It was a Carnival of Music and display of cultural heritage as the Melody Singers of Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki hosted the 12th edition of her Christmas Carol of Nine Lessons on Sunday 22nd December 2019 at the Residence of Chief Dr. Bestman Paul Anekwe, a.k.an Ochiagha Jesus.
In his opening remarks of the Holy Mass to mark the 2019 Christmas Carol of Nine Lessons, the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Okoro, represented by the Cathedral Administrator, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Alphonsus Iwueke described music as the food of the soul.
He expressed satisfaction with the organizers of the event and prayed to God to sustain their endeavors.
The homilist, Msgr. Jerome Anaeto, charged Christians to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and service to humanity in the way the Grand Patron of Melody Singers, Sir Bestman Anekwe has done.
He emphasized that the Cross which symbolizes suffering is part of the human condition and urged the youth who are graduates to be hardworking and aim at self-employment instead of waiting for white-collar jobs that are nowhere to be found.
Rt. Rev. Msgr. PatrickMary Anene Mmuo commended the Founder and Chief Host of the Musical Festival, Rev. Fr. Alex Eze and Chief Dr. Bestman Anekwe for the great work they are doing.
He mandated the Melody Singers to preserve each of their yearly outings electronically and in the internet for posterity. He suggested a musical archive for the group.
Responding, Fr. Alex Eze assured Msgr. Mmuo of the preservation of their musical outputs.
Meanwhile, the Chief Host and Grand Patron of Melody Singers, Chief Dr. Bestman Paul Anekwe has encouraged Christians to deepen their relationship with God as Jesus is still working wonders and miracles.
In his testimony, he narrated how God used his wife, Lolo Beatrice Anekwe and his doctor to restore him back to good health after suffering from a severe stroke.
According to him, he had 100% stroke which was reversed 100% after one hour 30 minutes.
He said that professors of medicine were bewildered by his medical results and expressed surprise that his whole system is in order.
Speaking with Citizens’ Advocate reporter, Rev. Fr. Alex Eze, the moderator melody singers choir Abakaliki Diocese, in a special way thanked the Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese for his fatherly advice, love and care for the progress of Melody Singers in the diocese. He, therefore, prayed for good health for Bishop Okoro.
In the same vein, Fr. Alex in a special way commended Chief Dr. Bestman Paul Anekwe (a.k.a ochiagha Jesus) for his huge contributions for the past twelve (12) years in making sure that Melody Singers Choir is moving for an enviable height.
Fr. Alex equally thanked God for using Lolo Beatrice Anekwe to restore her husband, Chief Dr. Bestman Paul Anekwe back to good health after suffering from a severe stroke, which according to him, he had 100% stroke which was reversed 100% after one hour 30 minutes. Fr. Alex gives all glory to God.
Fr. Alex, therefore, thanked all those that graced the 2019 carol of nine lessons of Melody Singers of Abakaliki Diocese, especially Rt. Rev. Msgr. Jerome Okechukwu Anaeto, parish priest of St. Mulumba’s parish, Azuiyiokwu, Rt. Rev. Msgr. PatrickMary Anene Mmuo, the Vicar- General of Abakaliki Diocese as well the Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Okpaugwu Abakaliki, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Alphonsus O. Iwueke, the Cathedral Administrator, and other Priests, Religious of different congregations, especially those from different dioceses. He, therefore, prayed for God’s Blessings upon every one that graces the occasion.
In a similar way, Chief Dr. Bestman Paul Anekwe (a.k.a ochiagha Jesus) the grand patron of Melody Singers of Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki thanked God for the gift of Melody Singers in the diocese for their wonderful performances and cordial relationship with his family in the past twelve (12) years of its existence.
He equally commended the effort and commitment of Rev. Fr. Alex the moderator Melody Singers choir of Abakaliki Diocese for his mutual understanding with the people he is leading.
Chief Anekwe extended his gratitude to His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Nnachi Okoro, the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese for his fatherly love and care toward Melody Singers of Abakaliki Diocese.
He, therefore, prayed God to bless everyone as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Other highlights of the event included renditions by Melody Singers, a performance by Diatech Orchestra from Anambra State, performance by St. Michael Parish Choir, Agbaja Unuphu, Christmas Message by Fr. Alex Eze, Lighting of Christmas candles/sharing of Christmas gifts, cutting of Christmas Cake, performances by the Band, etc.
Bishop Okoro Celebrates Christmas Virgil
Tuesday the 24th of December, 2019, the eve of Christmas, saw the faces of Christians all over the world and indeed the catholic faithful that worship at St. Theresa’s catholic cathedral Abakaliki, radiating with joy, as they celebrated the Virgil mass of Christmas presided by his lordship, most Rev.Dr M.N. Okoro, the catholic bishop of Abakaliki diocese in the company of some priests of the diocese.
The mass began at exactly 10:pm with the opening remarks of the bishop, who said that Christmas is the beginning of our salvation. That we’re gathered to celebrate the great mystery of a God who became man. That Christmas is a call to emulate and live by the message and teachings of Jesus Christ so that the purpose of his coming would be fulfilled in our lives. He finally beckoned on all to participate actively in the celebration and to kneel for a while during the creed once the line o
During the homily, Rev Fr. Obuna reiterated what the bishop said at the beginning of the mass that Christmas is the beginning of our salvation. That the modern conception of Christmas, evident in the buying of new clothes and shoes and all worth not, has actually nothing to do with what Christmas is. He said “Christmas is a celebration of faith” which is evident in the life of Joseph and Mary.
In his word, he said that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and prophets, for with his coming all prophecies ceased. Thus John the Baptist was the last prophet and the forerunner of Jesus. According to him “prior before now God revealed himself through various means, most especially dreams. But with the coming of Jesus, all these ceased, for in the fullness of time God sent his son, and has enjoined us all to listen to him”
He went further to advise the faithful, not to put their trust in dreams, such that it takes up heir whole lives or rob them the joy of living, for believing in dreams or fortune-telling, for these are actually against the teachings of the church, and are equally ways Satan deceive and frighten the children of God, thereby creating fear in them.
He said, “our faith and worth as christens is proven in the face of trials and not when all is going well with us”. He, therefore, invited all to a total trust, faith and commitment to God, that in all situations we should bear in mind that God is aware of our predicaments, for that is the only way we can persevere and not be pulled away or deceived by the antics of the devil. So everything happens as god wills, for our God is in heaven and does whatever he wills. So in all, we know things happen as God permits, so we should learn to abandon ourselves to his will.
At the end of the mass the “silent night” was intoned by the bishop, which was soulfully sung by all. After which the mass was dismissed at about ten minutes to twelve midnight, amidst shouts of joy and thanksgiving of the faithful, who were glad to have made it to another Christmas, while some other went to the Christmas crib to see the newborn king.