- Preach the gospel of Christ in words and in deeds – Most Rev. Ayah
- Insist on quality over quantity in your membership drive – Fr. Okochi
- Infuse the Catholic values in whatever you do, even in public service – Fr. Samjumi
- Have a deep understanding of Catholic teachings and doctrine – Rt. Hon. Anyaeji
Most Rev. John Ayah, Episcopal Chairman on Laity and Bishop of Uyo Diocese has urged Catholic Knights to uphold the foremost task of preaching the gospel, through words and actions. According to him, in the absence of the priests, other lay faithful look up to knights of the Church for direction and action. The prelate made this assertion while delivering the homily at the Opening Mass of the inaugural national Joint All Catholic Knights Summit (JACKS), held recently at the St. Gabriel Chaplaincy in Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Abuja.
Bishop Ayah, said as Knights of the Church, they have tasks of the divine vocation of the priesthood of the people of God and are therefore, called to a great responsibility of preaching the gospel not just in words but through their actions, by the way they live their lives. He advised the Knights against allowing money and power to cause distraction among them, but to love like Christ, and always settle conflicts and crisis among themselves in the spirit of love and maturity.
The JACKS’ inaugural summit themed, “Collaboration in support and defense of the Catholic faith in Nigeria”, organised by the Department of Pastoral Agents of the CSN, had in attendance Knights and Ladies of St. Mulumba Nigeria (KSM), St. John International (KSJI), Knights of St. Columbus (KSC) and Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria. Rev. Fr. Zachariah Samjumi, Secretary General of CSN, while welcoming the Knights to the Summit at the Catholic Secretariat, urged them to initiate actions in defence of the Church, instead of waiting for the Bishops.
He charged them to infuse the Catholic values in whatever they do in life, even in areas of public service. In same vein, Rev. Fr. Augustine Okochi, Director of Pastoral Agents Department of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), enjoined the Catholic Knights to always place quality over quantity in their drive to admit new members into their respective Orders. Fr. Okochi said, “I would like to appeal to you to please always place quality over quantity in your membership drive.
I urge you to admit to your ranks, godly men and women of integrity and honour, men and women of good conscience and good morals, men and women who are loyal to the Mother Church and stand by her teachings to humanity.” Admonishing them on the need to manage their differences to better fulfil their mandate as salt of the earth and light of the world, the Pastoral Agents Director charged the Knights to go into the pastoral field as members of one family, filled with love for one another to become more effective evangelisers. Fr. Okochi expressed gratitude to the Knights for their services and immeasurable contributions to the development and growth of the Church in Nigeria and the society at large in the light of Catholic Social Teaching, and prayed for God’s reward upon their lives in this world and in the next.
Speaking also at the Summit, Rt. Hon. Otis Anyaeji, Chairman on the occasion, appreciated the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the CSN for organising the meeting to gather all Catholic Knights in Nigeria to meet minds, in defence of the Church. He stressed that as Knights of the Church, they should have a deep understanding of what it means to be a Catholic, its teachings and doctrine.
The opening ceremony which took place at the Resource Centre of CSN, also witnessed a keynote address by the Bishop Chairman for the Laity, Most Rev. John Ayah, Goodwill messages from the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), Catholic Men Organization (CMO), Catholic Women Organization (CWO), and CSN College of Knights and Ladies.
• With reports from CSN Media