Bishop Godfrey Onah of Nsukka Diocese has told workers of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) and other agencies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) that purity of heart would enable them to encounter Christ and transform them to positive agents of change in their environment, with a view of getting the country out of distress.
The Bishop made this assertion while moderating the 2020 Annual Retreat for the workers of the Bishop Conference, at the 2-day retreat held at the CSN Resource Centre, Durumi, Abuja. According to the retreat facilitator, the Catholic Church is on mission to pull Nigeria out of distress; and as workers of the Church, they must be part of this determination of the Church, spiritually and pastorally. The theme of the retreat was: The Story of the Maggi: Walking in the Footsteps of the Magi
Other agencies whose workers were present at the retreat are: Catholic Caritas Foundation (CCFN); Veritas Travels Ltd; National Catholic Service Centre (NCSC)Salus Trust Ltd, Opus Securitatis, Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) and Catholic Secretariat Investments Concepts Ltd (CICL).
He told the workers that while working in the Catholic Secretariat, they do not need sign of the Stars like the Maggi; as the nature of the services they render on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference and the Church are clear indications of their mission. He however urged them to be properly informed about the Church and not just rely on any source for their information. While telling them that much is expected of them as workers of the Church, Bishop Onah urged them not to search for knowledge about the Church alone. He added that since nobody has the monopoly of knowledge, this search is better sought through communal efforts.
Using the story of the Child Jesus, the Maggi, King Herod to buttress his point, the retreat master stressed the importance of sincerity of purpose and positive motive, which king Herod did not have towards the child Jesus. While pointing out that there are many Herods in the world today, the bishop advised the workers not to be the Herod in their place of work or within the society at large.
He declared: “Today’s Herods can be anybody – pretending to serve Christ but with their own devilish and personal projects. Herod represents darkness in our lives while Jesus is the Light. Darkness is absence of Light.” While noting that Christianity is a dynamic religion, Bishop Onah also used the occasion to remind the workers that religion is not business and God does not need what we give Him but we need what he gives. He added: “In Christianity, you give freely – surrender yourself to God completely. Our relationship with God is one of total submission.”
Speaking further on the mission of the Church to get Nigeria out of distress, Bishop Onah noted that we have overrated our country as the giant of Africa out of self-deceit, and the country has now turned out to be the continent’s problem. Pointing out that while small African countries are making progress and developing in all facets of life, Nigeria is neither here nor there.
He noted that for the country to get out of her present predicament, “there is need for us to humble ourselves in order to be elevated”. He urged the workers to join in the efforts to remove the Herods in the Nigerian nation by discharging their duties as workers of the Church with love and compassion as Christ did for the human race.
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