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Katsina-Ala Catholic Diocese, Installs Dugu, New Bishop

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From David Torough, Makurdi

Most Reverend Isaac Dugu was on Friday installed the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Katsina-Ala.

The Episcopal Consecration and Installation of Reverend Dugu took place at Akume Atongo Stadium, Katsina-Ala, the headquarters of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.

Bishop Dugu was installed as the second Bishop of the Catholic Diocese.

Speaking on the occasion, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom who joined other Nigerians from all walks of life in solidarity to witness the event reaffirmed the readiness of his administration to sustain the partnership it has with the Church towards tackling the challenges militating against development.

He congratulated the new Bishop and prayed that his Episcopate would win more souls for Jesus and sustain peace in Katsina-Ala Diocese and the State in general.

Earlier in a homily, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Reverend Antonio Guido Filipazzi explained that the primary task of the Bishop is to promote unity among the people so that they may love God and follow his teachings, pointing out that “The Bishop’s mission is at the service of the unity of the Church and humanity.”

The Papal Nuncio who was the Principal Consecrator, discouraged divisions in the Church stressing that “If the Church is divided, the society cannot stand united” and urged the faithful to collaborate with the new Bishop for the unity of the Diocese.

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Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Most Reverend Ignatius Ayau Kaigama who spoke on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, promised to stand by the new Bishop and the Diocese of Katsina-Ala urging him to bring his talents to bear on the Nigerian Church.

Most Reverend Dugu in his acceptance speech, appreciated God and thanked the Holy Father, Pope Francis for finding him worthy of appointment.

He acknowledged the sacrifices of his predecessor, late Bishop Peter Adoboh in laying a foundation for the Diocese and pledged to work hard to sustain the legacies of tending the flock with dedication.

Also speaking, the Bishop of Gboko Diocese, Most Reverend William Avenya thanked Pope Francis for the opportunity to oversee the Diocese of Katsina-Ala as Apostolic Administrator.

Bishop Avenya also commended Governor Ortom for what he described as the Governor’s “Wonderful accompaniment with the Church”, saying the Governor animated the work and has provided a functional vehicle for the new Bishop.

The Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Professor James Iorzua Ayatse in a goodwill message appreciated God and Pope Francis for appointing a new Bishop for Katsina-Ala and counselled his subjects to support the new Bishop in prayers to succeed; expressing the hope that God would use the Bishop to restore peace and development in the Sankera axis of the State.

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Top government officials among them the Senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial district, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly and PDP Governorship Candidate, Engr. Titus Uba, Secretary to State Government, Professor Anthony Ijohor, SAN as well as 26 Catholic Bishops across the country graced the event.

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Religion

Why we are Committed to Worship of Osun goddess—Foreign Devotees

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Some foreign devotees at the just concluded  Osun-Osogbo festival have expressed  belief in the sanctity of the Osun deity, saying the annual fiesta offers opportunity for worship through the sacred grove.

The tourists, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the grand finale of the festival in Osogbo, said the event gave them joy and a sense of belonging in the worship of the Osun goddess.

A Brazilian, Mrs Regina Alberto, said she was in Osun specifically for the Osun-Osogbo festival as a devotee of the Yoruba Orisa worship.

NAN reports that Alberto is a member of the Odudua Worldwide Group, a Diaspora socio-cultural organisation committed to the promotion of Yoruba culture, tradition and worship.

NAN also reports that no fewer than 50 members of the group were sighted at the sacred grove during Friday’s grand finale.

Alberto, who said this was  her second outing at the festival,  however, said that  her group had been coming for the festival since 2011.

“I am from Brazil. I am with Odudua Brazil, which is part of Odudua Worldwide Group.

“This is my second year of coming for the festival, but my group had been coming since 2011.

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“The Osun-Osogbo festival is very important to us because in Brazil we praise Orisa diety and being here and seeing everyone praying and worshipping, just like we try to do is so emotional.

“The energy is so powerful , it is really hard not to cry, ” she said.

Alberto said the understanding of her group  that the source and worship point of the Osun goddess was located at the Osun-Osogbo grove spurred its interest in the festival.

She said the festival gave members of the visiting devotees joy to be in company of indigenous devotees and others from around the world to celebrate the Osun goddess.

Also speaking with NAN, a German, Johnnnes Wollbold, said he was in Osun to study Yoruba culture and take part in the Osun-Osogbo festival.

Wollbold said the study  would give him a comprehensive report on the lives and nature of Osogbo people.

Wollbold, who said he came from Weimer Germany, said he was working in partnership with Jungle Communication Centre(JCC) to study African philosophy vis-a-vis Yoruba culture.

He said he had been to Nigeria three times in the 90s but  took part in Osun-Osogbo festival in 1995.

“I am here to study Yoruba /West African culture, the music, drumming, dancing and African philosophy.

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“The Yoruba culture is not individualistic, often the Yoruba celebrate together and the Osun festival brings people together.

