9 November 2012

Nigeria: 100 Years - Pope Benedict Lauds Owerri Catholic Diocese

The Catholic Pontiff, Pope Benedict the 16th, has applauded the Owerri Arch-diocese for marking 100 years since Catholicism arrived the former province.

Similarly, the Pope also commended Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, for his developmental strides in the state.

Speaking through the Prefect General of the Congregation of Evangelism, His Eminence Fernando Cardinal Filoni, the Pope described the state as the heart of Catholic evangelism in Nigeria.

Filoni, who is representing the Pope at the week-long centenary celebration of the Arch Diocese of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, expressed satisfaction over the tremendous transformation that has taken place in the state especially in the area of evangelism and human development.

He applauded the significance of the centenary celebration, pointing out that it was a seed sowed 100 years ago, at a particular point in the state that had grown into an Archdiocese.

Filoni commended Okorocha, for capital and human development in the state, saying governors are those who must in the name of God, exercise their power for the good of the people.

He assured that the church must continue to support and pray for his government and the nation for justice and peaceful co-existence even as he thanked him for his hospitality and provisions of security.

Also, the Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, also thanked Filoni for visiting the state for the centenary celebration, of the Catholic faithful in Owerri province.

He described his recent appointment as a cardinal as God's continued calling upon his life, and a decision of the Pope as led by God.

Responding, Okorocha thanked Filoni for visiting the state, stating that it was a blessing to the state.

He used the occasion to appeal to the Pope representative to call for a conference of political and religious leaders for effective development of the people and to address and to address global leadership challenges, pointing out that such step would go a long way towards achieving the desired leadership that will help the society.

The governor envisage a scenario where people's culture should be a synergy with religion, pointing out his observation that people like worshiping God in their own tradition, culture, norms and values.

Okorocha decried the spate of Western culture spillage in the country are called on the Pope to put a ban on pornography and nude clubs which were ravaging the society, noting that the Catholic Church was a worthy partner in the state, especially in the area of ensuring quality leadership, truth, and people's welfare, and commended the Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Arch Bishop Anthony Obinna, for his outstanding contribution in that regard.

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