The Diocesan pilgrimage to Okija on the Saturday 6th of October, 2018 was a ground breaking event tailored to grace with streams of events, talks, and prayer sessions. The programme kicked off with the arrival of the different representatives from all the Parishes in Nnewi Diocese and the recitation of the twenty decade rosary prayer at exactly 9:15am.
At 11:05am, Rev. Fr. Cajetan Obiekezie, a priest of Awka Diocese engaged the whole faithful with his thrilling and catchy talk titled, ‘Our Faith in Jesus Christ: The Word Made Flesh’. He pointed out that our character speaks much about who we are. Our faith is what determines our action; therefore beliefs are rules for action. He stated that the Fulani herdsmen, for example, believe in the killing of fellow human beings and strictly carry out this doctrine without compromise. This is to show that what they believe in is what makes them kill. Pope John Paul II’s Ecclesia in Africa expresses that ‘our faith should be our life’. The things we do, say, live out daily give an inkling to what we believe, he pointed out.
The priest continued by saying that our faith is in Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, which dwelt amongst us. It is this same word that give us life, and anyone who hears these words and act on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock (Mt. 7:24).
According to him our lack of faith in Jesus Christ is the reason for the many of our life’s moral and social misconducts ranging from faithlessness, waywardness, lying, cheating and so on, saying that, steadfastness and witness to the gospel assures us of some victory. This is because this word of God made alive and active is what strengthens our courage to cast out demons, hold serpents and not be bitten by them, heal sicknesses and get answers through faith to our daily prayers.
The talk ended at around 12:07pm and Msgr. Patrick Ezeobata was called up by the Bishop to articulate the whole of the faithful’s sentiments of gratitude to the lead preacher of the day. The holy hour/Adoration commenced immediately after that. The Holy Mass which celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, started at 1:15pm with the Bishop, Most Rev. Hilary Paul Odili Okeke presiding over the Eucharistic celebration. The host of the other priests joined in concelebration.
Msgr. Hypolite Adigwe delivered the homily for the mass. He was careful to comment that the rosary is an instrument of prayer given to us by Mary herself. The question he posed at the beginning of his sermon was; of the rosary, Stations of the Cross and the mass, which is the greatest prayer? Mass of course, he continued is the greatest prayer amongst the host of others. Therefore, our praying the rosary only leads us to where Jesus Christ is, which is in the mass.
The rosary serves as a channel or route taking us to Jesus. The most important aspect of the rosary therefore is not the lips activity of voicing out loud its wordings. It is rather our active involvement and ability to engage in mental prayer that is the greatest aspect of our praying the rosary.
Mental prayer amongst other things takes greater part in the activity of praying the rosary. This also extends to living out in our day to day life activities that which we pray in our rosary.
After the mass, Rev. Fr. Innocent Ofiaeli, the rector of the pilgrimage centre, expressed his hearty thanks to all who made it to the centre, the clergies together with the Bishop. The event came to a close at around 2:45pm.