The faces of Abakaliki Catholic faithful were lit with smiles and echoes of joy as they celebrated with other Nigerian Catholic faithful the feast of Mary Queen of Nigeria on the eve of Nigeria’s independence anniversary, 1st of October 2019, which was launched with the annual rosary carnival.
All roads led to St. Theresa’s Cathedral Abakaliki as they trooped out in their numbers from their various parishes (especially those in the urban areas) in a solemn Rosary procession, and proclaimed the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Nigeria.
Regardless of the mixed feelings that seem to have greeted the 59th anniversary of Nigerians independence, the Nigerian Catholic faithful were not drowned in the melancholic ambience that seemed to have enveloped everyone, as they celebrated the feast of Mary, Queen of Nigeria, who remains a beacon of hope and a great intercessor of our country Nigeria amidst the whirlwind of turbulence sweeping through the country at the moment.
The rosary procession from the different parishes in Abakaliki town to St Theresa’s Cathedral Church Abakaliki began at 1 pm, and all converged at the Cathedral at 2:30 pm. The arrival was followed by the Divine Mercy Prayer at 3 pm. This was immediately followed by the crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the offering of flowers.
Consecration to the immaculate heart of Mary followed suit at 3:20 and then a concelebrated mass that was presided over by Rev. Fr. Chidi John Obasi, which began at exactly 3:30 PM
In his introduction, Fr. Chidi thanked God for the gift of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who according to him played a huge and active role in our salvation.
He enjoined all to implore the help of Mary, the Queen of Nigeria, as our country marks her 59th year anniversary.
He said, “A look at the situation of our country spells out the fact that things are not moving as they should, ranging from bad governance; tribalism and sectionalism and other nefarious acts”
He enjoined all to keep Nigeria in their prayers, so that through the intercession of the blessed mother, that Nigeria is delivered from the shackles of the evil one and for the grace to realize that we are one.
During the homily, Rt. Monsignor Anaeto Jerome highlighted the fact that it was in the process of the economy of salvation that Mary came when God sought to reconcile man to himself after the fall of Adam and Eve.
So from all eternity, God had prepared Mary, thus she remained stainless and a perpetual virgin, and as such God united in her what he separated in other women, and that is virginity and motherhood.
He said, “God filled Mary with graces, to enable her to be the mother of Christ, and after her good services, she was assumed into heaven.”
He enjoined all to be faithful in saying their rosary with the required humility, and frequent the confessional, thereby following the footprints of the modern-day saints like three little children of Fatima; Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta; and Pope JohnPaul II, who said Chaplet is a compendium of prayers, so that at the end like St. Paul we shall say “…I have fought the good fight, what remains is the unfading crown of glory”
At the end of the mass, Fr. Daniel Agara thanked everyone for making out time to come for the year’s rosary carnival and reminded all that the rosary carnival has officially launched in the October devotion.
At the end of the mass all dispersed happily amidst joyful cheers to their different homes.