…Inducts over 3,000 new members
By Constaincia Uruakpa
Catholic men have been tasked, to re-commit themselves to the mission of living exemplary lives, by modeling themselves into good fathers, in the society, and exhibit values to make heaven. The charge was given by Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, on the occasion of the 2021 Convention of the Catholic Men Organisation Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese, with the theme, “Men, rise and defend your faith”, held recently at St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Lagos. While rejoicing with the Catholic men on their annual convention, Archbishop Martins commended them for the support they offer to the Church and society at large. He said: “We rejoice and celebrate with you on this remarkable event, and we use this medium to express our gratitude to Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organisation Nigeria, for the support they offer towards the Church and society.
While we thank God for the life and achievements of the organization, we encourage you not to rest on your oars, but use this period of your convention to re-commit yourself to the mission of living exemplary lives, modeling yourself into good fathers, in our society, and the values that make for heaven.” Speaking on COVID-19, and its adverse effect on the Church, the Archbishop urged the men to take advantage of their convention, to fan into flame, the gift of faith and renew their zeal for the Lord’s house “The world as we can see is battling a global pandemic, and this has affected our lives in almost every way. Not only are we now witnessing the adverse effect on how we practice our faith, we now have to deal with the decline in Mass attendance and the lack of active participation in liturgical activities. “I urge you dear Catholic men to take advantage of this convention to fan into flame, the gift of faith and renew your zeal for the Lord’s house.
As we battle the pandemic, let us always remember the assurance of Christ, who said in Matt.11:28-30, ‘Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest”, he said. In his homily, Very Rev. Msgr. Anthony Obanla, Chancellor, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, and representative of Archbishop Martins, said the 2021 CMO convention is significant, as it falls on the memorial of St. Augustine, and the day before, the memorial of St. Monica, who nurtured her son to know and love God. He said: “The convention this year is important because it falls on the memorial of St. Augustine, August 28. And yesterday, the Church celebrated the memorial of Monica, his mother, a mother who nurtured her son in the right way, to know and love God.
” Speaking on the importance of family, and how God chose that his son, Jesus be born into the family of Joseph and Mary, Msgr. Obanla urged the men to take care of the family God has entrusted to them, just like Joseph took care of his own family. He charged the men to rise and defend their faith, especially in the face of the turbulence that is being witnessed all over the world. Very Rev. Fr. Francis Ike, Archdiocesan Chaplain of CMO, while commending the Catholic men, said: “What a man can do, a woman can do better, and CMO, the Catholic Men Organisation can do it best. “I think in the history of the Archdiocese of Lagos, this will be one of the events that Catholic men will gather like this in their great numbers. In his Special Convention Lecture, Rev. Fr. Vincent Ubili, harped on the theme of the Convention “Men, rise and defend your faith”, as he advised the men to be true fathers and leaders of their homes. He added that a father, who is weak spiritually, will produce spiritually weak children.
He said: “The father must be seen to be upright spiritually. His spiritual uprightness will help him to know God, and keep his (God) rules, and the family will be able to see God through him and emulate him. “Train your children in the way of the Lord, so that when they grow, they will not depart from it. So, there is need to send them to Catholic Schools, to Church, to learn morals from the Church as they grow. This is the only way a Catholic man can rise and defend his faith, by making sure he starts from the home front before going out to defend his faith in the public. Barr. Vincent Otonio, President, Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organisation decried the worsening state of things in the country, as he urged Christians to fight against evil in the society. He disclosed that with the challenges confronting the nation and world at large, especially COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken every space with various variants still emerging, the convention platform for 2021 is dedicated to praying for families and the nation.
He said as Christians, the men should defend their faith, and as pillars of the Church, they should be the fathers that they are called to be. The event which drew over 6000 men in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos also saw the induction of over 3800 men from the various deaneries that make up the Archdiocese. Eight Deanery Chaplains were in attendance. Some of the events witnessed during the convention include three hours of electrifying praise and worship, which the CMO members sang and danced to, led by two Catholic Gospel Musicians, Phillipraise from St. Joseph Catholic Church, Igbogila, Ipaja Deanery and Sister Blessing Ada Jesus Okeke from Ikorodu Deanery. The Convention ended with Holy Mass co-celebrated by Msgr. Anthony Obanla, Fr. Francis Ike LACMON Chaplain, and seven other Deanery Chaplains. During the Mass, eleven new CMO Parishes were inaugurated and given their CMO meeting altars, as they welcomed them into the fold.