Nsukka diocesan HCA celebrates Marian year in thrilling style

By Alphonsus Ogili

With sense of joy and great thanksgiving to God, the entire members of the Holy Childhood Association, (HCA) of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka joyfully gathered in their large numbers at St. Theresa's Cathedral, Nsukka on the 22nd of July, 2017 to celebrate their special day with the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah.

The day had already commenced on a peaceful and joyful note for members of the association but Bishop Onah’s presence added the much-needed lustre and grace to the day.

In order to make the occasion more memorable for the children, members of the association were given a pride of place in the celebration of a Holy Mass that marked the beginning of the event as they were assigned to play liturgical roles such as taking the readings and Psalms of the day, serving as Church wardens, serving as the choir and band group and so on.

In his homily, Bishop Onah enjoined the children to emulate the humble gesture of St. Mary Magdalene who sincerely repented of her sins and as a result became a special friend of Jesus Christ to the extent that she was the first person that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection. He made it known to them that humans are imperfect and as a result are prone to sin but added that true and sincere repentance whenever we fall is what God requires of us.

According to the Local Ordinary, the most disheartening thing about Judas' betrayal of Jesus Christ is not just the fact that he betrayed his master, but his refusal to ask for forgiveness when he realized that what he did was wrong.

"Usually, there may be disagreement among friends. Your friends may offend you just like you can as well offend your friends. But what matters is your readiness to ask for forgiveness whenever you are wrong. That is what shows that you are true friends," he said.

Father Bishop also urged members of the association to always stand for themselves whether in pain or sorrow as depicted my St. Mary Magdalene who wept and followed Jesus Christ throughout his sufferings and death on the cross of Calvary which resulted in her becoming the first person that Jesus showed himself after his resurrection.

Expressing excitement at the event, the Co-ordinator, Nsukka Diocesan Holy Childhood Association, Rev. Fr. Oscar Ugwoke commended Father Bishop for his genuine love towards the children in the diocese and reiterated the resolve of the association to make future celebration more formidable ones.

The task of leading children to God is one that needs to be carried out properly and this is what the Holy Childhood Association is all about for children are like yam tendrils which when staked early enough follows the stake until it climbs to the top. But if not staked in time, it will sprawl on the ground without directions.

The reception of the occasion which was held in conjunction with the celebration of the Marian Year and the Centenary of the apparition of Fatima was held at the cathedral podium during which march pass, fashion parade, bible quiz, news presentation, cultural dances, refreshments among others were used to spice up the event.

The happiness written in the faces of the children simply revealed it was a day they had been looking forward to as they took active participation throughout the occasion.

The Holy Childhood Association was founded in France in the year 1843 by Bishop Charles de Forbin-Janson with the aim of encouraging all children to be aware of the needs of children living in mission diocese throughout the world hence their moto: "Children Helping Children."

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