The Diocesan Executive Council of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD) poses with the presidents and the secretaries of the 23 deaneries of the diocese after the event.
The chief shepherd of Awka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, has warned Catholic faithful to beware of idol worshippers masquerading as Christians, lest they become victims too, reports Ifeoma Ezenyilimba.
Bishop Ezeokafor gave this warning while responding to questions from the members of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), during their 2nd Annual Interactive Session with the bishop at St Joseph's Pro-Cathedral Parish, Ekwulobia, Aguata L.G.A, Anambra State, Saturday, July 29.
The bishop, warned Christians against being deceived by fortune tellers, who carried out fetish activities under the guise of using the rosary and the Bible, describing such people as fake Christians.
He advised every laity to belong to a minimum of one pious society in the Church, noting that such pious groups would help the faithful in strengthening their faith.
The bishop however kicked against occasions where an individual belonged to many societies and groups in the Church but failed to live up to their responsibilities in the family and society.
Reacting to the Church's stand on excommunication of members from the community, Bishop Ezeokafor said the Church frowned at unjust excommunication of individuals. He said the Church would address any form of maltreatment of Christians by the community, even as he maintained that every Christian had the responsibility to abide by the rules of the community.
President of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), Comrade Emma Ezeokafor (7th from left), poses with some of the executive members and the planning committee of the 2nd Annual Interactive Session. Sixth from right is the chairman of the committee, Sir Anthony Okeke (KSJI). The president is flanked on his right by the vice president of CLCNAD, Lady Amaka Okafor, LSM.
On the alleged immoral musicals being played in mission schools, the Catholic prelate called for commitment on the part of the faithful to ensure the triumph of good over bad.
He condemned the allegation that the Catholic Women's Organization (C.W.O) focused only on fund raising in their August meetings, saying that the C.W.O discussed many important issues that ranged from family, Church and societal development.
In his remarks, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, who is the chairman, Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Committee on the Laity, commended the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), under the leadership of the president, Comrade Emma Ezeokafor, for sustaining the all-important interactive session with the bishop. He observed that the event would go a long way in addressing the many challenges the laity encountered in their life of faith.
The bishop, who described the laity as a very important and inseparable part of the Church, further described the Laity Council as the umbrella body for all lay organizations.
Speaking on the occasion, the Episcopal Vicar of Ekwulobia Region and parish priest of St Joseph's Pro-Cathedral Parish, Ekwulobia, Rev Fr Ignatius Nnaemeka Onwuategwu, described the well-attended interactive session as another demonstration of the special fatherly love of Bishop Ezeokafor for the laity of the diocese.
In his address of welcome, the president of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese, Comrade Emma Ezeokafor, commended Bishop Ezeokafor on his exemplary apostleship, saying that it was the joy of the entire laity to have the bishop as a shepherd who was balanced in leadership and apostleship.
The laity council president, who cited the admonition of Jesus Christ to Peter to look after the flock and feed them, as recorded in the Gospel of St John Chapter 21, verse 17, in the Holy Bible, noted that the admonition accentuated the importance of the shepherd-flock interactive session.
Comrade Ezeokafor expressed his delight that the admonitions, teachings and reforms of the bishop had started yielding tangible fruits of faith, evangelism and good works. He prayed that the laity would mirror the exemplary life of Bishop Ezeokafor.
The president of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese, Comrade Emma Ezeokafor, presents his address of welcome.
The CLCNAD commended one of the patrons of the Laity Council, Engr. Bart Nwibe, who co-sponsored the food eaten by the participants, and Engr. Johnbosco Onunkwko, who sponsored the writing materials of the event, as well as others who graced and supported the event, for their goodwill. This was even as the president solicited for donations in support of the Laity Council projects which were designed to make the lay apostolate more self-sustainable.
He extolled the Planning Committee headed by Sir Anthony Okeke (KSJI), the host parish priest, the executive and the entire laity of Awka Diocese, for their support and solidarity which contributed to the success of the event.