By Chioma Ndife
The principal of Bubendorf Memorial Grammar School, Adazi-Nnkwu, Rev. Fr. Theo Ekwem, has beckoned on Catholic priests and pastors across the nation to move their attention to human capital development rather than the ‘unnecessary emphasis which they placed on infrastructural development.’
Fr. Ekwem who made the call while speaking to journalists on the ways which the Church could adopt to improve youth apostolate, said that investing in human capital development was key towards empowering and engaging the youths in a bid to harness their potentials.
He said that the Church’s tradition of always renewing herself, should not be seen solely from the cathecathical nor liturgical point of view, noting that the Church also renewed her engagement with the people, describing such renewal as crucial for the Church’s survival as it could not operate without the people.
He maintained that it was important for the Church to make reformation in certain areas, saying that time had come for priests to do what the early missionaries did but in a different way to solve the problems of common man.
The school manager stressed that the reformation could start by de-emphasizing infrastructure which had been receiving lots of attention and emphasizing more on human capital development. He advocated that the Church must endeavour not to fail the youths the way the government of the day had failed them.
He recalled that the Catholic Diocese of Awka, about four years ago, sponsored the university education of some indigent students and acknowledged that the news of the sponsorship came as a cheering one to him, noting that more should be done in such direction.
The priest wondered what some parishes with finished church building and other structural edifices did with the bazaar support fund which they mostly received from well to do individuals.
‘There are parishes you go today and you begin to wonder what they do with their bazaar support because these parishes might have had their church building singlehandedly built by an individual. They have tarred roads and might still have shops which have been rented to people,’ he stated.
Fr Ekwem stated that such parishes should begin to look into how they could empower the youths by requesting for the economic proposal from youths in the immediate environment where the parish was located and organizing something that would set up some persons permanently in life. He said that such gesture would begin to send signals to people for them to denote that the Church was established in the likeness of Christ who came to give life in abundance to people.
Fr. Ekwem revealed that it was important for the Church to develop a template on how to empower her youth and maintained that such empowerment could come as a soft loan or as an outright empowerment in order to give the youth a sense of belonging to that body of Christ called the Church. He said that doing so was a way of strengthening the future of the Church, which, he said, was in the hands of the youth.
He disclosed that the empowerment programme, if well-structured, would reduce the crime rate and the get-rich-quick syndrome of the youths of today.