COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) OF THE CATHOLIC LAITY COUNCIL OF NIGERIA (CLCN) AT THE 141 MEETING HELD AT THE BISHOP THOMAS MC GETTRIC PASTORAL CENTRE, ABAKALIKI DIOCESE, EBONYI STATE, 12 TO 14 JULY 2019.

Preamble:

The theme of the NEC meeting was; ‘Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria; The Role of the Church’. 

After lengthy and intensive deliberations on the theme of the meeting and the state of our Nation, Nigeria, the Council resolved on the way forward as follows:

1. That all Christians, in particular, and Nigerians in general, must pursue peace and unity in all their words actions to enhance peaceful co-existence in the nation.

2. On the agitation for the establishment of settlements by the government for ‘a tribe’ in all the states of the federation, Council strong advices the Federal Government to resist the temptation to yield to the demands by any particular tribe, religion or trade that threatens the corporate existence of Nigeria.

3. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that Nigeria is a secular state. In line with the above provision, Council appeals to the three tiers of Government and all major stakeholders not to accord supremacy to any particular Religion over others as this may further compromise the already threatened unity of the Nation.

4. The Council views with great concern the worrisome state of insecurity across the federation and the ineptitude on the part of the law enforcement agencies of Government to take appropriate action to arrest, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the heinous crimes. Council therefore urges all concerned stakeholders in the Criminal justice sector to rise and live up to their constitutional responsibilities.

5. Council, once again, congratulates  President Muhammadu Buhari, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces on his 2nd term. The position of Council however, is that in the coming appointment and composition of the Federal Executive Council, the President should sincerely consider the Federal Character, the diverse ethno-cultural and Religious composition of the Federation in other to balance all interest and sensitivity of the all federating units of the Nation.

6. Finally, Council advices Christians in Nigeria to unite and speak with one voice; promote holiness and righteous; strive to deepen the faith of members in God; be vigilant and security conscious in self defense to protect life and property of members and the Church; and at all times promote the call to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, in season and out of season, to the ends of the earth..      

Thomas Folu Adekoya​​Hon National President CLCN

Sir Henry H. Yunkwap KSJI

​​National Secretary-General CLCN

Communique Committee:

1. Wilfred Lawrence Idi ​​​​-​Chairman  

2. Edoga Hon. Joseph Ozioko O KSM

3. Engr. Okafor, E. C. (KSJI)​​​

4. Hon. Abhul Imem J. A. ​​​

5. Bro. Andrew T. Njie (KSJI)​​​

6. Yohanna, A.B. Sambo​​​​

7. Akintola Vincent Akinsola Akande​​

8. Barr. Chris M. Inwang​​​​-​Secretary

Popular Christianity in Nigeria is not working

By: Rev. Fr. George EHUSANI Lux Terra Leadership Foundation

At a time when people imagine that I should be very proud of, and be fulfilled in my priestly ministry; when everywhere I turn people run over to meet me, and tell me that they watch my programs regularly on TV; at a time when I have become some sort of petty celebrity; it is at this time that I find myself becoming discouraged, disillusioned, distressed and feeling like giving it all up, abandoning this whole enterprise, and going to some monastery – away from all these distractions, and rather investing in my inner growth and the much-desired communion with God, through contemplative prayer and the practice of solitude.

The truth is that I have been going through some crisis on account of which I have been asking myself whether all my teaching, preaching, writing and social advocacy engagements amount to anything at all in the Nigerian setting. I observe that the Nigerian society is not changing for the better, and people are not being radically transformed in our Churches. Though we claim to be very religious, though our Churches are crowded and we host noisy worship sessions, though some of us can quote passages of the Scripture effortlessly from Genesis to Revelations, and though we host numerous night vigils and deliverance sessions, Nigerian Christians are not being transformed in any significant way, and consequently we are not equipped to transform our society for God.

The spiritual formation of most of us Christians has often left large areas of our lives more or less untouched and unredeemed. Like the iceberg which has only about 10% of its dimensions above the waters, and the remaining 90% underneath the surface, there are layers and layers of the life of the average Nigerian Christian that seems unreached by the Gospel of Christ. Like other Nigerians out there, who have never encountered Jesus Christ, and who have never benefited from the grace of baptism and confirmation, or the sustaining power of the Sacraments, Nigerian Christians live with anger and bitterness, fear and anxiety, wickedness and hatred, resentment and un-forgiveness, self-indulgence and addiction to the pleasures of the flesh, selfishness and greed, vanity and vain-glory, and we are stuck in fetishism, occultism, and primitive superstition.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:20 that “By their fruits, you shall know them.” But Christianity as a mass movement in Nigeria is not working. Popular Christianity in Nigeria which features mega Churches and a huge gathering of thousands of people, is not working. That religion characterized by the noise-making enterprise which we call prayer; the one that features regular deliverance services, multiple healing miracle crusades, so-called “powerful men of God,” dashing celebrity preachers, swaggering motivational speakers, flamboyant Gucci pastors, designer suit evangelists, jerry coil prophets, private jet owning overseers, fashionable Church choirs and trendy Gospel singers, etc.,

– that religion is not working!

