Opinion

Join Christ in 40 Days Journey, Bishop Okoye Enjoins Faithful

. . . Calls for Life of Denial

By Chioma Ndife

As Catholics in Awka Diocese joined their counterparts in other parts of the world to mark 2020 Ash Wednesday, February 26, which signifies the beginning of the Lenten Season, the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has tasked Catholics to endeavour to be part of the 40 days journey which Christ embarked upon for the salvation of mankind.

He made the call on Wednesday, February 26, at Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA, Anambra State, while speaking on the expectations and responsibilities of Catholics during the Lenten Season to ensure a fulfilled and enriching Lent.

He stated that joining Christ in the 40 Days Journey entailed self-denial, sacrifice and being compassionate at others’ life condition.

The Catholic prelate explained that to deny oneself meant to stop something and channelling the resources gained from such to helping others in dire need.

He noted that denial did not have to do only with doing away with negative attitudes but also things which seemed to have become an integral part of a person’s day to day activities, noting that someone who was in the habit of drinking wine, beer or carbonated beverages could say no to such things, while another who liked heavy make-ups could reduce, just as one who ate three times a day could begin to eat twice a day during the period.

He noted that such reductions would keep more money in the pockets of those practicing self-denial which they could spend on charity.

He disclosed that practicing a life of denial was part of the measures to be adopted by Catholics to ensure that they enjoyed an enriching Lenten season.

In his words, ‘The Church has given us another opportunity to partake in the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is important we learn self-denial at this moment and become more charitable. Being more charitable is very necessary as one has to identify the difficulties of others around. This will be a guide for the person to determine how to help another who is in need.’

Bishop Okoye maintained that everyone had something to give and charged them to endeavour to do charity, irrespective of one’s social class and economic state. He beckoned on all to endeavour to suffer themselves in order to give.

He advised Christians to use the Lenten period to pray and fast more intensively for the Nigerian Nation which, he said, was being rocked with series of killings and kidnappings. He said that the bloodshed in Nigeria was alarming and needed cleansing.

The prelate said that prayers and action needed to come together for the situation in Nigeria to be addressed, as, according to him, works without action yielded nothing.

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