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31 Jan 2022

Suspected armed robbers face jungle justice at Eziama-Obaire 

Two suspected armed robbers were, on Thursday 27th January 2022, burnt alive by youths at Eziama-Obaire Community in the Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.

The Forum Newspapers correspondent learnt that the suspected armed robbers, who were four in number, snatched a motorcycle from a man at gun-point within Isunjaba community.

An eyewitness account on the promise of anonymity said, “They (suspected robbers) snatched the motorcycle from a man at gunpoint at Isunjaba and unknown to them, they were trailed by the local security operatives (community vigilantes). Still narrating his story, our reporter gathered that “On sighting the vigilantes, they opened fire but had to succumb to superior firepower of the vigilantes and fled the scene. Two of the suspected robbers were apprehended instantly at Eziama-Obaire and set ablaze while the other two escaped with gunshot wounds.”

 Some locally made weapons were recovered from the suspected armed robbers.

As of the time of filing this report, the charred bodies were still lying along the road.

Some members of the community complained about the criminal activities of the suspected robbers who have terrorized the community for a long time.

Our correspondent also gathered that, on Sunday 23rd January 2022, two suspected robbers were also apprehended and set ablaze at Eziama-Obaire at night. They were apprehended while trying to snatch a motorcycle from a young man. A locally made pistol was also recovered from them.

It was gathered that the suspects were among a gang of notorious armed robbers from Njaba area that have been terrorizing the Njaba and Isu parts of the state in recent times. 

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31 Jan 2022

THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS 2021-2023 IN THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ORLU A REFLECTION By Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Celestine Chibueze Uzondu 

Diocesan Synod Coordinator

Email: celestineuzondu@gmail.com

PROLOGUE

The present Synod of Bishops was originally convoked by His Holiness Pope Francis on 7th March 2020 to be held in October 2022. Later, on 24th April 2021, the Roman Pontiff modified it by giving it the present structure of a synodal journey that began in 2021 and ends in 2023.

The Synod 2021-2023 was solemnly inaugurated by the Holy Father Pope Francis on 10th October 2021 in St. Peter’s Basilica Rome. The inauguration of the Synod at the level of the Universal Church was promptly followed by the inauguration at the level of the local Churches on Sunday 17th October 2021 as the Church celebrated World Mission Sunday.  Thus began the historic journey of the Synod that will last for two good years in the Church (2021-2023).The theme for this Synod of Bishops reads: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.”

Following in the footsteps of the Roman Pontiff and adhering to the guidelines of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, the Catholic Bishop of Orlu Most Rev. Augustine Tochukwu Ukwuoma flagged off the Synod in the Catholic Diocese of Orlu with a Pontifical Holy Mass on 8th December 2021, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. He also constituted the Diocesan Synod Committee and charged them to excogitate the Synod questionnaire for discussion in the stations, zones, parishes, institutions and regions of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu.

The aim of this reflection on the general theme of the Synod is to sensitize the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Church to wake up and take up the challenges of this epochal Synod tagged “the Synod of Synods.”  

ETYMOLOGY AND MEANING OF SYNOD: The word “Synod” derives from the Greek “synodos” by way of Latin “synodus”.  The Greek noun “syn-odos” is a fusion of the Greek preposition “syn” meaning “with”, “in company with” or “together with” and the Greek noun “hodos” meaning “path-way”. Literally, the word “Synod” means “walking together with on a path-way”. Theologically, a Synod is an official assembly of the Church convoked at the international, national, regional, provincial or diocesan levels to discuss issues concerning the life and mission of the Church.

THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS: The Synod of Bishops was instituted by Pope Paul VI with his motu proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo of 15th September 1965 in keeping with the request of the Fathers of the Second Vatican to maintain the collegial spirit fostered by the Council. The Synod of Bishops, representing the entire Catholic Episcopate, perpetuate in character, and exercising its function occasionally, is to assist in maintaining the close communion and collaboration between the Pope and the Bishops. While described as a participation in the “solicitude for the Universal Church” proper to the Bishop of Rome, this body of Bishops could also exercise deliberative power, if such powers were to be granted it by the Holy See. The 1983 Code of Canon Law describes the Synod of Bishops as “a group of Bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and Bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world” (cf. CIC, can. 342). Since the institution of the Synod of Bishops in 1965, it has been summoned thirty times. The Synodal Assemblies can be classified into three groups viz. Extraordinary General Assembly (3 times), Ordinary General Assembly (16 times) and Special Assembly (11 times). Two of the 11 Special Assemblies were held for the African Continent in 1994 and 2009.