Let us be honest with ourselves: Nigerians are not being transformed for Christ in any significant way. We Nigerian Christians cannot show that we are better than our forebears who never heard about Jesus Christ. With all our feverish activism and massive Churches everywhere, we cannot demonstrate that we are better than people of other religions in godliness and holiness, in love and unity, in mercy and forgiveness, in gentleness and patience, in civic discipline and social morality, and in the practice of justice and the promotion of peace. Our marriage and family lives are often not better than the marriage and family lives of others in our environment who have never heard about Jesus Christ. There is nothing to show that the rate of marital infidelity and general promiscuity among Christians is any less than what obtains in the secular society. The young people in our Churches often do not behave better than other young people in their towns and villages or in their schools and colleges.

Though we profess Christianity and are sometimes ready to go to war in “defense” of our religion, we have often remained greedy, avaricious, corrupt, undisciplined, fraudulent, adulterous, fetish, superstitious, exploitative and oppressive of the poor in our midst.

The majority of us Church-goers do not demonstrate any serious commitment to the Kingdom values and the eternal salvation that Jesus came to inaugurate with his life, death, and resurrection. Not at all. Nigerians seem to have settled for a brand of Christianity that the Apostles Peter and Paul will not recognize. We seem to be stuck with the material world and are pursuing all that promotes our physical existence with consummate passion. We seem to devote all our energies to the pursuit of this-worldly ultimate goals, and as such transcendental goals and values have little consideration in the daily choices we make in our private and public lives.

I sense that in the eyes of many who attend liturgical services at Lux Terra Chaplaincy, and in the eyes of some others who watch our programmes on television, I am often no more than an entertainer whom they watch every Sunday, as a number of my so-called fans are often not prepared to open themselves up to the transforming influence of the Gospel of Christ which I attempt to preach. True, we are not making any significant progress by way of individual or group transformation in Christ. All we seem to be doing is simply moving chairs around in a Titanic. We must come to recognise that Christianity as a mass movement has failed to make any significant impact in Nigeria and among Nigerians

In recent times I started becoming discouraged and distressed about this embarrassing reality and asking myself serious questions bordering on the purpose and meaning of my own numerous activities in the face of this sobering reality. And this is one reason why I went away on a 21-day retreat. And in the course of the retreat, I sought the face of God, trying to discern his will in my confusion. I came back from the retreat determined not to spend the rest of my active life simply oiling the wheel or servicing structures that may not deliver any goods. Yes, I came back determined not to spend the rest of my life along the path of such shallow, hollow and mediocre religiosity.

I came back convinced perhaps more than ever before that the Gospel of Christ is the most potent force for individual and social transformation. I have taken a close look at the Acts of Apostles, and seen once again how the early Christians gave loud, courageous and radical witness to the life of Jesus Christ, and I am convinced that (even in the Nigerian environment of today) with the power of the Holy Spirit poured out to the Church on Pentecost day, we can submit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, and He will set us on the path of authentic Christian discipleship. We must start thinking of doing a few things differently. It was Albert Einstein who said that you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created the problem. And in education, I learned that if one has been teaching a class for a long time and they keep failing, it is either that all the students are idiots, or the teacher needs to re-examine his methodology. So we need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what this whole enterprise of going to Church in Nigeria is all about.

On my part, I want to begin to do something different. I want to commit my life anew to the Lord and to the mission of the Gospel and request those who want to journey with me to re-commit themselves and their families anew to the Lord. Yes, as Amos 3:3 says, “Do two people travel together on a journey without first agreeing?” I would like to set in motion soon some modalities and processes aimed at achieving this “agreement” among those who worship with me, to travel together along the path of a more authentic Christian life. I would like to explore the building of new Christian communities in the form of the household Churches of the New Testament times. This means that large numbers are not of primary importance in this new approach. Perhaps we could end up with no more than 20 or 30 families at the Lux Terra Chaplaincy. And that would be okay. I urge those who are interested in this enterprise to start reading something about “Christian Covenant Communities.” Perhaps a discussion on this concept will be the starting point…

Archbishop Obinna, Oba of Benin, raise alarm over money rituals

Archbishop Obinna, Oba of Benin, raise alarm over money rituals

By Emeka Ani

Nigeria’s do or die politics and the get-rich-quick mentality among the youth have forced many into diabolic means to realize their inordinate ambitions. One of such evil means is ritual killings, either to get money or achieve success in politics.

Worried by this ugly development, a religious leader and a traditional ruler, have at different fora raised the alarm against the fiendish trend.

