Home News ARCHBISHOP AUGUSTINE O. AKUBEZE’S WELCOME ADDRESS AT THE OPENING MASS OF THE 3RD NATIONAL PASTORAL CONGRESS
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ARCHBISHOP AUGUSTINE O. AKUBEZE’S WELCOME ADDRESS AT THE OPENING MASS OF THE 3RD NATIONAL PASTORAL CONGRESS

ARCHBISHOP AUGUSTINE O. AKUBEZE’S WELCOME ADDRESS AT THE OPENING MASS OF THE 3RD NATIONAL PASTORAL CONGRESS ON 9TH OF NOVEMBER 2022 AT ST. PAUL CATHOLIC CHURCH BENIN CITY

  1. On behalf of the bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and the lay faithful of the Ecclesiastical Province of Benin City, I welcome all the faithful to this 3rdNational Pastoral Congress holding in this ancient city of Benin, known for its hospitality and preservation of culture. With esteem respect I welcome His Eminences, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Peter Cardinal Okpaleke. With heart full of joy, I salute the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, His Grace, Most Rev Lucius Ugorji and his principal officers together with the Secretary General and all the members of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria. I welcome in a special way, Your Graces, and My Lord Bishops. I greet all priests and religious here present. Government officials, Political office holders, Traditional rulers, religious leaders of other faith, leaders of various lay apostolate groups and societies, catechist, liturgical functionaries, Knights and Ladies, security personnel, press crew, and everyone who today have come to join us in this Eucharistic celebration of the opening of the Pastoral Congress.
  2. The delegates during this Pastoral Congress will be reflecting on the theme:For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.The Church in Nigeria at the various local levels in response to the call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been engaged in listening to each other without censoring the opinion of anyone because no one has the monopoly of the Holy Spirit. I hope and pray that one of the fruits of this Congress will be the active participation of our faithful in civil politics. We pray at this Eucharistic celebration for a Nigerian Government at all levels, that will listen to the cries of her citizens; a government that will listen to the pains and plights of the people, and come to the help of the many victims of terrorism, flood, and poverty. Come next year, 2023, we will be electing our leaders. Let us listen to them when they come to make their electoral promises, and let us match their words with their past actions and make informed decisions with our Voter’s Card that will lead to a leader who consider every Nigeria as his brother and sister; a leader who has the capacity and will power to take us out of poverty and lead us to prosperity.
  3. I welcome all of you to this Pastoral Congress where we have come to listen to each other. We have as our guide the national synthesis of the collective reflections of the various Dioceses. In the next few days, we will be chatting new path for the growth of the Church in Nigeria through the product of this Pastoral Congress. It is with joyful heart that I once again welcome you all to this Eucharistic celebration where our differences melt away because we all share in the One Bread, the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. We should pray and work for a Church that reflects the Eucharist we celebrate, that is; becoming a Eucharistic Church. It is only a Eucharistic Church that knows what communion means, it is only a Eucharistic Church that knows what participation means, it is only a Eucharistic Church that can fully embrace the mission of Christ. A Eucharistic Church in Nigeria will be an agent of social and economic transformation. Therefore, let us immerse ourselves in this Eucharistic celebration so that we can be effective participants in a Pastoral Congress that is set to help us journey together in our common search for new ways of evangelization.
  4. We pray that our mother Mary will be with us to teach us how to do whatever Christ tells us to do through this Congress in Benin. Once again, you are all welcome to this National Pastoral Congress.

God bless you!!!

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