The Extraordinary General Synods hitherto convoked and held are as follows: 1. Cooperation between the Holy See and the Episcopal Conferences (1969) 2. The Twentieth Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Second Vatican Council (1985) 3. The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization (2014).

The Ordinary General Synods convoked and held so far are as follows: 1. Preserving and Strengthening the Catholic Faith (1967) 2. The Ministerial Priesthood and Justice in the World (1971) 3. Evangelization in the Modern World (1974) 4. Catechesis in our Time (1977) 5. The Christian Family (1980) 6. Penance and Reconciliation in the Mission of the Church (1983) 7. The Vocation of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (1987) 8. The Formation of Priests in Circumstances of the Present Day (1990) 9. The Consecrated Life and its Role in the Church and in the World (1994) 10. The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World (2001) 11. The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church (2005) 12. The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church (2008) 13. The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith (2012) 14. The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World (2015) 15. Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment (2018) 16. For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission (2021-2023).

The Special Synods hitherto convoked and held are as follows: 1. Netherlands (1980) 2. Europe (1991) 3. Africa (1994) 4. Lebanon (1995) 5. America (1997) 6. Asia (1998) 7. Oceania (1998) 8. Europe (1999) 9. Africa (2009) 10. Middle East (2010) 11. Pan-Amazon Region (2019).

The theme of the Ordinary General Synod of Bishops 2021-2023 revolves around the trinomial viz. Communion, Participation and Mission. Before we exfoliate each of them, let’s analyse the concept of “synodality” which characterizes this particular Synod of Bishops convoked by Pope Francis.

THE CONCEPT AND MEANING OF “SYNODALITY”:  The substantive “synodality” derives from the adjective “synodal” which denotes the “modality” of a synod.  Consequently, “synodality” signifies the spirit and attitude of walking and working together in the Church. It is similar to “collegiality”. However, whereas collegiality refers to the doctrine that all Bishops, by virtue of their Episcopal consecration and their hierarchical communion among themselves and with the Pope as the head of the College, have a corporate responsibility for the unity of faith and of communion in the universal Church, synodality refers to the spirit and attitude of mutual interaction and collaboration among all the members of the Church, from the Pope to the last baptized Christian. It is this “spirit and attitude of synodality” that makes the Church a Communion. For one of the Fathers of the Church St. John Chrysostom “Church and Synod are synonymous.”  Hence the prelude to the Synod’s theme: “For a synodal Church:...” The preposition for here means “in the direction of”, “with respect to”, “appropriate or adapted to”, “beneficial to” or “in quest of”. The pilgrim Church which is by nature “synodal” is called to become “synodal” in reality. This “synodal Ecclesiology” is both an endowment and enrichment of the Church’s self-understanding in her pilgrimage to eternity. Synodality is not a passing phase, but a call to a new way of being Church. It is a call to listen. A synodal Church is a Church that listens. In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis stated: “It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn – the lay faithful, the Bishops, the Pope: all listening to each other and all listening to the Holy Spirit – “the Spirit of Truth” (Jn 14:17) in order to know what He is saying to the Church.” At this juncture, it’s pertinent to ask ourselves in the course of this Synod: if the Church is by nature synodal, how does it translate into reality in the station, zonal, parish and regional levels of our Diocese? Are we synodal in our modus vivendi and modus operandi? What is our attitude to power? Are we a listening and learning Church? Do we listen and learn from each other? What can we learn from Non-Christians, Non-Catholics, secular society to become truly a synodal Church? How can we imbibe the spirit and the attitude of “walking and working together” for the common good of the Church? 