Preaching at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri recently, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna noted that apart from Diala/Osu/Ohu segregation, another evil in Igboland and other parts of Nigeria is ritual killing.

“I hear some go into rituals, using human beings, human blood, seeking power from a helpless human being, from helpless goats and dogs for money and power,” he said.
Describing such rituals as wasted sacrifices, the prelate said he heard that such rituals are performed in private, public and even in official places by people who seek power and money”. He said that such diabolic acts are holding ndigbo captive.

Quoting the scripture, Archbishop Obinna asked: “What will one gain by winning the whole world and forfeit his soul”?

He attributed poverty and misery in the land to lack of wisdom, saying, that is why we have failed despite God’s richly blessing on this land.
He said Nigerians have a lot of intelligence but lack wisdom. “Intelligence is only a raw instrument that can be used for evil or for goodness.

Unfortunately, we use our intelligence more for evil than goodness. It’s only when intelligence transmutes to wisdom that goodness, justice, uprightness, honesty etc, will manifest and transform our society.

In a related development, the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II has also expressed concern over the growing cases of money rituals among the youths. He warned that the behaviour which is receiving wide patronage by yahoo yahooboys, was abominable and alien to Benin customs and tradition.

Speaking at a service in Benin, the Monarch advised youths to shun money rituals, noting that there was no easy way for wealth accumulation. He said, “youths cling to the illusion that they can become wealthy by killing people or stealing female underwears for ritual purposes. They will no doubt face the consequences.”
Ewuare also warned politicians to desist from violence and other acts capable of truncating the electoral process. He also cautioned the youths not to allow themselves to be used as political thugs to cause mayhem during elections.

NOBODY HAS PLANS TO ISLAMIZE NIGERIA – Cardinal Onaiyekan

NOBODY HAS PLANS TO ISLAMIZE NIGERIA – Cardinal Onaiyekan

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has called on Christians to rise up and Christianise Nigeria instead of complaining that Muslims want to Islamise the nation.

Cardinal Onaiyekanmade the call in his homily at a Mass to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation at Our Lady of Perpertual Help Parish, Gwarinpa II on Sunday in Abuja.

“So, let nobody deceive you, I don’t think there is anybody who has plan to Islamise Nigeria, but even if they do, they have every right to do so.

“They have every right to do so provided they also know that I have the right to Christianise the whole of Nigeria.

“The answer is not in complaining and crying; stand up like a man and Christianise Nigeria,’’ the cardinal said.

He said that Christians had the mandate to preach Jesus Christ to everyone without being distracted with material things.

The Cardinal urged Christians to defend their faith by preaching the gospel in words and deeds without compromising the message of the Cross.

He said that the disciples of Christ preached the crucified Christ, accepted persecution and that many even died for their faith.

“People complain that Christianity is being persecuted; they are saying that some people want to Islamise the nation. Just know that nobody can’t Islamise you unless you agree to be Islamised.

“For as long as you are not ready to stand up and carry the Cross, you are on the verge of losing your faith; if you don’t want to lose your promotion for Christ sake, you are also not worthy to be a Christian.

“Anybody who presents another programme different from the programme of Jesus Christ on the Cross will lose, you will drop; you will just drop like an overripe apple.”

According to him, Christians cannot achieve the feat by compromising their faith, it can only be achieved by carrying their cross and following Christ.

“You don’t Christianise the nation by standing up and looking for prosperity or material benefits.

“You Christianise a nation, if you are ready to stand up for the truth, preach the gospel, carry the Cross and follow the Lord Jesus.’’

Quoting from the Gospel of Mathew Chapter 10 verses 37 to 42, he said that anyone who loved his or her mother, father, children, husband more than Christ is not worthy of His kingdom.

Cardinal Onaiyekan, however, said that the message of Cross is that of salvation, which was gradually being reduced to the message of prosperity, adding that it was natural to face suffering in the world.

(NAN)

REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

REPARATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

By Prof. Michael Ogunu

Meaning of Reparation

Reparation can be defined as making amends for damage done to another. To make reparation, according to the common meaning of the word, is to compensate for a wrong, an injustice, or suffering caused to someone, whether through one’s own fault or through the fault of another; or even through the fault of no one at all.

Reparation is a theological concept closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, and thus belonging to some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith. It is the teaching of that Faith that man is a creature who has fallen from an original state of justice in which he was created, and that through the Incarnation, Passion and Death of the Son of God, he has been redeemed and restored again in a certain degree to the original condition. Although God might have condoned men’s offences gratuitously if He had chosen to do so, yet in His Providence He did not do this; He judged it better to demand satisfaction for the injuries which man had done Him. It is better for man’s education that wrong doing on his part should entail the necessity of making satisfaction. This satisfaction was made adequately to Godby the sufferings, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, made Man for us. By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures. We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ’s Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord “and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ” (Col. 1:24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.

