OWERRI PROVINCIAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR PRIESTS

By February 26, 2016Uncategorized

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As Bishops and Priests Pray for God ‘s mercy and peace
It was a day of reunion and spiritual encounter as the bishops and priests of the Owerri Ecclesiastical province comprising of The Catholic Arch diocese of Owerri, Umuahia, Okigwe, Orlu, Ahiara and Aba dioceses all gathered on Monday 8th February 2016, at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Okigwe.
The recollection was necessitated because of the need of upholding the dignity of the Catholic priesthood and also in line with the year of mercy declared by Pope Francis. The recollection started at about 9.30 am with penitential rites and supplication where the bishops and priests prayed for God’s mercy and pardon for the so many acts of injustice perpetuated by some of the faithful within the province, they equally prayed that God may heal the land. This prayer session was concluded with a benediction.
Another edifying part of the recollection was the papers presented by Rev Fr. Dr. Cajethan Ehiem, the vicar general of Okigwe Diocese and Rev Fr. Professor Philip Ogbonna. Rev Fr. Dr. Cajethan Ehiem described the ideal priest as one who is part of the society, charged with the task of representing Christ and through the Holy Eucharist offers the prayers of the church to God. The Cleric also encouraged the priest to improve the content of their homilies as no other person is expected to preach in the mass expect the priests and deacons. The priest also remarked that spiritual direction is not restricted to the seminaries, priest should equally act as spiritual counselors to parishioners in need of spiritual direction.
Rev Fr. Dr. Cajethan also emphasized on the relevance of the Eucharistic Adoration and celebration of the sacraments; they must be celebrated with utmost reverence. Although it is necessary for the faithful to remit their stole fees to support the church, the priest however, advised all not to deny the less privileged any of the sacraments as they too deserve them. Finally he encouraged the priests to avoid monopoly and domineering attitude, rather they should be approachable, available and also stick to the traditions of the church.
Rev Fr. Professor Philip Ogbonna who was the second speaker of the day described the life of the Catholic priest as a life where Christ is allowed to lead and to direct and therefore demands obedience to God and to the church. He however encouraged priests to pursue Christ’s agenda and not theirs, for a priest is a man configured to Christ and should therefore act in the name of Christ.
The erudite priest finally reminded them that the priest is a shepherd and, therefore, should assist and help improve the condition of the poor, in a society where the poor and needy are deprived of justice.
The recollection ended with the celebration of the Holy Mass which was presided over by the Metropolitan of Owerri Ecclesiastical province, His Most Rev Dr. A.J.V Obinna. After the mass the priests who came from various dioceses had time to interact and share pastoral experiences.

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