COMMUNION: The word “communion” stems from Latin “communio,-nis” which goes back to the Latin verb “communio-ire-ivi-itum” meaning to unite with. Literally, it means “union with” or “completely one with”. It corresponds to the Greek word “Koinonia”. Koinonia together with Liturgia and Diakonia constitute the tripod on which the Church stands. The Church of Christ is a mystery of Communion. Hence the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council ascertained that the Universal Church is “a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (cf. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Ch. 1, §4). Since the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son in the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, He is also the principle of communion which exists among the members of the Church. This Communion is the basis for the mutual interaction and collaboration among the local churches that make up the Universal Church. This Synod convoked by Pope Francis offers us the golden opportunity to examine our conscience with the following questions: Are we conscious of our identity as beloved sons and daughters of God? Do we foster a living and loving relationship with God the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit? Do we maintain a cordial relationship among us? What are the factors that help or hinder communion and communication with each other? How do we resolve conflicts among us? Do we strive daily to forgive each other as God has forgiven us unconditionally in Christ?

PARTICIPATION: The word “participation” is the English rendition of the Latin “participatio” which comes from the Latin verb “participo-are-avi-atum” meaning “to take part”.  Participation is the link between Communion and Mission. Those united in the one Body of Christ are called to take active part in the spiritual and social mission of the Church. First and foremost, participation is co-responsibility of the people of God for the life and mission of the Church. Furthermore, it is collaboration among the people of God for the common good of the Church. At this point, some questions are inevitable:  What is the percentage of the participation of the lay faithful in the administrative organogram of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu? What are the factors that hinder or help the sense of co-responsibility and collaboration in our local Church?

MISSION: The word “mission” derives from the Latin “missio” which goes back to the Latin verb “mitto-ere-misi-missum” meaning to send. According to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council the pilgrim Church is by nature missionary since she proceeds from the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit and continues that mission in time and space (cf. Ad Gentes Divinitus, Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, Ch. 1, §2). The missionary mandate of the Church goes back to her founder Jesus Christ: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28:18-20). The Church continues this mission till today through proclamation, inculturation, evangelization, dialogue and human promotion. By virtue of the Christian initiation, every member of the Church is entitled to participate actively in the spiritual and social mission of the Church according to his or her status. We’re called during this Synod to examine ourselves with the following questions: what are the main challenges to evangelization and pastoral ministry in the Catholic Diocese of Orlu? What can we do to help the Bishop to continue the spiritual and social mission of the Church in our Diocese?

 

EPILOGUE

 In conclusion, this Synod convoked by Pope Francis is for all of us a “kairotic moment” of retrospection, introspection and prospection. Consequently, we look back with gratitude to the humble beginnings of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu which was created from Owerri Diocese, now Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, on 29th Nov. 1980 and inaugurated on 15th February 1981 with Most Rev. Dr. Gregory Obinna Ochiagha, of blessed memory, as the first Bishop. At the creation of the Diocese in 1980, there were only 23 Parishes and a handful of Priests, Religious and Seminarians. Today the Diocese under the dynamic leadership of the second Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Tochukwu Ukwuoma has 4 Pastoral Regions, 192 Parishes, 3 Chaplaincies, 278 Stations as well as 453 Diocesan Priests, 21 Religious Priests, 161 Religious Sisters, 7 Religious Brothers, 99 Major Seminarians, 410 Minor Seminarians, 328 Catechists and a teeming lay population. We express our filial gratitude to the Most Holy Trinity, the patron of the Diocese, for this tremendous spiritual and infrastructural growth and for the miracles of grace in our local Church. We cannot forget the labours of our predecessors. Hence we are also profoundly grateful to our fathers and mothers in faith as well as to the benefactors and benefactresses of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu for their innumerable and invaluable contributions to the growth and progress of our Diocese.

Further, we look inward with courage beating mea culpa on our own chests for our sins and failures which have disfigured and distorted the face of the Church as the beautiful Bride of Christ.

Furthermore, we look forward with confidence that the Holy Spirit who is the Protagonist of mission will continue to empower and enable us to grow in holiness in order to execute to the best of our ability the spiritual and social mission of the Church in the 21st century.

In fine, we entrust the work of the Synod 2021-2023 to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians and Mother of the Church.     
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17 Dec 2021

CUSTOS ECCLESIAE SEMINARY UZII CELEBRATES INVESTITURE
… 12 seminarians receive the soutane and surplice

Saturday 11th of December 2021 was indeed an unforgettable and memorable day in the history of Custos Ecclesiae Seminary Uzii and especially in the lives of 12 seminarians, of 2021/2022 Spiritual Year set of seminarians, who made a solemn promise and are vested with the soutane and surplice at the Seminary chapel of the Custos Ecclesiae Spiritual Year Seminary Uzii.

