CSN Pastoral Affairs office produces Braille Sunday Lectionary, presents to CBCN
Padre Mike Nsikak Umoh
One of the highlights of the recently concluded plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Orlu, Imo State, was the presentation of the Sunday Lectionary in Braille language to the CBCN President, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, by the Director of Pastoral Affairs of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Very Rev Fr. Michael Ayanleke Banjo.
In his introductory remark at the presentation ceremony on September 15, 2022, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, Fr. Banjo recalled how he was deeply moved when two visually impaired young men visited his office to register their displeasure with the Church for neglecting them in the scheme of things. According to Fr. Banjo, “they expressed the fact that they are learned, able to read and would love to participate in the ministry of Lectors, but the enabling environment for them to do so (in the Church) is absent.”
This was the beginning of the challenging but fulfilling process which finally produced the fruit, the Braille Lectionary, that was presented to the Bishops of Nigeria.
The President of the Conference, in his response, commended Fr. Banjo, and his team, for their dedication to duty which is evident from the production of the Sunday Lectionary in Braille language, coming shortly after the launch of the Book of the Prayers of the Faithful specially for use in the Church in Nigeria by the same office.
The Archbishop therefore encouraged all his fellow Bishops in the Conference to fully embrace the laudable pastoral tool for the good of the disadvantaged in the society, noting that “our baptised brothers and sisters with disabilities, including the visually impaired, are members of Christ’s faithful to whom the Church must give opportunity to participate, as much as they can, in the exercise of their ecclesiastical ministries.” While also pointing to how related this contribution is to the on-going drive for Synodality in the Church, the Archbishop opined that because “in the Church … those who are customarily left at the margin of society … are to be embraced as active partakers in the life of the Church … it is, therefore not accidental that this publication … is coming at a time when the universal Church is dwelling on the theme of Synodality.”
Furthermore, Archbishop Ugorji urged “all members of the Church, especially the pastors, who have been entrusted with the care of souls, to do everything in their power to ensure that in their respective communities, persons with disabilities receive adequate pastoral attention and, since they are sharers in the priestly, prophetic and royal offices of Christ, are provided with ample opportunities to partake in the Church’s ministries as active agents.”
Copies of the Sunday Lectionary in Braille language (Year A) are available at the Bookshop of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja. Send a message to 09060006198 to order a copy for your parish and institution.