The Diocese of Umuahia was created in June 23, 1958: established as Diocese of Umuahia from the Diocese of Owerri. Since it’s creation, the Diocese was dedicated to Mary the Mother of God and that is why her Cathedral bears the name “Mater Dei” Cathedral.
The Diocese of Umuahia was dedicated to Mary who always intercedes for her and protects her with her maternal mantle. This is quite exemplified in the many structures and institutions within the diocese.
For instance, the Diocesan minor seminary bears the name Immaculate Conception Seminary, Ahiaeke; it also reflects in her hospital which bears the names Madonna hospital and even the place where people go to worship and do their private devotions which bears the name Marine Shrine etc.
Today, the Diocese of Umuahia in conjunction with the universal church who celebrates the memorial of Mary the Mother of God, celebrates “The Nativity Of Our Blessed Virgin Mary.”
A celebration which featured the rosary procession, confession, Marian hymns, the Holy Mass, expository on total consecration, cultural dance, songs/praises, drama and the cutting of cake at the Mater Dei Cathedral Umuahia by his Lordship most Rev. L. I. Ugorji the Bishop of Umuahia Diocese.
The celebration began with a rosary procession in which the priests, religious and laity of Umuahia Diocese were fully present and actively participated in the celebration. 20 decades of the rosary was said which consists of the joyful, the sorrowful, the luminous and the glorious mysteries and followed by the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After the rosary procession, confessions were carried out by the priests present to enable be the people to be well prepared for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. During this time, the Marian hymns were sung in honor of Our Lady for the special place she occupies in the history of mankind.
With the Marian hymns over, the celebration of the Holy Mass started, with the bishop as the chief celebrant. He started by first of all welcoming all and sundry to the event and thanks God for such opportunity to honor Mary the Mother of God.
In his homily, the bishop reminded all that this event is the first of its kind in the diocese and that he is happy and urges us never to stop honoring Mary as she never stops interceding for us.
The bishop went on to remind us of why we are here and stressed the fact of the implications of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He also reminded us that today we celebrate the birth of a woman who came with more than the assurance that God is not yet fed up with the human race, for she heralded the dawn of hope and the salvation to the whole world.
Thus, having been destined to become the Mother of the Eternal Word, she was enriched with so great a grace that even at the moment of her Immaculate Conception she exceeded all the Saints and Angels in sanctity, for she was given a higher order of grace, which corresponded to her dignity of Mother of God.
Going further, he said that Mary, the new Eve, is a gift to the Church, nay, the Mother of the Church! She is, in a very special way, a gift to all of us, bequeathed as she has been by her own Divine son, Jesus Christ, as a mother to each one of us.
In conclusion he said, Mary is the joy of the Father who was delighted with her, His marvelous masterpiece. Mary is the joy of the Son who contemplated in her the Tabernacle wherein He was to take flesh in order to save the world unto the Father.
Mary is the ultimate joy of the Holy Spirit who saw in her His most chaste and faithful spouse on whom He would descend to form Christ.
After the mass, other events took place. The turn up was massive as so many people where present for the celebration. There were a lot of dignitaries who graced the occasion.
The bishop in his final blessing thanked all once more for turning up and pray the good Lord to bless all and that our Lady will continue to intercede for us, our families, our diocese, the Church and the world at large.