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Issues of Doctrines & Morals
15th JOS ARCHDIOCESAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Opening Mass 21st August 2017 St Louis 9:00am
Aug 14, 2017

OPENING MASS FOR THE 15TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY ...

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14th Jos Archdiocesan General Assembly

The 14th Annual Jos Archdiocesan General Assembly.

Date:    Monday 29th August - Friday 2nd September, 2016

Theme: A Call to A more Practical Christianty in the Year of Mercy.

Venue:  Sacred Heart Pastoral Centre, Jos.

 

SUMMARY OF THE PAPERS

 

PRESENTED AT THE 13TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

 by Fr. Augustune Ndu

 

Your Grace, Most Rev. Ignatius A. Kaigama, Catholic Archbishop  of Jos Archdiocese and the metropolitan Archbishop of Jos Province, the president of Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and President of  Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA), Rt. Rev. Msgr. Benedict Ifeanyichukwu Obidiegwu, and Msgr. Cletus Tanimu Gotan, Vicars General, Very Rev. and Rev. Frs. Revd. Sisters, the paper presenter, Prof. Michael Ogunu, University of Benin, Benin City. The Papal Knight and Knights of our Archdiocese and their Ladies, our men and women catechists, Great and Honourable Delegates of our Great General Assembly, Word of Life reporters and other gentlemen of the Press. Glory to Jesus.

 

         The General Assembly of the Archdiocese of Jos is here again, all thanks to the Almighty God, the Omniscient and Omnipotent, who has made it possible for us to see this day. No doubt, some who were with us at the last General Assembly have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. May I humbly ask you to be on your feet for a moment to pray for one of our own, an icon of valour in the Archdiocese, Very Revd. Fr. Jeremiah O’ Connell (S.M.A) who passed on quietly in his sleep in the early hours of 17th of August, 2016 in Ireland. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace, Amen.

 

         It is no longer news that the General Assembly has come to stay in our Archdiocese. What may be news is that, while we are celebrating the 14th Edition, some or most of the Dioceses/Archdioceses are yet to think of beginning, let alone continuing. This is enough reason why we should thank and glorify God, and to salute the captain of the ship – our Archbishop for his sense of direction and agility in keeping this treasure going.

 

         The 13th General Assembly took place in 2015 with the theme: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. This was the Lead paper presented by Revd. Fr. Jude A. Ossai (Osa). The second paper was presented by Prof. Angela F. Miri (Ph.D) on “The Challenges of the Family Upbringing of Children in Contemporary Nigeria”.

 

         This 13th General Assembly took place from 24th to 28th August 2015 with the Theme: Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” with Very Revd. Anthony Fom as the Chairman of the Central Planning Committee. In this paper Fr. Jude A. Ossai (Osa) highlighted the special place the family occupies in the society and the church. He said that Pope Francis called for moment of special discussion and dialogue on the family for a period of two years, emphasizing that the family structure is facing crisis and this affects everyone. This is why the church is taking the issue of the family very seriously because she is mindful of the fact that a strong and healthy family gives birth to a strong and healthy society. He further said and quoted that God is the author of marriage from which families springs (II Vatican Council Gaudium et Spes): This means that if the family is properly evangelized and the family knows and appreciates God, the society will be healthy and saturated with Christian virtues.

 

         Through the years, the church has specifically spoken about the family as an important part of the church through different catechesis and other church documents. Despite these, the church still faces challenges such as cultural differences, canonical irregularities, crises of faith, amongst others in evangelizing the family. These challenges, Fr. Jude suggested could be solved through application of a morefriendly and attractive language, strengthening the Archdiocesan Commission on the family, popular piety and familial piety, intensification of new evangelization etc.

 

         In the second paper presented by Prof. Angela Miri on the topic “Challenges of the Family Upbringing of Children in Contemporary Nigeria”, she sees children upbringing as activities carried out by a parent or parents, for instance supplying physical sustenance, emotional support, instilling moral values and giving the child good education. This parenting is done by the biological parent of the children except for orphans and the abandoned, where other arrangements are made, though government and society take a role as well.

 

         She also emphasized that families should first be built on good Christian values shown by parents who serve and the first role model for their children. Though the process of parenting is met by challenges in our society today ranging from terrorism, fanaticism, insecurity, overindulgence with children, large family size, domestic violence etc, parents are still expected to do their best and never forget to pray to God for help, as written in (John 15:5) “apart from me, you can do nothing”.       Furthermore, the faithful are called to continue, despite challenges; in their effort to build the family as the strongest and reliable agent of evangelization.

 

The 13th General Assembly ended on the 28th of August, 2015, with a clarion call on all parishes and chaplaincies of the Archdiocese to step down the proceedings in their jurisdictions before the end of December 2015, and ensure that the prominent activities featured at the step-down event are reported in the word of Life Newspaper. Reports coming from all the Deaneries of the Archdiocese indicate that this call was answered by all the parishes.

 

         Permit me to introduce to you once again the theme of the 14th General Assembly “A CALL TO MORE PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY IN THE YEAR OF MERCY” with Very Revd. Fr. Augustine Okeke Ndu as the Chairman of the planning committee, holding from the 29th of August to 2nd of September, 2016. The theme of this year’s General Assembly – was carefully chosen to show case the brain child of Pope Francis who infallibly directed the entire Christendom to look at God as a merciful father and to share that mercy among our fellow human beings practically in Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

 

Our Archbishop Ignatius A. Kaigama told us to avoid mosquitoes clap in one of his sermons at the Cathedral during one of the Priestly Ordinations. He told us that the younger mosquito said, to the mother, see! How they love us clapping for us, the mother said that hand is not out of love but from an enemy to kill you”. With the beautiful message of God’s mercy and to be found among Catholics and the entire human race, I expect that this General Assembly will help increase our love for God who is merciful and to pass on that love to our fellow human beings irrespective of our religion, race, tribe and social status.

 

         The first stanza of the prayer of the Year of Mercy says “If you knew the gift of God”. I pray that this gift of God in this year of mercy which form the theme of our General Assembly will entice you to be focused. It was Michel Angelo who said and I quote, “if you are called to be a sweeper, sweep in a way that after you are gone, even the angels passing will say, here lived once upon a time a great sweeper”. I pray that each and everyone of us will participate in a way that generations yet unborn will say, there were once upon a time, great women and men who participated actively in building the Archdiocese of Jos in the 14th General Assembly. It was Mandela of Africa who also said, “Don’t forget a Saint is someone who keeps trying”. Try therefore, to make this general Assembly a great one.

         Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also said “If you have not found something worth dying for, you aren’t fit to be living”. It is my wish that this Great General Assembly of our Archdiocese will be mosquito clap-free. May our Blessed Mother Mary be with us as she was with the couple at the wedding at Cana and may she bring Jesus to us as she carried Him to John the Baptist and his mother Elizabeth. Many thanks to our various Deaneries, Parishes and Pastoral Areas for stepping down the 2015 General Assembly. Let us do it again to the glory of God. God bless you all.

 


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