SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2011.
CATHOLIC KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN INTERNATIONAL HOLDS BOARD MEETING AT IBRU CENTRE
REV. CANON GABRIEL KPAGBAN
Over 200 members of the Roman Catholic Knights of St. John International, Benin Grand Commandery and Ladies Auxiliary held their first Benin Grand Board Meeting at the Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State on Friday 17th to Sunday 19th June, 2011. They have their motto as; Catholic Knighthood: Upholding and defending the faith.
The Benin grand commandery was inaugurated on April 29, 2011 with their grand president as Brig. Gen. Patrick Origbe while the Ladies Auxiliary was inaugurated a month later with Lady Dr. Florence Ngozi Ugoji as their Grand respected president. Both wings were inaugurated by Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze.
In an address during the official opening of their joint meeting, Patrick Origbe charged the participants to remember the vow they made during their inauguration to always uphold the highest principles of Christian charity and ever ready in defense of the mother church and her clergy. He reminded them to be grounded on discipline which according to him is the bedrock of their enviable order. He unfolded that the agenda of his administration would be to embark on aggressive evangelism.
In a related development, Florence Ugoji reminded the Knights and Ladies to always be vast in the Catholic faith. She said that their status should reflect in all their way of life such as their manner of dressing, talking and their daily relationship with one another. Also, the president of the Ughelli commandery, Sir Patrick Ferife expressed delight as being the first to host the first Benin Grand Commandery Board Meeting after the inauguration. He gave thanks to God for such rare privilege and opportunity.
Earlier, the Rector of Ibru Centre, Ven. (Barr) Ernest Onuoha, while formally welcoming the group on behalf of the team of management staff of the centre, thanked God for journey mercies, and intimated them with a brief history of the institution. He told them of how the donor, Dr. Alex Ibru got the vision in 1989 to give his expansive Delta country home at Agbarha-Otor as a spiritual centre. He said Alex obeyed God because in March 1, 1995, the centre was then handed over to the Trinity Foundation.
Other features of meeting included health talk, spiritual talks and celebration of Mass.
Among clergymen that attended the meeting was Very Rev. Fr. Yakubu Gowon Abdul – Salami – Grand Spiritual Director, Rev. Fr. Daniel Dogoro – Spiritual Adviser of the commandery, Rev. Fr. Austin Eruotor, Rev. Fr. Fidelis Okpanachi as well as Sir. Joseph Evuarherhe.
The meeting ended on Sunday 19th June with a thanksgiving Mass at the St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church, Ughelli, Delta State, after issuing the following communiqué.
- As Catholic faithful and Knights/Ladies of the Church, attendees resolved to continue to uphold and defend the Faith, and the mother Church, through Christian charity encapsulated in the three Ts (of Time, Treasure and Talent) for effective evangelization of self, immediate community, nation and the world at large;
- Members are reminded of their bounden duty to rise up to the challenges facing the Faith such as cultism, occultism and other distractions from outside the Church;
- The Knights/Ladies of St. John International frown at the continued abuse of desecration of holy objects and places of worship, particularly by cultists and common criminals. Parents and guardians are therefore admonished to properly educate their children and wards on the sanctity and use of these objects/places;
- The need for awareness of one’s personal health condition cannot be over-emphasized. Going forward therefore, health talks will be part of all ground board activities. For a start, there was a health talk on diabetes and high blood pressure accompanied by free tests on blood sugar level, blood pressure and body weight;
- While encouraging Christians to fully participate in politics, this should be in the highest level of Christian virtues. They should not engage in negative political activities that are inimical to the Faith;
- To continuously live up to the desired standard of morality and dignity, members are enjoined to renew their Knightly vows before the Blessed Sacrament regularly;
- Finally, GBOT frowned at the ongoing spate of wanton attacks on Christian places of worship and killing of people (both clergy & laity) in the northern parts of the country as the constitution of the country guarantees freedom of association and worship to all citizens in any part of the country. While sympathizing with victims it (GBOT) calls on government, at all levels, and security agencies to step up efforts in arresting this ugly trend. All implicated should be made to face the full wrath of the law – there should be no sacred cows.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us.