From Geoffrey Anyanwu and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Members of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria (AMEN) founded by Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, are in high spirits as the doors of the Catholic charismatic ministry are reopened again today.
Activities at the ministry were suspended indefinitely on June 18, 2022, by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Callistus Onaga, after he accused the Spiritual Director, Rev. Mbaka, of continuously violating the teachings and doctrines of the church.
In the letter of suspension, Onaga said that happenings in the Catholic Adoration Ministry Chaplaincy Enugu were capable of undermining the Catholic faith and teachings.
“My decision is based on the fact that some of the teachings and utterances of Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka at the Catholic Adoration Ministry are not consistent with the teachings and faith of the Catholic Church.
“I enjoin all the Christian faithful to keep praying for Fr. Mbaka and the Catholic Diocese of Enugu as I entrust him and the Diocese to the maternal care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles,” he stated.
The fiery priest’s suspension had attracted mixed reactions from both his followers and his critics alike.
Some people saw the bishop’s action as necessary and long overdue, so as to call the priest to order, while Mbaka’s teeming followers were of the opinion that his sermons were divinely inspired; and thus, Onaga was wrong to have suspended him.
However, the bishop has lifted the ban as confirmed by Mbaka via a Facebook post on Thursday, where he asked his followers to converge on the Umuchigbo, Iji Nike Adoration Ground today for a 10:00a.m Mass.
Since the announcement, members of the ministry have not hidden their excitement at the development.
One of them, Arinze Odo said: “We are grateful to God who is the most powerful. The adorers have not had it well since the closure of the Adoration Ministry. We are happy that our Daddy will be with us from Sunday, to continue his good work.”
Another member, Amaka Ikechukwu, said that he was excited when he heard the news, noting that, “we expect to receive the grace of God we normally get at the adoration ground.”
He urged all the adorers to be prayerful and have faith in God as the God of Adoration will meet their needs.
Mrs Chinenye Udeh said that she looked forward to the reopening of the ministry which she described as a source of spiritual strength for her.
Yet, Nnaemeka Okenwa said that he respects Fr. Mbaka and all the Catholic priests for holding onto their faith and place of calling.
According to him, the story would have been different if it were clerics from other hues. “If it were another church’s priest that controls the large crowd of faithful that Mbaka controls in the Adoration Ministry, they will use the bishop’s suspension as an opportunity to convert the ministry into their own church. Adoration Ministry shall be stronger again,” he enthused.
For one of the staunch members, a grandma, popularly known as Mummy Ezeyiim, there was no need to have shut the place at all even as she was overjoyed.
She said: “It has been a sad moment for us these past months of no Adoration, but I thank God for making them change their mind to lift the ban.
“However, I want to say that there was no need to close down or ban adoration, for we gather to worship God. Even if the leader, Fr. Mbaká did anything wrong, it should not warrant shutting down Adoration. You can’t stop people from worshipping God. We pray that such will not happen again.”
Another member of Adoration, Comfort Onuigbo, who runs a hair salon in New Haven, Enugu with the name ‘Nwa Jesus’ said that her joy knew no bounds knowing she would be at the Adorations ground this Sunday.
She said: “I am over-joyed, in fact, I have not even eaten today because I heard that Adoration will be reopened on Sunday. The joy in my heart cannot be quantified. You know since three months plus, we’ve not been to adoration and it has been very difficult and sad for me.
“God is using Nwa Mbakaogu there so much. Any day you come there, whatever Nwa Mbakaogu tells God to do for you, your heart desire, God will do it, but since it was closed it has been tough.
“I want to plead with the authorities that the place is where children of God go to be happy, if you come with your problems, God solves them and even do more for you. So, they should please not shut it down again.”
But, a trader at the Ogbete Main Market, Kingsley Ike expressed joy that the bishop lifted the ban and that they could go back to worship there again, though expects that Fr. Mbaka would have learnt some lessons from what happened.
“We will return on Sunday with great expectations and I pray that our Spiritual Director, Nwa Mbakaogu, will be more careful this time and if possible steer clear of politics,” he posited.
Like Ike, some of Mbaka’s followers advised him to be wary of making political statements in the future in order not to attract the wrath of the Church.
Martins Eleyi begged Mbaka to refrain from “anything that involves politics especially our incoming president, Peter Obi. Focus straight to the work of God that you were called to do. It is well with you Father. We love you, but you should love us in return by keeping far off politics.”
Also, Dickson Iheanacho said that he was excited about the reopening of the ministry, but pleaded with the priest, saying “this time around, allow us to vote, who we want without telling us God said. Let us make this decision ourselves.”