FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, November 7, 2017
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NOVEMBER 2017 AGENDA

he month of November began with the Solemnity of All Saints (All Hallows) in Heaven. The assembly of the holy souls in heaven is known as the Church Triumphant. They have fought and won the eternal battle. We who are still here on earth are the Church Militant, because we are on the battle field with evil. This spiritual war is not fought with guns, landmines, bombs or nuclear weapons. The effective weapons are: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, doing the will of God, repentance from sins, resolve to live a better life and perseverance. It is a daily struggle to do Good and to avoid Evil. It is a narrow door that leads into heaven. Someone asked our Lord Jesus Christ the number of people to be saved. Jesus answered, "Strive to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed" (Luke 13:24). Few days ago I went to market to purchase a narrow door to change the broad one that leads into my room, but I did not see any. Since necessity is the mother of invention, I asked a carpenter to construct a tiny door that can hardly pass my head. The door will be hung as soon as it is ready. I want to begin now to practice how to enter through a narrow door here on earth, so that when I die I will just pierce my way into heaven easily. Practice makes perfect. I don't want to take chances at all. One of my parishioners who used to sit on the front pew in our church has decided to change position after hearing the words of the Gospel which says, "The first shall be last, and the last first." He now sits on the last pew at the back of the church. Carefulness is not cowardice.

Those in heaven fought spiritual war here on earth and ended victoriously. Hence they are now seeing the Beatific Vision; that is, seeing God face to face and being happy with Him forever and ever. It is a life of everlasting happiness. Saint Paul exhorting the Corinthians about the kingdom of God says, "What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9). I must do my best to be there by the grace of God. What of you? Yesterday night I saw myself in a dream sitting at God's left hand in heaven (because Jesus has occupied the right hand), only to wake up and saw myself in the toilet doing morning off-loading. Please do not laugh at me.

During examinations, some candidates score excellent marks. Some get just pass marks. Some others pass weakly (weak-pass). This last group of candidates is promoted on trial. On 2nd of November 2017, we commemorated and prayed for the souls that were promoted to heaven on trial after God's judgment. They were found neither worthy of heaven nor hell. Therefore they need to be purified, because nothing impure will enter the kingdom of God. Hence we read: "Some will be saved but through fire" (1 Cor. 3:15). This process of purification of souls is undergone in what the Catholic Church terms Purgatory. Those souls undergoing purgation are referred to as the Church Suffering. The souls in purgatory suffer as a result of venial sins or punishment due to already forgiven mortal sins while on earth. I have severally stated that if God does not temper justice with mercy, then heaven will be empty because nobody is perfect as such. Those who die in the state of mortal sins go directly into hell. Where does a person who died as a result of road accident while driving and making/answering phone-call go to? Lord, have mercy!

Since a year now in the Catholic Diocese of Awka, there have been preparations, seminars, meetings, deliberations, suggestions and prayer for the success of the Second Synod of the Diocese, which begins on Sunday 5th November and ends on Saturday 11th November 2017. The opening Mass on this November 5 takes place at Saint Patrick's Cathedral Awka, at 10.00a.m; to be presided over by the incumbent Diocesan Bishop, Most Reverend Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, assisted by the Auxiliary Bishop, Most Reverend Jonas Benson Okoye, and to be concelebrated by a great number of priests, in the presence of numerous religious men and women and a multitude of lay men and women from different regions, parishes, institutions, societies and groups in the Diocese. God had already delegated some Angels from Heaven to grace the occasion. The Lord Jesus Christ and his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary will be the chief Guests of Honour.

After the opening Holy Mass, there will be some social events on the same day at the Cathedral podium in order to keep body and soul together. Then the synod delegates will go into special sessions for five days. Archangel Michael keeps watch at the door of the Synod hall by day and night to avoid Satan coming in to throw spanner into the Synod deliberations. The Holy Spirit is the chairman of the Synod. He will be flanked by Bishop P.C. Ezeokafor on the right and Bishop J.B. Okoye on the left. The synod delegates will deliberate on different theological, pastoral, moral and spiritual issues that cropped up since the last synod of 2001. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit new decisions and modifications shall be arrived at. These will appear in black and white in a document to be called 2017 Synod Acta (Acts) of the Catholic Diocese of Awka. The contents will be binding on all Clergy, Religious and Laity in the Diocese for years to come.

What has a beginning must have an end. As the Synod was officially opened with Holy Mass, it will be officially closed also with Holy Mass at the Cathedral in the presence of priests, religious and laity body of the diocese. The Diocesan Bishop then declares the Synod officially closed. He proclaims the Synod Acta binding on all. Social events will follow after the Mass to add colour to the unique occasion. Long Live the Catholic Diocese of Awka! Long Live the Universal Church!!

