Holy Father, Pope Francis, has encouraged faithful in Ahiara Catholic Diocese, Imo state, to sustain peace and unity in the diocese which has resulted in appreciable development in the diocese.
Pope was also full of praises for the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara catholic diocese, Bishop Lucius Ugorji, for the enormous work he has put in to restore normalcy in the recently troubled diocese.
The Papal’s blessing was conveyed to the ecclesial community at the weekend during the Holy Mass at the Mater Ecclesia Catholic Cathedral in Ahiara, where he ordained 15 deacons.
The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, who is the Pope’s representative in Nigeria, conveyed the Papal’s blessing and assured the people how close Ahiara diocese is to the heart of the Holy Father.
He also led them in reflecting on the significance of the life of St. Joseph for
Christians in general, and particularly for the men to be ordained deacons.
To Ahiara faithful, the Nuncio proposed St. Joseph as a model for them to be emulated to bring the gospel everywhere and in their commitment to convert from the mentality that makes them forget that the Church is a single family, whose members are united not so much by the bonds of human blood, but by those created by the Blood of Christ, and that for this reason cannot admit divisions within it on the basis of ethnicity, social position, political affiliation.
He invoked the intercession of the spouse of Mary to heal the wounds opened in the Diocese of Ahiara in the recent past and help the Church to be holy in the behaviour of all its members, notably, priests, religious and laity, and be zealous in the mission of bringing the Gospel to all and in all situations of life, overcoming the dichotomy between prayer and life, liturgy celebrated inside the churches and daily life, Christian doctrine and morals, and daily choices and behaviours.
Moreover, Archbishop Filipazzi reminded the ordinands that since the diaconate is a service
which, as a sacrament imprints the character of a service to God and to men, the deacons must follow the example in St. Joseph who did not speak and did not ask, but rather renounced everything, working silently in obedience to the will of God.
In response to the request by the delegates for a substantive Bishop, the Italian born diplomat
encouraged the faithful to trust in God, and also trust the Holy Father, the Holy See, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) because all of them desire the best for the Catholic Archdiocese of Ahiara.
Archbishop Filipazzi enjoined the people to continue to pray, because shepherds come from God. “Shepherds are not given by the Pope nor by the people. They are given by God. So, we have to go to God in order to have good shepherds.”