July 22, 2024
News Nigeria

FHLU annual meeting, seminar: “Be careful not to dangle between two gods in your apostolate, duties,” Bishop Gopep to participants 

In his homily at the opening Mass for the 2024 annual meeting and seminar of the Family and Human Life Unit, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) in Abuja, the Episcopal Chairman of the unit and Auxiliary Bishop of Minna, Most Rev. Sylvester Gopep, making reference to the reading at the Mass from the first Book of Kings, urged the participants to be very careful in their chosen apostolate and in carrying out their duties, so as not to conform to global demands, and begin to dangle between two gods like the people of Israel in the time of Prophet Elijah.

Admonishing all that the work of the family and human life unit is founded on the command of God, the homilist explained that the law of God is made to guide them, to unite them, and to save them. He advised them to serve with love just as Christ loved and lay down his life for that love.

“The law of God is made to guide us, to unite us, and to save us. The law of God is love, and it is wisdom for all of us. If you do not love yourself, you can not love someone else because you can not give what you do not have, so that love must come from within. God wants us to follow the way of his son, who taught us how to love. That is why he came to die for us. Any love that is not painful is not true love. You are here because of your diocese, and you have sacrificed to be here, and that is the sacrifice and love.”

In his remark at the opening Mass, Rev. Fr. Peter Babangida, on behalf of the Director, Department of Church and Society, CSN, Rev. Fr. Uche Obodoechina, welcomed the Bishop Chairman of the unit to the annual assembly. He congratulated the participants and commended them for the work they do in upholding the values and dignity of the family and human life. 

At the opening ceremony, which followed shortly after the Mass, the Secretary General of CSN, Rev Fr Zachariah Samjumi, welcomed and appreciated the Bishop Chairman for his dexterity in the unit since his appointment. He thanked the Secretary of the Family and Human Life Unit, CSN, Sr. Rosanna Emenusiobi, IHM, for her commitment, passion, and the tremendous work she is doing at the unit. He further welcomed all participants to the premises of the Catholic Secretariat and wished them fruitful deliberation and a happy stay. 

Reacting to the theme of the gathering, “The church as the conscience of the society amidst the current global trends,” Fr. Samjumi, expressed his happiness that they, in the family and human life unit, have seen the need to interrogate some of those global trends that are affecting the family life negatively and advised the priests and religious among them to get closer to the lay people, who will be more effective in taking on this fight for social sanity.

Furthermore, the Secretary of the FHLU, CSN, Sr. Rosanna Emenusiobi IHM, also reacting to the theme in her welcome address, emphasized that the family, as the cradle of society, is today being challenged by a host of forces, either internal or external, that militate against its flourishing. She explained that the chosen theme is to reflect on global practices that work against marriage and family, which are often projected in coded languages. 

“False concept of freedom rules the world today. We hear everywhere the slogans for individualism, autonomy, independence, and self-fulfillment, even in intimate things like sexuality. In addition to the false concept of freedom is globalization. Globalization imports not only products but also unethical values. A debased morality and a culture devoid of family values, like free unions, trial marriages, LGBTI, divorce, abortion, contraceptives, euthanasia, free sex, premarital and extramarital relationships, cohabitation, and hookups, are also imported.”

In his keynote address on “John Paul II’s Theology of the Body: Its Relevance and Application in the Current Global Trends,” Rev. Fr. Joseph Obada sued for ethical training, consciousness, and guidelines for all professionals, especially in the health sector, who deal directly with the human body. He explained that in as much as the human body is composed of the body, soul, and spirit, attention should not just be focused on the science of the body but also on the morality of the soul and the spirit. 

Other speakers at the seminar include Barr. Sonnie Ekwowusi, who spoke on the “Euphemism terminologies and praxis employed by the United Nations in promoting anti-life and anti-family policies and legislation in Africa,” Sr. Dr. Ignatia Okafor, IHM, who addressed the topic “Unveiling the hidden issues in the United Nations’Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’ advocacy,” Dr. Francis Achebe, who interrogated the “Infertility and new reproductive technologies (IVF): the church’s response,” and Rev. Fr. Dr. Courage Usunobun, who x-rayed “The United Nations’s LGBT+ advocacy in the light of the church’s teaching on the sacred nature of marriage.”

The annual meeting and seminar of the FHLU is a gathering of all diocesan coordinators and secretaries of the unit to deliberate and retrain them in their work and apostolate in protecting and maintaining family values and human dignity in line with the church’s social teachings.

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