By Micheal Nnebife
The Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria, CYON, Awka Diocese, has
begun a youth empowerment programme, with 39 beneficiaries, who were given 27 sewing and 13 shoemaking machines (one each with a
charge to train other members at the deanery and parish levels), for economic self-reliance.
The programme, which will be an annual event, took place at St Matthew’s Catholic Church, Amawbia, with a Holy Mass presided over by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, represented by the parish priest and chaplain of CYON, Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Rev Fr Michael Onwukike.
In a homily during the Mass, the Priest Rev. Fr. Michael Onwukike, lauded the Catholic youths for the programme, which, he noted, was apt and timely now the nation faced a high rate of unemployment and economic challenges.
He enjoined them never to allow the prevailing economic
hardship in the country to lure them into evil, but to remain steadfast in faith and trust in God so as to triumph in the end.
Blaming the challenges in Nigeria on leadership, the chief shepherd of Awka Diocese, advised Christians to ensure that their presence brought joy and justice to people around them as the light and salt of the world.
In his remarks, the Principal Chaplain of CYON, Awka Diocese, Rev Fr Paschal Udo, thanked the bishop and the host parish priest for their fatherly concerns for the organization.
He also appreciated the supporters of the organization, particularly the candidates of All Progressives Congress, All Progressives Grand Alliance, and Labour Party, for Anambra Central Senatorial seat in the forthcoming elections; Chiefs Okelekwe Kodilichukwu, Dozie Nwankwo, and Victor Umeh, respectively, including Prof Obiora Okonkwo, who chaired the occasion, for their respective support.
In their separate speeches, the candidates announced what they would do for the youths if elected.
While presenting an address
of welcome, the president of the organization, Augustine Ubosi, said, ‘What we came here today to do is in line with what Jesus and the disciplines did. We realized that it’s necessary to make provisions for the temporal well-being of our members.
‘To all the beneficiaries, your acceptance of these items is conditional as there’s an attachment to it, implying you should go to your respective parishes and deaneries to help train our members in the skills you have.’
Responding, two of the beneficiaries, Obinna Oraka and Odinaka Atu, expressed appreciation to the organization and assured their readiness to keep to the directives given to them as regards training other members at parish and deanery levels.
The event, which also featured sensitization of the youths on the need to participate actively in the forthcoming general elections, and presentation of awards of honour to Prof Okonkwo, Chiefs Kodilichukwu, Nwankwo, and Umeh, came to a climax with the handing over of the machines to the beneficiaries.