Callistus Agwaza, Jalingo
The Catholic diocese of Jalingo on Friday presented various categories of awards to deserving members of the Church as part of activities to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Speaking at the event which took place at the St Charles Baromeo Cathedral in Jalingo the Catholic Bishop of the diocese Most Reverend Dr. Charles Hammawa said that the journey has been tough but clearly a manifestation of God’s grace despite the odds.
Hammawa said that the awards were meant to spur the people including domestic staff and teachers of religious studies and other lay faithful who have demonstrated persistent selfless service in the growth of the Church to do even more.
He described the times as tough occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent takeover of #ENDSARS protest that resulted in looting of both government and private property and the general socio-political and economic realities of the moment.
“We pray for Gods kingdom of love, justice and peace. Let us also give witness to spiritual renewal that we have received by giving hope to people in this time of hopelessness and at this time more than ever before, may we not be dismayed.” He encouraged.
Rev Fr. Mark Nzukwein who gave the sermon admonished believers to uphold the spirit of unity and peace especially in these trying times, believing in God to handle situations for us.
“There should be unity among clergies so much so that the unity will flow to the congregation irrespective of cultural and ethnic differences. Taraba state has suffered severe ethnic crisis that have greatly affected the Church. No doubt these is as a result of intolerance for our differences. All institutions of the Church must therefore becomes citadels of love, unity and peace so that all those who have any encounter becomes an ambassador of these virtues. The Church, more than ever, has the responsibility of doing everything to bring her members under one fold, in love and understanding.
“On the part of government, we must begging to see justice, fairness and equity at play. The people can only tolerate injustice to an extent. We pray for wisdom of God upon our leaders. They need our prayers because leadership is not an easy task. May this celebration bring about a renewal of hearts” he said.
He also called on the church to put in their best in their service to God bearing in mind that it is God we serve not humans and our reward lies above.
Presenting the awards, Bishop Hammawa said that the awards are to encourage the awardees, appreciate them for their meritorious deeds and also serve as a call to do more for God, the church and society.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Speaker Taraba state House of Assembly Dr Joseph Albasu Kunini charged religious leaders to step up the campaign against moral decadence in the society especially amongst the youth and to intensify prayers for the state and the nation at large.
Kunini who condemned the recent acts by some hoodlums in the state under the guise of the #ENDSARS protest that resulted in the looting of state and private property, called on the youth to exert restraints and exhibit they faith and teachings of Christ as “religion is meant to mould a complete person, who constantly strife to be morally upright, spiritually strong and faithful in fulfilling his obligation to the society”.
The awards which came in four categories, were also presented post humus to late persons who had served the diocese at various times in the past and in various capacities.