, 10th February, 2006.

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MPP6 Commissions Water Project in Ezuhu Nguru

The micro-project programme of the European Union has brought relief to another community in Aboh Mbaise L.G.A of Imo State with the commissioning of a water project in Ezuhu Nguru.
At Umuokoroukwu Ezuhu, the water project was commissioned amidst joy and happiness by the people who expressed appreciation to and satisfaction with the MPP6, the financiers of the project.

Before the commissioning, the chairman of Umuokoroukwu forum, Mr. Tony Obasi in a joyfull tone welcomed the officials of E.U MPP6 to their community. He thanked God for making the project a reality and spoke about the necessity of water to all living things especially to human beings.

Mr. Bon U. Inechi presented an address on behalf of the Umuokoroukwu community in which they expressed their sentiments of appreciation to the officials of EU MPP6 for completing and commissioning the water project. The officials include: the state project manager, Mrs. Celine Ibe, the project officer Barr. Mrs Achigbu, Mrs Helen Nwuba and Mr. Chidi Onukwugha.

Performing the commissioning ceremony, the sate project manager Mrs. Celine Ibe, expressed happiness that at last the project was being commissioned. She charged the members of the community to see to it that the installed facilities of the project are maintained and protected.

By: Nwoko M. Uche

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PRESS RELEASE

The Aboh Mbaise LGEA is mounting a 2-day Micro-workshop on Igbo and English Language to help address the issue of reading culture in the school system. The Education Secretary Aboh Mbaise Local Government Education Authority Mr. Marcel Kenneth Okechukwu Ogbu disclosed this during a maiden Management meeting with the Heads of Primary Schools in the area.

Mr. Ogbu further stated that school-based supervision approach has been introduced in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Education Authority for critical and objective evaluation of the teaching and learning exercise in the school system in Aboh Mbaise.

The Education Boss declared that Honours Award for teachers have been instituted to encourage best practices in the Area's Education Authority System.

By: Sunny Osuji
(PRO)

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