As the Synod winds up on 11th of November 2017, the political atmosphere of Anambra State must have been 99% charged as the November 18 Gubernatorial Election is at the corner. This time, 37 candidates are vying for the gubernatorial seat. What a great number of governorship aspirants! If not for lack of rationality, some brutes from the animal world would have joined the race. Yesterday I came across a group of animals protesting over their exclusion and denial of the right of franchise in the forthcoming Anambra governorship poll. I calmed them down and asked them to wait for the 2019 general polls in Nigeria. Surprisingly, the animals reacted angrily. They started pursing me aggressively. Thank God I ran into a nearby church and took refuge in the sanctuary, where the Angels of God covered me with their wings and mantles.

The Chairman of the Independecnt National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, decried the high number of Anambra gubernatorial candidates ever in the history of Nigeria. Behold the intending governors and their parties: APGA (incumbent Governor) - Willie Obiano, AA - Uju Uchendu, AGAP - Nwezi Felix Amechi, ACD - Oby Kate, ACPN - Akunwata Ejoh Ojiba, ADC - Paul Chukwudi Obinonso, ADP - Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, APC - Tony Nwoye, APDA - Adaeze Chizube Okafor, APP - Nweke Chukwudubem, BNPP - Ohanugo Ikem Cecil, DA - Emmanuel Uchenna, DPC - Edochie Yul, GPN - Onuorah Basil, HDP - Osita Oraegbunam, ID - Ndife Ikenna, KOWA - Rufus Okeke Sunday, LP - Christian Enemuo, MMN - Okafor Onyeka Christian, MPPP - Praise Okechukwu, NCP - Chinedu Okpalanma, NDLP - Benneth Abaniwu, NEPP - Felix Obi-Okafor, NNPP- Okafor Charles, NPC - Val Okey Oguejiofor, NUP - Nnoli Amechi, PDC - Peter Chibike, PDP - Oseloka Obaze, PPA - Godwin Ezeemo, PPN - Henry Okechukwu Onuorah, PPP - Kenneth Modezie, PRP - Stephen Obiorah, SDP - Ifeanyi Obalum, UDP - Stanley Ezeanyakum, UPP - Osita Chidoka, YDP - Ozoemena Nonso, YPP - Ifeoma Ezeibe. What a long list! Oh, my God! The gubernatorial candidates would have been 38 in number, if not that the candidate of Anu Kanda Party (AKP) - Mr. Ewu Makakwu, was disqualified. This is a factory of governorship aspirants. Most of the aspirants are not even known facially or nominally. Some of them are political jobbers. Most of them are not campaigning for votes. Some just want to update their profiles as 'former governorship aspirant' in Anambra State. The INEC Chairman Professor Yakubu complained bitterly that two prominent parties from the list above illegally substituted the candidates that emerged from their primaries as witnessed by INEC. The illegal substitution was alleged to have taken place between Awka and Abuja. He swore to expose the two concerned parties at the appropriate time. The die is cast!

The Anambra electorates must shine their eyes as they go to the polls to elect their next Governor. It must be someone with the fear of God, tested and trusted. His or her antecedents must be put into consideration. Anambra State rates as the best secured State for now nationwide. The tight security must not be toiled with. Without security, investors cannot come into the state. For some years now in Anambra State we have been sleeping with two eyes closed, unlike before. Our Education status is superb. Agriculture is thriving in the state. We have the best road network in the country, even though some of them are dilapidating. Workers are paid promptly. We must vote for the best candidate who will take us to the Promised Land. Chief Peter Obi did very well for the eight years of his stewardship as Governor of Anambra State. The incumbent Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has done very well so far (in three and half years). The future is bright. Let us vote for the right candidate. May God deliver us from principalities and powers that be as we go to the polls on 18 November 2017! Do not sell your conscience. Do not sell your voter's card. Failure to vote spells doom for Anambra State. God forbid! Beware of the enemies of progress!

The month of November 2017 will be crowned with the solemn celebration of the Kingship of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on Sunday November 26. It will be glorious. All Catholic Faithful in Nigeria will march triumphantly on the streets in the presence of the Eucharist King of kings. It marks the end of the Church's liturgical year. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. At the mention of the Name of Jesus Christ, all knees must bow! Preparations toward the unique annual celebration are on top gear. Those who have roles to play are already practicing. The Angels of God are also rehearsing their indispensable role on that day. The sun will not only dance on that day, but the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Indeed after the celebration Nigeria will not be the same again.

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