Why Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

Reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a major theme in the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Why reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? What have we done against Her? How do our sins have any connection with Mary?

Reparation is made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary because of her participation in the mystery of redemption. She participated in the act of buying the world back for God because she is the mother of the Redeemer; she prepared the Redeemer for His mission, and she united herself spiritually with the Redeemer in His act of expiation. Consequently whatever affected her son affected her. All that Christ suffered Mary felt in her heart. Starting from the day of His birth, when He felt the chill of the cave on his tender skin, until the day that the same skin was stretched out on the cross, Mary endured with her son the cost of redemption. Mary shared in her son’s dolorous passion. The words of the famous Lenten Hymn TheStabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping) sung during the Stations of the Cross are a poignant reminder of our Lady’s share in her son’s passion.

At the Cross Her Station Keeping (Stabat Mater)  
At the Cross her station keeping Stood the mournful Mother weeping Close to Jesus to the last/   Through her Heart, his sorrow sharing, All his bitter anguish bearing, Now at length the sword has passed/  
Oh how sad and sore distress’d Was that Mother highly blest Of the sole-begotten One/. Christ above in torment hangs: She beneath beholds the pangs Of her dying glorious Son/.  
Is there one who would not weep, Whelm’d in miseries so deep Christ’s dear Mother to behold?    

Every sin, mortal or venial, hampers the effects of the redemptive merits of Christ. In other words, it frustrates the divine plan of redemption in so far as those acts of sin are concerned. And just as the Heart of Jesus is injured by such offenses of man, so, too, is the heart of Mary.

Besides suffering from every offence against God, of whatever kind (wilful murder, abortion, sexual immorality of all kinds, homosexuality, lesbianism, cultism, devil worship, oppression of the poor and other forms of grave social injustice), Mary is the object of certain offences: committed directly against herself. Among the horrendous offences committed against her are: blasphemy against her Immaculate Conception (some deny that she was conceived without original sin and say that there is nothing special about her), blasphemy against her virginity and refusal to acknowledge her divine maternity. Other sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary include instilling into the hearts of children indifference, scorn and even hatred against Mary, and profaning her revered images.

How to Make Reparation for Sins Committed Against the Immaculate Heart of Mary

We can make reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary by doing the following things, among others, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart.

  • Offer Holy Mass in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Daily recitation of the Rosary for the intention of making reparation tothe Immaculate Heart of Mary.
  • Saying the Prayers (Acts) of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary contained in Catholic prayer books, especially those on devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary such as the one by the writer of this article titled “Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Practices and Prayers”.
  • Almsgiving.
  • Performing acts of penance and mortification; that is, denying ourselves of some lawful pleasures.
  • Fasting and abstinence, especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays (some do so on bread and water).
  • Practicing the Five First Saturdays Devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This consists of going to Confession, receiving Holy Communion (in a state of grace), praying the five decades of the Rosary and keeping Our Lady company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, all with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the First Saturdays of five consecutive months. The confession can be made either on the First Saturday itself or within 8 days before or after the First Saturday provided that one is in a state of grace at the moment of receiving Holy Communion on the First Saturday.
  • Faithful fulfilment of our daily duties as required by our state of life.
  • Imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary by practicing her virtues which include humility, purity, obedience (submission to God’s will in all things), charity and prayerfulness.
  • Placing a picture or statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a special place of honour in our homes or community and consecrating ourselves and our families/community to her Immaculate Heart.

Conclusion

In the Second Apparition to the three shepherd children of Fatima (Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta), the Mother of God herself told Lucia:

Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. To those who embrace it, I promise salvation. And these souls will be beloved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.

Like Venerable Sr. Lucia, let us practise and promote devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through Acts of Reparation and Consecration to the Immaculate Heart. 

Prof. Michael Ogunu is the President of the Executive Board of the World Apostolate of Fatima in Africa & Coordinator of the Fatima Apostolate in Africa.

Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos 2019 Catholic Men Organization (CMO) WEEK & ANNUAL

Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos 2019 Catholic Men Organization (CMO) WEEK & ANNUAL

The Catholic Men Organization, Lagos Archdiocese, invites all to the 2019 CMO Week and Annual Convention with the theme: “LET’S CONTINUE WITH CHRIST: -The Way, The Truth and The Life” (John 21:3-7).

Activities will commence in all parishes on Sunday July 21, 2019 and continue at the Convention Centre, St. Gregory’s College, S/West, Ikoyi, Lagoson Friday July 26 to Sunday July 28.

The convention shall feature spiritual and entrepreneurial talks with a campfire event for social interaction. The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins DD, will induct new members and also give awards to deserving individuals during the Convention. Come and let’s seek the face of God together.

CMO…Christ is our leader!!!