The event began with the celebration of the Holy Mass at exactly 9:00am, presided over by the Rector of the Seminary, Rev. Fr. Joseph Udechukwu, and a host of concelebrants who are members of the formation team of the seminary or priests and friends of the seminarians.

Speaking during the homily, Rev. Fr. Andrew Esomonu focused on the life of Elijah whom he described as a prophet and servant of God whose life is worthy of emulation. “Just as God sent the Prophet Elijah to bring his people, the Israelites, back to Him, the seminarians who will be invested are also sent by the church to bring back the lost sheep of Christ” he said.

Fr. Andrew also said that the twelve seminarians symbolize the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ who Jesus sent to spread the gospel to all nation. He also compared them to the twelve stones Elijah used in building the altar of God in 1 Kings 18. Lastly, he revealed that the number twelve symbolizes perfection therefore the twelve seminarians are expected to live a holy and perfect live as Elijah. He urged them to follow the way of perfection in order to be good instruments of the Lord.

There were two important moments during the Mass: when the seminarians made their solemn promise according to the tradition of the seminary, pledging to faithfully follow the regulation of the seminary, to support the goal of the seminary with a missionary vision, that is, being ready to be good and true witnesses wherever they find themselves.

After this, the seminarians proceeded to the sanctuary while the choir sang the litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was followed by the blessing of the soutanes and surplices and the solemn investiture whereby all the seminarians were vested with the soutane and surplice. This was followed by the chanting of the Magnificat. Finally, the priests and other senior seminarians present congratulated the newly vested seminarians.

Their feelings of happiness could not be hidden as it was visibly expressed on their smiling faces when they received the soutanes and surplices from the Rector, Rev. Fr. Joseph Udechukwu

After the post-communion prayer, the Rector, Rev. Fr. Joseph Udechukwu, in a hearty disposition rendered his sentiments of appreciation and gratitude to all the parents and also well-wishers of the newly vested seminarians for their presence during the mass and also for their support.

The celebration also featured such events like welcome song at which the newly vested seminarians entertained their guests with their sonorous and mellifluous voices which drew a thunderous applause from the guests.

At the end of the Eucharistic Celebration, a grand reception was organized in honour of the newly vested seminarians which exuded an atmosphere of joy and fraternity. Especially among the new seminarians and friends, it was possible to notice a joy like that of newlyweds, witnessed in various presentations and their expressions of gratitude for the day.

15 Dec 2021

BARR. NGOZI NJOKU CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY AT DOMUS CLERO

Sunday, 12th December 2021, was a day of joy and thanksgiving to God and celebration for the family of Chief Okey Njoku as they celebrated the birthday of their wife and mother, Barr. Ngozi Njoku, in grand style with the sick and retired priests of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu at the Domus Clero, in the company of her family, friends and well wishers. The event began with a holy Mass presided over by the Director of Domus Clero, Very Rev. Fr. Stephen Okafor, while other priests joined in con-celebration. The ceremony attracted the presence of the Catholic Bishop of Orlu, Most Rev. Augustine T. Ukwuoma and host of dignitaries.

Speaking during the homily, Very Rev. Fr. Frederick Nnabuife placed side by side the Gaudate Sunday, which implies rejoice, with the birthday celebration which calls for joy. He pointed out that despite the various problems that have plagued the society, there is still need for all to rejoice in the Lord. “For us to have joy in our lives, we must endeavor to put joy in the lives of others. We must be ready to share what we have with those who have none. This is exactly what Barr. Ngozi Njoku has done today by coming to share her joy with the sick and elderly priests” he said.

Preceding the final blessing at mass, was the birthday celebration under the distinguished chairmanship of Hon. Ugonna Ozuruigbo. The opening prayer was said by Bishop A.T. Ukwuoma, while the chairman gave a brief remark.

