The Catholic diocese of Umuahia marked the 2022 Chrism Mass at the Mater Dei Cathedral Umuahia on Wednesday, 13 April, 2022. The Mass was presided over by the Apostolic Administrator, Most Rev. L. I. Ugorji and concentrated with the Auxiliary Bishop of Umuahia, Most Rev. Michael Ukpong. The Mass has in attendance Msgr. John Loyld Ukaegbu who will be marking his Diamond Jubilee as a priest in July. Also present at the Mass are Monsignori and priests numbering more than 150.
By James Ekecheozo
The event is also well attended by consecrated persons, knights and their ladies, and all sections of the lay faithful.
In what appears to be a farewell homily, Archbishop Lucius Ugorji said, “at this Eucharist, when we bless the oils, we are reminded that in the Old Testament certain people were destined for anointing: priests, kings and prophets. The anointing by the Holy Spirit touches us as well. Through baptism, we come to participate in the royal priesthood of the Divine Son; through Confirmation, we are given a share in the inner life of the Holy Spirit that we may be strengthened to invite others to the wondrous life God shares with us; through Holy Orders, some receive an anointing of God’s Holy Spirit to shepherd others in the name of Jesus in the Church. In the Chrism Mass, we are empowered to fuction”
“The oils that we bless and consecrate represent the sacramental life of the Church and the many ways in which, through the action of Christ himself, God’s saving grace reaches out into the world of our time and brings comfort, healing and mercy.”
“Preface of this Mass reminds us that the one royal priesthood of Jesus Christ continues in the Church through the one People of God. At this Mass of Chrism each year we bear witness in a special way to how the Church is composed of a people consecrated to God. Christ remains the anointed one.”
“Each one of us shares the one baptism and shares in the one common priesthood of Jesus Christ in today’s world. Each of us comes with his or her own gifts and talents; each of us has his or her role and contribution to make within the Church. The Church of Jesus Christ is a Church which must welcome and respect and cares for the welfare of each of us. But what unites us is our common mission: we are all missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.”
“In today’s Mass we celebrate in a special way the calling of the ordained priesthood, remembering always however that we priests are called from among the people that God has made his own. We never leave that people. We are called to act in the name of Christ to serve God’s people. But we are also nourished within and by God’s people and through the faith of God’s people.”
“On a day like this when we renew our priestly vows, it is worthy to note that our service as priests calls on us to nourish God’s people with the word and the sacraments, to renew Jesus’ sacrifice and to set before the people the paschal banquet, and to lead God’s holy people in charity.”
In union with the sentiment of the first reading from Prophet Isaiah, the newly elected CBCN President observed that priests are called to preach the good news, to bind broken hearts, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to console prisoners, to comfort those who mourn – the hungry, the poor, the unemployed youths and to assure them of God’s unfailing love (cf. Is. 6: 1-3).
In this sense therefore, Archbishop Ugorji appreciated the priests for their sacrifices in serving God’s people. He thus encouraged the faithful to pray for their priests.
In a related development, the event doubles as the Cathedraticum for the Umuahia I, II, and III deaneries. Cathedraticum (a Latin word from cathedra, episcopal seat or throne) is a specified sum of money to be contributed annually for the support of the bishop, as a mark of honour and in sign of subjection to the cathedral church, hence its name. Thus Archbishop Ugorji appreciated the people of God for their overwhelming generosity and support to him since 1991 he conducted the first Cathedraticum as the Bishop of Umuahia.
It is within this context that Archbishop Ugorji said that the Bishopric seat of Umuahia is vacant upon his transfer to Owerri as the Archbishop. He called on the people of God to intensify their prayers for a successful transition period.
Shortly before the end of the Mass, the auxiliary bishop of Umuahia, Most Rev. Michael Ukpong on behalf of Archbishop Ugorji appreciated the people of God who despite the hard times we are in now demonstrated the unflinching support for the pastoral work of the bishop. He prayed to God to be their reward.
Recall that it is in this celebration that Archbishop Ugorji took a new name as MMESOMACHI, indicating that his life and ministry are the product of Divine Favour.