Mrs. Chizube Igboanugo, Chairperson, Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Council speaks with NETA NWOSU on the annual Laity Week celebration, Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Courier, challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues. Excerpts.
The theme for the 2021 Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Week was “ The word of God: Dependable light and hope of survival in Adversity. What informed this theme?
The Theme was chosen by the National Executive Council to reflect the realities of our time.
What is the essence of the Laity Week? How has previous editions enhanced the growth of the lay faithful and the Laity Councils at the Deanery and Parish Levels?
Laity week is when we celebrate the approval of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria which was on the 16 of March, 1973. So our Laity week celebration must fall within that period. We use the opportunity to recognize our Clergy, Religious and Lay people of our Archdiocese who have served God and His people in one way or the other in their various Parishes and the Archdiocese as a whole. It could be through giving their resources or their time and talents. It has made people to put in their time, to become more involved in their Parishes and in the activities of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese. So, the essence of the Laity week is celebration of recognition for dedication to service of God and his people. It is the celebration that makes us to remember that we have a lot to offer in our individual ways to the growth of the Church.
Please share the experiences of the celebration of this week’s edition at the Parish and Archdiocesan levels?
During the week the Parishes treated different topics handled by the various Organisations and Lay groups in the Church. It started on Monday the 15th of March to end today, the 21st of March. At the Archdiocesan level it was a well-organized event that brought all the Deaneries, the Organizations and Societies together to celebrate. It took place on the 14th of March. It was a tasking but a joyous occasion for us the lay faithful. We all look forward to coming together every year for this celebration although the COVID-19 pandemic has made this year’s event not to be as elaborate as we used to have it.
Kindly tell us about the Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Courier? What are the primary objectives of the Laity Courier? What is the key editorial focus of this year’s edition?
The Courier magazine of the Archdiocesan Laity Council is published every year and launched at the opening ceremony of the Laity week celebration. So many articles are included in the magazine besides the goodwill messages friends and well-wishers put up to celebrate their friends and loved ones. The primary objective is to educate the people on issues concerning our faith. We also add topics that can help in our daily living written by experienced men and women. The focus of the editorial this year is on the Word of God: Dependable light and hope of survival in Adversity. The Magazine contains so many topics related to this. These were taken from the Laity week manual as published by the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria for this year’s Laity week celebration.
How many Catholics did you honour in this year’s edition of the Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Week? What are your criteria for the selection of the Awardees? Please share the feedbacks.
We honoured 86 Catholics this year. We have four categories of award:
(1) The Clergy and Religious
(2) Archdiocesan award
(4) Organizations and Societies. From the Deaneries, Organizations and Societies the criteria are selfless service and those who give by doing. We try as much as possible to ensure that no one receives the award for a second time. At the Archdiocesan Level, we ask some of the Deaneries and individuals to give us those who go by giving. People have always shown their joy and support to the award giving ceremony and many look forward to it. The feedback has been positive.
How is the Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Council coping with the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic? Any advice for the lay faithful?
The Laity week manual summarised our experiences and how we can cope relying on the word of God. With strong faith in God, we can only hold on to His words and be assured that this too will pass. To all the Lay faithful, I can only ask that we continue to keep the faith, to hold on strongly to God and all his promises. Let us know that truly, this too will pass. What is your message to the Lay faithful at lent? May our faith, our sacrifices and our works of mercy not bring us condemnation but mercy and forgiveness from God our creator through Christ.