…Bishop Ezeokafor Approves Annual Celebration in Diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Awka on Wednesday, 5th October, celebrated the 2022 Pontifical Missionary Union, PMU, of priests and religious working in the Diocese at Archbishop A.K. Obienfuna Retreat, Pastoral and Recreational Centre, Awka, Anambra State, Adejumoke Aminat Alebiosu and Marcellinus Chiagozie Uzuanwu report.
The celebration started with a Holy Mass led by His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop, Awka Diocese. During his Homily, the Chief Shepherd of the diocese encouraged the priests and religious working in the diocese to work and walk together for the propagation of the Gospel.
‘I am glad that the Pontifical Missionary Union, PMU, organized this event. It is important that we come together like this to familiarize with each other. The key issue here is working and walking together. Who are those expected to do this? The priests, religious and lay faithful,’ he said.
Bishop Ezeokafor also stressed the need for collaborative ministry, stating that every religious organization was important and should be recognized. The bishop also stated that the Church was open to ideas, especially from priests and religious.
Fides recalls that the Pontifical Missionary Union is an arm of the Pontifical Mission Societies, PMS. PMS is an umbrella body consisting of four arms: Pontifical Missionary Union; Holy Childhood Association, HCA; Propagation of Faith, POF; and Society of St Peter, the Apostle.
Rev. Fr Tobias Osigwe, Director, Pontifical Mass Societies, Awka Diocese, appreciated the bishop for gracing the event. He explained that the event was one they had been looking forward to.
‘This is a wonderful opportunity we have been craving and yearning for, a gathering of Pontifical Missionary Union of priests and religious working in all the dioceses especially in our own diocese, Awka. PMU is a major part of PMS, because it is the engine room of the other arms of society. The priests and religious are playing important roles because they are the ones coordinating the other arms,’ he said.
Fr Osigwe, who also doubles as the National Coordinator and Secretary of PMU, Nigeria, said the celebration was to foster relationships between priests and religious, create a better understanding among them and mobilise everyone to fulfill the vision of the Union.
While delivering her speech, Sr. Mary Bennet Ezeokoli, IHM, Director, PMS, Onitsha Archdiocese, explained the need for a collaborative ministry.
Her words, ‘The purpose of this event is to revitalize the PMU in Awka Diocese and remind ourselves the importance of PMU. It is an opportunity to reflect on the essence of collaborative ministry, the first step to this is to see collaboration as a value. We should assist each other to make the work easier.’
She also appreciated Awka Diocese on their participation in HCA, stating that the diocese had the association in all its parishes; even as she encouraged the diocese to keep up what she described as their good work.
Speaking to Fides, Rev. Fr Raphael Agbanu, Coordinator, PMU, Awka Diocese, explained that the event was a celebration that brought priests and religious together in a union of apostolate. ‘We have come today to celebrate ourselves and encourage ourselves in the ministry to enable us to collaborate more and effectively for the ministry we are into,’ he said.
He also encouraged everyone present to work together encourage each other and live together in happiness for the glory of God. He also appreciated the bishop for the opportunity and for being a father to the Union.
Bishop Ezeokafor also approved that the event became an annual event for the Union to further foster the relationship among everyone.
The highlight of the event was an interactive session where priests and religious present, aired their views and contributions, while some shared their experiences.