By Chioma Ndife
The auxiliary Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, His Lordship Most, Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has charged members of the Catholic Men’s Organization, among other church groups, to be active in various Church apostolate, saying that merely attending Masses on Sundays is not enough.
Bishop Okoye made the call recently while speaking to Fides on the roles and responsibilities of the Laity to the Church during the 2019 Laity Celebration of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Uga, Aguata LGA.
He noted that it was important for the CMO members to brace up to their responsibilities and defend the Church in the face of persecutions in their immediate environment.
The Auxiliary Bishop who regretted the weakness among the CMO members in carrying out church apostolate, commended the role which the Catholic Women’s Organization had been playing in the Church and charged the men to emulate the women’s group for better performance.
‘There is a kind of weakness among the Catholic men. It is important they record their presence in the Church. It is not just by attending masses on Sunday. They should be active in other church apostolate; defending the Church when the need arises and standing strong in the face of persecutions in their various towns, rural communities and clans,’ Bishop Okoye said.
He urged the men to take up the role which society had placed on them and represent the Church in the face of attack.
‘Apart from the men, there are others; women and youths alike, who are not offering effective representation to the Church. They should also brace up to their Christian calling by living out their faith as Christ people for a better society,’ Bishop Okoye advised.
Quoting from the notes of the Second Vatican and documents of the Lumen Christi, Bishop Okoye noted that the fathers of the second Vatican Council made the roles of the Laity clear for effective understanding of the lay faithful. He noted that the laity had the responsibility of representing the viewpoints of the Church, noting that the clergy and laity shared the responsibility.
He disclosed that laity was not just an appendix to the Church but was part and parcel of the Church. He explained that the laity belonged to the priesthood of Christ and should mark themselves different from other individuals in society.