Awka Diocese Encourages Cultural Integration to Liturgy @ Liturgical Seminar

By Mercy Hill

Following the success of the Awka Diocesan Liturgy Inculturation (ADLIC) Seminar for priests, held on 2nd March 2020 at the Archbishop A. K Obiefuna Retreat, Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno, the one for the lay faithful of Awka Diocese was organized for all regions in the diocese, on Saturday, 7 March 2020.

It would be recalled that the Pastoral Department of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) set year 2020 out for the third National Catholic Festival of Arts and Culture (NACAFAC). The theme would be centered on Celebrating the Gift of Life in Traditional Naming Ceremony- a Focus on the Rite of Baptism.

The seminar for Awka Region, held at St. Mathew’s Catholic Church, Amawbia, featuring discourses on naming ceremonies, names in Christian and traditional communities as well as the need for a unified celebration of initiation rite.

Reading Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor’s keynote, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Okafor, noted that the seminar was organized to discuss the possibilities available for inculturating liturgical rites into baptism with careful respect to the values of the gospel and the local culture for mutual enrichment.

On behalf of the ADLIC Chairman, Rev. Fr. John Umeojiako, Fr. Okafor disclosed that the coordinators of inculturation of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Nigeria held a seminar from 29th to 31st October 2019 in preparation for the third National Arts and Cultural Festival (NACAFAC), scheduled to hold at diocesan, provincial, and finally, national levels. The grand finale of the festival would be held in November 2020 in Calabar.

Addressing the participants, who represented Catholic Women Organizations, Catechists, Choristers, Altar servers, lay readers and other church organizations during the seminar, the Director of Fides Media Limited, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi, enlightened the people on the Catholic Cultural Festival and the pastoral need behind NACAFAC. He explained that the festival was aimed at being a platform for the exhibition of significant aspects of the cultural heritage of the people through paper presentation, drama, African poetry, dance, choral songs, art exhibition etc. He disclosed that the medium was created to show through the various traditions and customs, how Christ subsisted in Nigerian cultures (Igbo culture in our own case)

The seminar which had over fifty people in attendance ended with a vote of thanks by some of the participants to the keynote speaker Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi, and the parish priest of St. Mathew’s, Amawbia, Rev. Fr. Michael Onwukike who provided some refreshment.

Fr. Anusi addressing the participants during the seminar