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NIGERIAN CHAPLAINCY HIKES UP EVANGELISATION DRIVE Philip IDEH (snr) Writes:

Church of Our Lady and St. Joseph at Balls Pond in Dalston, North London was filled to capacity on Sunday, March 21, 2010 when the Nigerian Chaplaincy organised triple celebrations.

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The great event of the day was the Launching of the Nigerian Chaplaincy catholic Men Organisation, (NCCMO), in recognition of the role of Nigerian men, especially Catholic fathers, in keeping the Nigerian Community and their families in Britain together.

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The event had come exactly two years after the Launching of the Nigerian Chaplaincy Women Organisation, (NCCWO), on Mother’s Day in 2008. Members of the  Nigerian Tansi Group also celebrated their anniversary on that day, to provide witness to the glory of God in Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Fr. Albert Ofere, Chaplain, recalled that the day had been chosen in consideration of the role of St. Joseph whose role as Patron of Workmen, was to bring Christians close to Christ, his foster Son and the Eucharist.

 

“Joseph is to family life what the Eucharist is to the Church,” he added. He also said that as the congregation prayed for Nigeria, there was no closer person to ask to intercede for Nigerians than Blessed Michael Iwene Tansi.

 

               Joining Father Albert to concelebrate were Fathers Austin Mbelu, Assistant Chaplain, Innocent, Assistant Chaplain and Vincent Chidi Dike.

 

                Fr. Dike, a Priest for 14 years, who had been ordained at the catholic diocese of Orlu and now reading for a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology at  St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, England, gave the homily.

 

               The Gospel was taken from St. John, Chapter 8, Verses 1-11 where Jesus showed His love and concern for the woman caught in adultery and instead of  condemning her, forgave her. By His action, our Lord had shown His compassion for human frailty combined with a gentle challenge to a better life and had called for the return of sinful people back to God through forgiveness.

 

               In his homily, Fr. Dike drew analogies with the treatment of women in rural communities in Nigeria and contrasted it with the rural people’s perception of the role of men in family life and in the society in general. Fr. Dike who is looking forward to starting his doctorate in African Theology and has a passion for Evangelism nearly brought down the roof because of the thunderous applause he received as a result of his witticisms.

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               What followed next was classic Nigerian Mass! Prayers of the Faithful were said in Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa and Urhobo/Itsekiri languages and songs rendered in Efik, “Obong, Obong tua nnyin mbom”, Lord Have Mercy and Communion Song was Hausa, “Sai-Kuzo” but the Chorus was in Yoruba, “E-sie O-lu-wa Olu-wa Jesu E sie O”.

 

               During the Offertory at which the Nigerian catholic Chaplaincy band played, the procession was led by representatives of the Catholic men Organisation, catholic Women Organisation and the Blessed Tansi Group; the atmosphere was electrifying as almost everyone got up from his or her seat to give offering and thanksgiving to the Lord for his Goodness, with the women in their gorgeous head gear, waving handkerchiefs above their heads and dancing to the altar, followed by the men, bending low and swaying from the left to the right, in obvious ecstasy, to the accompaniment of the rhythmic tunes.

 

               The highlight of the occasion was the invitation by Fr. Innocent to all the Catholic Men Organisation and catholic Women Organisation, to say the prayer of Consecration to the Holy Family followed by the induction of the Executive Members of the catholic Men’s Organisation, a lighted candle was placed beside the statute of Our Blessed lady heightened the solemnity of the occasion.

 

 

Email: mideh.ideh.matthias@googlemail.com

April 2010.    

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