It was a season of thanksgiving as the Nimo Region of the Catholic Diocese of Awka held the 2022 Chrism Mass/Cathedraticum on Holy Wednesday, April 14, at Our Lady of Assumption Parish, Nimo, Njikoka LGA, Anambra State.
Fides gathered that the annual cathedraticum, celebrated together with Chrism Mass, serves as a feast day for all the priests working in the region and presents an opportunity for the regional priests to renew their priestly vows before the diocesan bishop.
The event also presents an opportunity for the faithful who have gone for sacramental confession to obtain indulgence, feature in the blessing of the oil of catechumen, oil of the sick and consecration of the Chrism Oil by the Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, who led in the concelebrated Mass.
The three different oils are to be used by the Church for the administration of sacraments across the region for the next one year. The sick are supported with the oil of the sick, the catechumen oil used at baptism to initiate the faithful into Christian fold, while the oil of chrism is also used for baptism, for the sacrament of the Holy Order, and ordination, among others.
The Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, started his homily by explaining that it was a tripartite celebration—the commemoration of the institution of priests, the presentation of gifts by the laity to support the work of the Diocese, and the blessing of the Oil of Chrism, Catechumen and the Sick.
Talking to priests, he urged them to be holy, saying, ‘To my brother priests, be holy as that is necessary to shepherd the flock under your care effectively. Also, hold sacred, the sacraments of the Church, particularly the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Penance. Try to be servants at all times to the people of God and continue to work without considering earthly rewards.’
He further implored the laity to pray for the priests and the Church, as well as to support the Church. He made it clear that faith was essential for the good practice of Christianity.
Speaking to Fides Media at the event, Rev. Fr Shedrack Anunwa, Episcopal Vicar, Nimo Region, expressed his joy to witness the 2022 Chrism Mass/Cathedraticum.
‘I feel very happy because this is an annual event. There are a lot challenges around the world, in the nation and especially in the South East; but in spite of all this, God has made it possible that we hold this function today. We are grateful that it has come and gone,’ he said.
Fr Anunwa also said his major message to the people this year was for them to draw closer to God, stating that the the event was to bring people closer to God and make everyone cherish the love of God.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of gifts in the form of cows, food items and others by parishes, schools, and organizations in Nimo Region.