Expressing her motive for celebrating with the priests at Domus Clero, Hon. Ngozi Njoku stressed that she wanted to use the opportunity to appreciate the priests who have toiled in the Lord’s vineyard for years. “They nurtured us with the Word of God, the Body of Christ and the sacraments. Sometimes, we make the mistake of forgetting our priests because they are no longer active. Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to thank them immensely for nurturing our souls. I promised to make known to my friends such a place and the need to appreciate our spiritual fathers" she concluded.

Other guests showered encomiums at the celebrant whom they described as a good Catholic who believe in the scriptural maxim that said “faith without good works is dead”. They described her as a woman who showed her faith by her acts of charity.

Bishop Ukwuoma commended the good act and humanitarian attitude of Hon. Ngozi Njoku and family. He urged others to emulate the commendable act. After this, he gave the final blessing and all went home with joy.

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15 Dec 2021

CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY FOR 100 KIDS IN UMUOWA… As Aryoma Designs gifts 100 kids for Christmas 

A young lady of about 27years by name Miss Chioma Mary Jane Onyeugo from Ngor-okpala has taken it upon herself since 3 years now to clothe little children from 2 to 12 years every year in her project title CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY.

Miss Chioma is the founder of Aryoma Designs that deals with making of polos and branding. The project is aimed at putting smile on the faces of the little ones during the festive period especially to those whose parents cannot comfortably afford a new cloth for them during the yuletide. The cloths are designed and made by her company using African Print (Ankara material). The target of the project every year, since its inception, is to clothe 100 children.

This year, the parish Priest of St. Michael’s Catholic parish Umuowa, Rev. Fr. Henry Nnadozie, reached out to company to extend their benevolence to children chosen from Community Primary School Umuowa, Divine Victory Nursery & Primary School Umudaduru, Umuowa and Living Stone Foundation Nursery and primary School, Umubu Umuowa, all in Orlu LGA. This appeal received favourable response as they arrived St. Michael’s Catholic Parish Umuowa on Tuesday, 7th December, 2021 to distribute Christmas dress to little children. Miss Chioma was accompanied by her father Sir Canice Nkwocha, her brother Elvis Onyeugo and her workers Emenike Wisdom, Nnadi Uchechi, Amadi Precious and Emerumem Chinenyenwa.

100 pupils from the already mentioned schools received these articles of clothing this year after which their teachers thanked the benefactor, Miss Chioma Mary Jane Onyeugo, for the initiative as well as Rev. Fr. Henry Nnadozie who invited her to extend the goodwill to their children.

On behalf of the Parish Priest, the Catechist of St Michael’s Parish Umuowa, Mr. Camillus Udeogu thanked the CEO Aryoma Designs, Miss Chioma Mary Jane Onyeugo and her entourage for their generosity and prayed for God’s blessings on them.

While speaking to the Forum Newspapers correspondent, Miss Chioma said “growing up, every child was always fascinated with the season of Christmas. A very important part of the season was the exhilarating eagerness to wear our Christmas clothes. Every child envisaged rocking their pretty little dresses to visit relatives and attend occasions on Christmas day. However, as much as we were privileged to have several dresses for Christmas... We noticed with dismay, that some children would look on sadly, and barely clothed, while others danced about in their glittering frocks.”

“The project was born out of the need to contribute to the happiness of Children like these whose conditions try to rob them of the joy of Christmas. So, together, we gave in our skills and time to produce beautiful outfits for children without privilege. And the experience was worth it” she concluded.

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26 Nov 2021

ST. DOMINIC SAVIO SECONDARY SCHOOL SET THE PACE IN PROMOTING IGBO CULTURE

Friday, 19th November 2021, was a colourful day for the staff and students of St. Dominic Savio Secondary School Ntueke, Ideato North L.G.A, as they celebrated their cultural fiesta in a bid to promote the Igbo culture. It started with the procession of students and various cultural and dancing groups to the Afor Ntueke Market, with different groups displaying their cultures with pride with their different dance troupe. The groups were led by the school principal, Rev. Fr. Paulinus Anabaraonye Okeke. Among the cultural dance troupe were Egwu Ogene, Egwu Owerri, Igba ndi Eze, Egedege Dance, Omalicha Dance, Flower girls Fashion dance etc.