“The festival afforded me the opportunity to understand how the Yoruba people   mix together, their contact with nature and  harmony between nature and humans, and  not forgetting their roots.

“The Osun festival is joy of life. I see people in their everyday life, joyful and I love the celebration.

” I like the Yoruba people. They are friendly. They are not individualistic . As a German-European , I will, however, like them to stay peaceful.

“There is a senseless war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine which is crazy, so I will advise Nigerians to learn to settle their differences and stay peaceful,” he said. (NAN)

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Delta Transports 312 Christian Pilgrims to Jordan

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No fewer than 312 Christian pilgrims from Delta were on Monday transported to the Holy land, Jordan in Israel through the Port Harcourt International Airport.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev. Yakubu Pam, at the departure briefing in Asaba, warned the intending pilgrims against absconding.
The NCPC boss, represented by the Director of Mobilization, Mr Chris Udegbunam, lauded Gov.

Ifeanyi Okowa for his consistency in the sponsorship of Christians in the state on pilgrimage.
Pam congratulated the intending pilgrims for their level of preparedness both spiritually and physically to embark on the journey of faith.
According to him, ”it is the policy of the commission to achieve zero absconding of pilgrims in the Holy land.”
He, therefore enjoined not to abscond, adding, ”he commission frowns seriously at it and would do everything humanly possible to discourage it.

Okowa, represented by the Commissioner, Bureau for Special Duties, Johnbull Edema, urged the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state and not bring disrepute to the state government.
He said that as pilgrims they need to conduct themselves in a manner befitting and worthy of Christians.

Okowa said that the exercise would offer opportunity for the pilgrims to visit historical biblical sites they read in the Bible and to draw them closer to God.

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He urged them to pray and seek the face of God for the peace, unity and development of the state and county particularly as the nation gradually approaches the 2023 General Elections.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Delta State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Most Rev. Cyril Odutemu, admonished the intending pilgrims to conduct themselves decently while in the Holy land.
He warned them against unruly behavior in the Holy land and advised them not to do anything that would undermine the security of the host country.
Also, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Apostle Samuel Okoh, charged the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the state and Nigeria.(NAN)

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Soludo urges Churches to Promote Unity for Healthy Nation 

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Charles Soludo, the Governor of Anambra, has called on the churches to have spirit of ecumenism to build a healthy nation.

Soludo made the call at a Holy Eucharistic Thanksgiving Services for His Grace, Most Revd Alexander Ibezim, on his 60th birthday in Awka on Sunday.

Newsmen report that ecumenism is the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches.

Newsmen report that the thanksgiving service was a wrap up of a week-long ceremony to mark Ibezim’s 60th birthday, three years of Archiepiscopacy, 12 years of Episcopacy, amongst others.

Soludo commended the giant strides of the cleric of the Anglican Diocese of Awka, who has through his 38 years in God’s vineyard, 12 years of Episcopacy and three years of Archiepiscopacy, improved the society.

The governor said that if churches could promote ecumenism, irrespective of their denominations, it would be a link bridge to enthrone peace, unity and progress of the nation.

He appealed to the churches not to relent but to always pray fervently for the nation’s unity and development.

Soludo said that the state would not be tired of fighting insecurity, urging the people to join hands with the state government to fight insecurity in the state.

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“There is nothing like unknown gunmen, the gunmen are known; you should report any suspicious character around you and save the state pains of insecurity,” he said.

The governor said that Anambra would be 31 years of its creation on Aug. 27, assuring the people that his administration would make schools, road network and other basic amenities, its priority.

“I will not celebrate now, but will celebrate when poverty is chased out of the state by making every one economically fit to fend for his family.

“When the work of seen  growth and development is rooted in all sectors of Anambra’s economy,” he said.

In a sermon, Most Revd Henry Ndukuba, the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, encouraged Ibezim to stand strong in the things of God and ensure that his light do not dim.

Ndukuba, also urged religious leaders and the laity to give quality support to the cleric for him to fulfill his calling into the vineyard of God.

He urged all political leaders present to serve responsibly, saying they are to give account of their stewardship.

Ndukuba urged the faithful to support the church to build a healthy society through its developmental projects in Awka Diocese.

The Archbishop said that over 10 projects were inugrauated and dedicated including, Mary Summer Vocational Institute Awka; Millennium Nursing School; Renaissance Modern Polytechnic,Mbaukwu; Anglican Village; Faculty of Law, Paul’s University; Chapel of Redemption, among others.

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“All these projects would not only offer quality education to youths, but also wealth creation and spiritual growth of the people; it is a noble action by the diocese,” he said.

In his remarks, Ibezim assured the church that he would not relent in evangelism and social development as a way to promote the gospel till it gets to nooks and crannies of the state.

He said that the years spent in the vineyard of God and his 28 years of progressive marriage union “encourages him to serve God more”.

Also, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, attended the programme, where he urged the faithful to always pray for oneness of the nation as spiritual leaders.

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