The Catholic Bishop Of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Michael Nnachi Okoro, had on Saturday the 12th of October, confirmed about 232 candidates who have been prepared for the sacrament of confirmation, at St. Theresa’s Cathedral Abakaliki.
A solemn holy mass which began at exactly 9.am, presided over by the bishop started with his introductory remarks during which he thanked everyone who made time out of their busy schedule to grace the ceremony.
He also reminded the candidates who were to receive the sacrament of confirmation of the profundity and the necessity of the sacrament which they were about to receive.
He highlighted the fact that it was the same Holy Spirit which they had received at baptism that they are receiving again, but in this case, they are to be strengthened and at the same time be fully commissioned to spread and defend the gospel just like the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, for they will be filled by the Holy Spirit.
He went further to intimate them on the need to be strong in faith, for the sacrament they were about to receive would confirm them as solid Christians and true soldiers of Christ who by their lives would defend and live out the faith.
The bishop thanked everyone especially the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) teachers for their efforts in preparing the candidates that were confirmed.
He pointed out that the yearly increase in the number of those to receive the sacrament of confirmation is evidence of their relentless effort.
He also thanked the Cathedral Laity Council for their dedication in ensuring the smooth running of the Cathedral Parish and for Pope Francis canonizes five new saints, including John Henry Newman.
During the homily, Rev. Fr. Ifeanyi Ogodo said that the sacrament of confirmation marked the apex of the sacraments of Christian initiation in the lives of the candidates to be confirmed, that in line with the teachings and tradition of the Catholic Church, the candidates can now be said to have come of age, when once they have received the sacrament of confirmation.”
He elucidated that the sacrament of confirmation bestows many graces and the gifts of the Holy Spirit on one who receives it.
Fr. Ogodo said, “Our brethren, with the reception of the sacrament of confirmation you have been given a new mandate to defend the gospel, and this sacrament will be very much useful in your lives in the following ways.”
“First, it will give you a new strength to carry out your duties more effectively as Christians, and secondly, it will foster a closer relationship between you and God. Thus in living in the world, you will not be of the world.”
He urged everyone, especially those who have already received this sacrament that the occasion presents an opportunity for them to rethink and re-examine themselves, to know if they have been true to their calling and to the faith, if not, they should make every effort to live up to their call.
After the homily, the rites of the sacrament of confirmation began with the bishop calling all to renew their baptismal vows, of rejecting Satan and all his works. This was followed by the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the candidates to be confirmed, after which the candidates proceeded to the altar with their candles, and their foreheads anointed with the oil of chrism.
At the end of the mass, Very. Rev. Monsignor, Alphonsus. O. Iwueke appreciated everyone who attended.
The First Vice Chairman, St.Theresa Cathedral council, Engr. Victor Afoke (KSM) who presented an address of welcome to the bishop, intimated him on the state of affairs in the parish.
He appreciated the bishop for the two new priests he posted to the cathedral; Frs. Malachy Okonkwo and Marcel Ezenwa and gave the bishop a token on behalf of the Cathedral Council to support the work he is doing in the diocese.