This great citadel of learning has produced so many high profile individuals in the society, who have also contributed immensely to the society. One of such products of the school is Engr. Kingsley Ikejiofor, an alumnus who graduated from the school in 2005, and has recorded outstanding success in the building industry, who also happened to be the chairman of the occasion. He took time to address the students and to motivate them to aim higher and be focused in their educational pursuit. He also encouraged the students to maintain their cultural values which they are known for. He also advised them to abstain from cultism and be good ambassadors of the school.

Furthermore, Engr. Kingsley pledged to provide exercise books for every student on their resumption in January 2022 and also promised to pay school fees for three lucky students namely; Chisom Ejike, Odika Deborah and Ukabi Paschal. In addition, he promised to build a standard lawn tennis court with his friends for the school.

In his vote of thanks, the Principal, Rev. Fr. Paulinus Anabaraonye Okeke appreciated the chairman and other alumni who are good ambassadors of the school in the society. He also thanked the guests for their presence. He pledged his dedication to ensure that the school is regarded among the best not only in the state, but in the nation.

The occasion was coloured by the different displays of cultures and cultural dance troupes. 

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26 Nov 2021

KINGSLEY OZURUMBA MBADIWE UNIVERSITY OGBOKO IN THE SPOTLIGHT

All roads led to Kingsley Ozurumba Mbadiwe University, Ogboko, on Friday 19th November 2021, as the education board members, staff and students stormed the institution to mark the Ecumenical Thanksgiving and blessing of the Education team.

The event which coincided with the presentation of the pioneer vice chancellor of K.O Mbadiwe University and the principal officers, started with a Thanksgiving service which was officiated by Rev Fr. Dr. Jude Ike, alongside other priests that joined in the service.

Among the priests present at the event includes, Rev. Fr. Dr. Donatus Okwara, Rev. Fr. Dr. Don Nnagha, Rev. Fr. K.C Iwuoha, Rev. Fr. Chibuzor Dike and Rev. Fr. Ugochukwu Obasi.

In his sermon, Rev. Fr. Dr. Jude Ike, reflecting on the gospel of the day, opined that Christ is both a Good Shepherd and a Good Teacher who sacrifices his time to teach others, and therefore, just like Christ, “a university is a place of teaching where we have come to learn.” He encouraged all who have been employed to work in the institution to see it as a duty call from Christ to help in building the institution. He advised them to always trust in God even in times of difficulties because only God can give them the strength to overcome every difficulties and give them success.

He went on to pray for the gift of wisdom both on the staff and the students without which nothing can be done. He described a university as a place where talents are harnessed and universal knowledge is acquired. He admonished the entire body of the need to collaborate in working as a team in achieving greatness. This he described as an important tool which is needed in every community that needs prosperity.

Following the sermon was the intercessory prayer and subsequently blessing by the officiating ministers. The order of blessing featured, blessing of the Governor and ministers, the Vice Chancellor and family, principal officers, members of the staff, Students, members of the host community and other people present in the ceremony.

In a hearty disposition, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Ikechukwu Simplicius Dozie in his remarks rendered his unalloyed gratitude to God for gift of life and the position as Vice Chancellor. He equally extended his fervent thanks to the proprietor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma (Gov. of Imo state), for deeming him worthy of the position. He equally used the medium to thank the Catholic Bishop of Orlu Diocese, Most Rev. Augustine T. Ukwuoma, priests present, the traditional rulers, staff and students of the noble institution and all well wishers.

He seized the opportunity to bring to the notice of all, the eleven point strategic goals, while praying for team collaboration among the staff and students. He pledged to do his best to take the institution to an enviable height.

Other events featured congratulatory comments and responses, photographs, and light refreshment.

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26 Nov 2021

GOOD IDEA YOUTHS INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION (GIYINO) ANNUAL CONFERENCE 

The Good Idea Youths International Organization (GIYINO) held her annual conference on Friday, 19th November 2021 at the Sacred Heart Pastoral/Retreat Centre Orlu, Imo State. The program was attended by some private/mission schools and some government schools who were invited and focused on the theme: “THINK AND CREATE “.

