By Vivian Onyebukwa
A three-day grand executive board meeting by the Knights of St. John has ended in Lagos, with the call for members to rebuild the unity, brotherhood and love associated with the organisation.
The meeting was also held to harmonise the activities of the order in the Lagos Grand Commandery after the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria lifted the suspension placed on the order’s activities. The KSJI was suspended as a Catholic organisation on February 16, 2022, due to their failure to comply with the 10-point directive meant to resolve the lingering crisis in the order.
Speaking to the members during the meeting, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Nwanoka called to mind what was expected of the members as knights. According to him, knighthood was for learned people who should be role models. He described it as a respectable and honoured association.
He stated that some members were ignorant of what they were supposed to do as knights, and admonished them to be role models in all their activities, even in donating to the church.
He said: “You should be able to hold the priests accountable. Respect your superiors such as priests and bishops. Let us come together and build our heritage. It is a respectable and honoured association. So, you get respected by rebuilding yourself. Knighthood is not cultism. It is the bad eggs in knighthood, don’t use them to generalise. The light will overshadow the darkness. Let us unite and rebuild the unity, brotherhood and love. That is what makes knighthood as a cult because they are in unity, love and together. Be disciplined, go to mass on time.”
Brig. General Joachim Chux Amangbo, the grand president, Lagos Grand Commandery, Knights of St John International (KSJI), while speaking on the expectations of the three-day meeting, described knights as custodians of spirituality and discipline. Outlining their roles in the church, he said, “We defend the church. With the way the church is going now, we need to discuss a lot of things, the way to help the church and the priests. You can see the kidnapping of priests and reverend sisters here and there. So, we discuss all those things when we meet here. We also discuss our spiritual welfare, evangelise and get more people. All aiming at supporting and promoting the church.”
Lady Justina Chinyere Nwankwo, the grand auxiliary president, Knight of St John International, the female arm of the Knight of St John, acknowledged the role of women in rebuilding the nation. She described the situation in the country as terrible and advised mothers to speak out to those in authority.
She said: “Women have a lot to do. There is so much insecurity in Nigeria and the perpetrators are our children. We have to call them to other, know the kind of lifestyle they live, and the company they keep, to curtail their excesses. We should talk to our husbands as well. As mothers, we have to pray because mothers are as the head even to their husbands.”
The event ended with a high mass presided over by the archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Martins. The bishop, while speaking to the press after the service, advised youths to desist from being used as thugs during elections.
He said: “Any young person that is being recruited to participate in thuggery needs to ask whoever is recruiting them, where is the name of their children, cousins and family members? If they don’t have the names of their family members, that is why they should not allow themselves to be used for destruction of life. If the youths allow themselves to be used, they are motgaging their own future because democracy is supposed to be able to lead to a better life. So, if they are allowing the wrong people to get into office by acts of thuggery, the young people are not preparing a rosy future for themselves.”