Catholic Bishops have been urged to emulate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by always stooping their heads in humility and gratitude to God for the overwhelming love he (God) has bestowed upon their lives and vocation. The charge was given by Most Rev. Anselm Umoren, Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, while delivering the homily during Mass at the 2023 Second Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Abuja. Speaking on the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Joseph, Bishop Umoren asked the bishops to look back at where they were coming from, in order to appreciate God’s goodness to them, in spite of their unworthiness.
He said God simply chose the bishops out of his own volition, irrespective of their lineage, adding that there was no divinity in their stars or genealogies, neither did their educational qualification or social standing privilege them for divine election. He said: “When we look at where we are coming from, we must inquire like the Psalmist, ‘Who am I, Lord, that you are mindful of me?’ (Ps. 8.4). Like David, the man after God’s own heart, we must bend our heads in humility, and with gratitude for the overwhelming grace of God in our lives ask: ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?’ (2 Sam. 7.18).
“Like Mary, we must address a spirit-filled song of praise to Him, for he has looked upon us his lowly ones; he has done great things for us, and holy is his Name (cf. Lk. 1.48, 49).” On commemoration of the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Umoren told the bishops that the celebration is an encouragement to them that God has not given up on them no matter the challenges confronting them. He added that through the celebration, God has offered them an opportunity for renewal and fresh beginning. He said: “Therefore, we cannot afford not to turn to her (Mary) for guidance and direction in living out our divine vocation before God and his Church in the world, when we first heard the tiny little voice that said to each one of us, ‘follow me’.”