The event which commenced at exactly 11:00am with an opening prayer which was led by Rev. Fr. Kingsley Mgbojirikwe. The MC for the occasion, Emejuru Michael, welcomed all the guests and the invited schools, teachers and all the members of Good Idea Youths International Organization (GIYINO). With the introduction of the honorable judge of the occasion, the essay competition for the invited schools on the theme “How to create job in IMO state Nigeria” commenced. The schools who participated for the debate competition include: Bishop Shanahan College Orlu, St. Joseph’s Secondary School Umuna, Orlu, Ojike Memorial Secondary School Orlu, Girls’ Secondary School Orlu, Giona Secondary School Oguta.

After the debate competition, the second phase of the event kicked off which was the talent exhibition created by some schools which include: Bishop Shanahan College Orlu, Girls’ Secondary School Orlu, Giona Secondary School Oguta.

During the exhibition of the items created by the students which include Electric fan, hand fan, torchlight, custard, art works and sewed clothes, the students explained the motivation behind their works.

After the whole display, there were some entertainment by the students who enthralled the audience with their dancing talents. Finally, awards were presented to schools who distinguished themselves in the various competitions. The result for the first phase which was essay competition was as followed: St Joseph secondary school Orlu -1st position, Girls’ secondary school Orlu -2nd position, Bishop Shanahan College Orlu -3rd position,

In the second phase which is the talent exhibition the result came as follows: Giona secondary school Oguta -1st position, Bishop Shanahan College Orlu -2nd position, Girls’ Secondary School Orlu -3rd position.

The vice president of the organization, Ajero Ezinne Precious, gave the closing remark, while the closing prayer was led by Rev. Fr. Kingsley Mgbojirikwe.

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26 Nov 2021

ST. PATRICK’S PARISH IHITE AKATTA CYON CELEBRATE YOUTH CULTURAL WEEK IN GRAND STYLE

As part of the preparation for the upcoming dedication of the parish Church and the parishioners, the parish priest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish Ihite Akatta organized a youth cultural week which also doubled as a Youth empowerment program for the youths of the parish and the community at large. The event was sponsored by the parishioners with the help of DCP Chief Sir Ben Igwe, who was the chief sponsor. The youth cultural week was held from Wednesday 17th November to Tuesday 23rd November 2021.

The event was a resounding success as the youths of the community came out en masse to participate in the event. It also featured different talks from different people including medical professionals, a traditionalist, male and female elders etc.

The event was used as an opportunity to encourage the youths to hold their cultural values in high esteem. Mr. John Ogbede, a traditionalist, advised the youths to place high value on human life. He urged them to respect life because life is sacred.

The medical professional also encouraged the youths on the need to live decent lives with good moral values and to avoid all forms of immoralities.

As part of the activities marking the events, there were cultural dances, football matches and youth parade. The event saw a full display of culture as only the typical cultural dishes and drinks such as African salad, ugba, akidi etc. were prepared and made available.

The event also experienced the empowerment of so many individuals as so many went home with tailoring machines, grinding machines, building equipments etc. while so many others received cash gifts for school fees, business start-ups, etc.

While speaking at the end of the celebration, the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Paschal Ikechukwu Agu expressed his sentiments of gratitude to all the members of the parish who contributed immensely to the success of the celebration especially the following: Chief Ben Igwe, Chief Ikenna Agada, Mr. Ifeanyi Okoli, Dr. Moses Ohaneme, Mr. Patrick Igwe, Mr. Okeke Agada, Mr. Chidi Ogbede and Chief Felix Okonkwo.

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26 Nov 2021

ST. MICHAEL DE ARCHANGEL, EBENESE UMUNA MARKS CHRIST THE KING IN GRAND STYLE

Sunday, 21st November 2021, will remain memorable in the annals of history for the parishioners of St. Michael de Archangel Catholic Parish Ebenese Umuna in Orlu L.G.A, as they celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe, otherwise known as the Solemnity of Christ the King. This is the first time the solemnity is celebrated in the parish since its inauguration as parish. The Church was filled to the brim as the parishioners came out en masse to join in the celebration and to brazenly testify that Christ is the King of the Universe.

 The Eucharistic Celebration began at exactly 7:00 am with the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Jerome Okehie as the principal celebrant while other priests present joined in con-celebration. Speaking during the introduction of the Mass, Fr. Jerome said that the solemnity is a day which Catholics and Christians all over the world declare and testify publicly, without fear or favour, that Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe and all power belong to him. He also used the opportunity to call on all leaders whether political, traditional and religious, to conform their leadership to that of Christ who was not just a leader, but a humble servant and sacrificed himself for the good of mankind.

