Newly inaugurated officers of the Lekki Deanery Laity Council have been charged to serve God and emulate the Lord Jesus Christ in their daily lives through the act of giving. The charge was given by Very Rev. Msgr. Francis Ogunmodede, Episcopal Vicar, Lekki Region, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, during the 2022 maiden Lekki Deanery Day celebration and inauguration of the Lekki Deanery Laity Assembly held last Sunday, June 12, 2022 at Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, Lagos. Emphasising on the role of the laity, Msgr. Ogunmodede said the people need to rediscover the vocation of the laity, as they play an important role in the Church, such as evangelization.
He said: “Simply put, the laity, not just the priests can bring the love of God to all people. ’Lay people have a real vocation that is an essential mission in the Church. The word ‘mission’ should not be taken lightly. Understanding that they have a mission even as lay persons is comforting. God still wants them to serve.” He said that the laity, by their very vocation, seeks the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. “Lay persons are unique because they hold a special place in the function of human society. They can affect laws, cultural attitudes, and social systems in the many places they live and work. The laity has an influence because of their engagement in secular activities, which can transform their ordinary work into apostolic work that touches lives and changes hearts. Very Rev. Msgr. Pascal Nwaezeapu, Dean, Lekki Deanery and Parish Priest, Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki, said the Catholic lay person is greatly empowered in the Church. “At the end of every Mass, Catholics are dismissed and told to go for the missionary purpose of sharing the gospel with those they encounter in their lives. The Church places a lot of trust on this happening because the laity is the Church whose mission from Christ is to love and spread the gospel. By tilling the soil through their prayer and action the lay person assists in preparing the world to better receive Jesus’ message of peace, love, and justice.
Msgr. Nwaezeapu decried the increasing level of insecurity in the country, expressing sadness over the gruesome attack and killing of worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, where many were killed and some wounded by suspected bandits. The cleric described the incident as ugly, cruel and a wakeup call for the Church to beef up security, in order to ensure the safety of people in Church. Also speaking on the occasion, Rev. Fr. Dominic Onuoha, Parish Priest, Ave Maria, Catholic Church, Lekki while sensitising the people on their electoral responsibilities urged them to register and get their PVCs so as to vote in the coming elections. Fr. Onuoha said the collection of PVC is a step and part of the efforts to ensure that all electorate who are yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), do so before the 2023 general elections. He said: “The development of the nation’s electoral processes should be a collective responsibility of every citizen, as voting during election to elect the nation’s political officers is the civic responsibility of eligible Nigerians and the only thing that qualifies the electorate to vote during election is the PVC.
“So, I enjoin those that have registered for PVCs, but are yet to collect them, to do so as a matter of importance. On June 12 and Democracy Day celebration, he said: “The patriotism and peaceful struggle of June 12 should serve as a guide in electing new leaders and holding them accountable, now and in future.” Ejiro Imafidon, Public Relations Officer, Lekki Deanery Laity, said the laity has an active role of their own in the life and action of the Church, adding that their action within the Church community is so necessary that without it, the apostolate of the cleric will frequently be unable to obtain its full effulgence. Imafidon said Lay people in the Catholic Church are still expected to strive to embody the teachings of the Church and to share the gift of the Catholic faith.
She said: “Lay men and women should be active members of their parishes and in the greater world. Lay people can act as everyday ministers of the faith, bringing the principles of Christianity and Catholicism to work, school, and home. “Lay people can also take part in some of the sacred practice of the Church by being altar servers, lectors, and lay ministers who can help distribute the Holy Eucharist during Mass and bring Holy Communion to shut-ins and those in hospital.” She expressed happiness on the occasion of the Laity inauguration, “So, we just inaugurated the Lekki Denary Laity Assembly today. We have a mother body.” Highpoints of the event included Edo, Igbo, Hausa and mixed cultural dance, as well as presentation of awards to some outstanding laity members and chairperson.