Speaking during the homily, Rev. Fr. Dr. Donatus Uzoma Okwara called on all Christians to be faithful followers of Christ. “By the virtue of our baptism, we all share in the threefold office of Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. Therefore, we are all kings because we have been baptized in the name of Christ the King. Hence, as kings we must model our kingship in the model of Christ the King. As Christ is a King of truth, we also must be always ready to stand for the truth no matter the situation. We must be harbingers of truth, justice, love and peace. This is why we share in the royal priesthood of Christ” he said.

At the end of the Mass, the parishioners and priests joined in the joyful Eucharistic procession which was accompanied with songs of joy, dancing and jubilation. The procession stopped at the Mother of Mercy Hospital, where the parish priest thanked the priests, parishioners and the management and staff of the Hospital. The final blessing was given which was followed by some refreshment and everybody went home rejoicing.

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25 Nov 2021

BISHOP UKWUOMA VISITS VICTIMS OF MONDAY MAYHEM IN AWO-OMAMMA

On Wednesday 24th November 2021, the Catholic Bishop of Orlu, His Lordship, Most Rev. Augustine T. Ukwuoma, visited Awo-omamma community to sympathize and share the pains of the victims of the unfortunate destruction of properties which was allegedly perpetrated by the Nigerian Army which happened on Monday 22nd November 2021. The Bishop was accompanied by some priests who include Very Rev. Fr. Dr. George Chikata (Dean, St. Theresa’s Uli Region), Very Rev. Fr. Martin Kingsley Umelo (Diocesan Chancellor), Rev. Fr. Kenneth Agu (Bishop’s Secretary), Rev. Fr. Celestine Ikechukwu Ezema C.S.Sp. (parish priest, St. Patrick’s Parish Awo-Omamma).
Bishop Ukwuoma was led by the parish priest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish Awo-Omamma, Rev. Fr. Celestine Ikechukwu Ezema C.S.Sp and the principal secretary of Oru East L.G.A, Hon. Nick Ndedigwe, as they toured round the affected areas to ascertain the level of destruction allegedly carried out by the Nigerian Army.
While speaking to the victims and all who gathered, Bishop Ukwuoma condemned the killing of the soldier and the destruction of properties. “Two wrongs do not make a right” he said. The Bishop was distraught by the level of damage which he saw. He sympathized with the victims of the destruction and shared in their pains and assured them of his continuous prayers for them. He admonished all not to seek for revenge as that will create more violence, reprisals and destruction. He went ahead to pray for God’s solace on the people and for peace and calm to be restored to the community and the state at large.
While explaining the events of Monday 22nd November, an eyewitness who spoke to the Forum News correspondent on the condition of anonymity said that it all started when some gunmen accosted a motorist for flouting the sit-at-home order and set the bus ablaze. This was followed by the arrival of some soldiers and a gun battle ensued between the soldiers and the gunmen in which one soldier was killed. The soldiers came back with reinforcements with 6 hilux trucks and 2 armored trucks and went on rampage in the community, setting ablaze and destroying houses, cars, properties and businesses worth millions of naira.
Some of the victims, while counting their losses, described the actions of the Nigerian Army as “irrational and uncalled for”. Since the army is known to be a disciplined body, they expected them to show a high level of discipline and restraint instead of wrecking havoc on innocent people. They beckoned on the government to work towards the restoration of peace in the state.
Speaking to the Forum News correspondent, Hon. Nick Ndedigwe (Principal Secretary, Oru East L.G.A) showered encomiums on the Catholic Bishop of Orlu, Most Rev. Augustine T. Ukwuoma for his visit and closeness to the people, especially during this painful ordeal. “The presence of Bishop Ukwuoma among us and his closeness to us today has brought solace to us. His visit today will go a long way to strengthen and console us in this critical moment” he said.
The parish priest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish, Rev. Fr. Celestine Ezema C.S.Sp, also appreciated the Bishop’s presence and compassion towards the victims.

Below are the photo gallery of the incident
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