Bishop William A. Avenya

Mar 21st 2020 20:23

In December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases were reported in the City of Wuhan, China. Investigations found out that it was caused by a previously unknown virus now named 2019 novel Corona Virus (nCoV). The outbreak has now become a pandemic as it keeps spreading at an alarming rate. Therefore, while the government is doing all that needs to be done to ensure that this virus does not spread into our country, as we have been assured, it is important that information about the virus and factors relating to it are brought to the attention of everyone. 

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Mar 13th 2020 10:19


By Kuha INDYER CSSp:
People from all walks of life across the nation descended on the town of Katsina-Ala in Benue State like locusts from Tuesday, the 10th of March to Wednesday, the 11th of March, 2020, to bid goodbye to the first Catholic Bishop of Katsina-Ala Diocese, Most Rev. Peter Iorzuul ADOBOH.

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Mar 09th 2020 20:49

By Fr Benjamin Akem.

The Via Christi Society today Registers her heartfelt condolences to the Apostolic Administrator of Katsina/Ala Diocese and Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Gboko Diocese, Most Revd William A. Avenya over the passing onto glory of Late Most Revd Peter Adobo.

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Mar 06th 2020 07:34

A Communiqué issued at the end of the First Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Resource Centre, Durumi, Abuja, 29 February to 6 March 2020

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Mar 04th 2020 22:16

Lent is a season of repentance, prayer, and fasting. The season lasts for 40 days, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday. The season reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in prayer and fasting in the desert before starting his public ministry.  Lent is also observed by many other Christian denominations.

Mar 04th 2020 19:51

The Catholic Church in Nigeria has been thrown into mourning following the death of Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Katsina-Ala, Most Revd. Peter Iornzuul Adoboh at the age of 62 after a brief episcopacy.

Bishop had a long struggle with ill-health and was at various times given medical treatment in the US, Canada and Italy. He died at the Daughters of Charity Hospital, Abuja in the early hours of February 14, 2020. 

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PRAY FOR HOLY FATHER, POPE FRANCIS 

Updates From The VATICAN

  • Vatican City, May 29, 2020 / 07:10 am (CNA).- The Vatican has published a free book online that can be a resource for parents facing a difficult or fatal diagnosis for their unborn child during pregnancy. 

    The nearly 300-page ebook is a compilation of speeches given at a Vatican conference held last year dedicated to the medical care and ministries that support families who receive a prenatal diagnosis indicating that their baby will likely die before or just after birth. 

    “Yes to Life: Caring for the precious gift of life in its frailness,” a conference organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life in May 2019, brought together medical professionals, bioethicists, ministry providers, and families from 70 countries to discuss how best to provide medical, psychological, and emotional support for parents expecting a child with a life-limiting illness.

    “Sometimes people ask me, what does perinatal hospice look like? And I answer, ‘It looks like love,’” author and mother Amy Kuebelbeck shared at the conference. 

    Kuebelbeck was 25 weeks pregnant when she received the diagnosis that her unborn son had an incurable heart defect. She carried her pregnancy to term and had a little more than two hours with her son, Gabriel, before he died after birth.

    “It was one of the most profound experiences of my life,” Kuebelbeck said. She wrote a memoir of her experience of grief, loss, and love called Waiting with Gabriel: A Story of Cherishing a Baby’s Brief Life.

    “I know that some people assume that continuing a pregnancy with a baby who will die is all for nothing. But it isn’t all for nothing.  Parents can wait with their baby, protect their baby, and love their baby for as long as that baby is able to live. They can give that baby a peaceful life -- and a peaceful goodbye. That’s not nothing. That is a gift,” Kuebelbeck wrote in Waiting with Gabriel.

    Kuebelbeck’s testimony at the conference is included in the ebook in English, as is a transcript of the presentation provided by Dr. Byron Calhoun, a medical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who first coined the term “perinatal hospice.” 

    Calhoun’s research has found that allowing parents of newborns with a terminal prenatal diagnosis the chance to be parents can result in less distress for the mother than pregnancy termination. 

    Other speeches from the conference are also published in Italian and Spanish, such Sister Giustina Olha Holubets’ Italian presentation. The Ukrainian religious sister, who works as a geneticist at the University of Lviv, helped to found “Imprint of Life,” a perinatal palliative care center in Ukraine.

    “Imprint of Life” offers grief accompaniment, individualized birth plans, the sacrament of baptism, and burial, as well as respectful photos, footprints, and memory books to help families cherish their brief moments with their child. Their motto is “I cannot give more days to your life, but I can give more life to your days.”

    There are now more than 300 hospitals, hospices, and ministries providing perinatal palliative care around the world.

    Many families facing these diagnoses have to decide if they will seek extraordinary or disproportionate medical care for their child after birth.

    According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of ‘overzealous’ treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted.”

    Ministries like Alexandra’s House, a perinatal hospice in Kansas City, Missouri, provide counsel and grief support to parents as they face these difficult medical decisions. They also connect families with a network of other parents who have had a terminal prenatal diagnosis.

    “Most of the families stay in contact indefinitely,” said MaryCarroll Sullivan, nurse and bioethics adviser for the ministry.

    The book, published by the Vatican’s Publishing House, includes Pope Francis’ speech from his meeting with the conference participants in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

    In this speech, Pope Francis said that selective abortion of the disabled is the “expression of an inhumane eugenic mentality that deprives families of the chance to accept, embrace and love the weakest of their children.”

    “Fear and hostility towards disability often lead to the choice of abortion, presenting it as a practice of ‘prevention,’” the pope said on May 25, 2019.

    Pope Francis also thanked the perinatal hospice providers for creating “networks of love” to which couples can turn to receive accompaniment with the undeniable practical, human, and spiritual difficulties they face.

    “Your witness of love is a gift to the world,” he said.

    “Caring for these children helps parents to process their mourning and to understand it not only as loss, but also as a stage in a journey travelled together. They will have had the opportunity to love their child, and that child will remain in their memory forever,” Pope Francis said.

    “Those few hours in which a mother can cradle her child in her arms leave an unforgettable trace in her heart.”

  • Vatican City, May 28, 2020 / 10:00 am (CNA).- The Vatican Apostolic Archive will reopen to researchers June 1 after closing for 12 weeks due to Italy’s coronavirus lockdown.

    The archive was forced to close to scholars the second week of March, just days after the highly anticipated March 2 opening of the files on the pontificate of Venerable Pius XII.

    According to a notice on the archive’s website, the records office will reopen to researchers for four weeks, after which they will again close for the summer break until after Aug. 30.

    The archives will be open only during the morning until further notice and the number of researchers allowed in at a time will be limited to 15 as a safety measure.

    The online notice said previous reservations to work in the archives are considered canceled and scholars will have to submit new requests for the four-week opening.

    The Vatican Apostolic Archive, formerly called the “secret archive,” is an office which preserves documents and books of historical and cultural importance to the Church and to the world. Since 1881 the archive has been open to qualified researchers on request.

    March 2, with Pope Francis' decree, access was extended to include the archives of the pontificate of Venerable Pius XII, which spanned March 1939 to October 1958, and it is the first time scholars had been granted access to the approximately 16 million documents they contain.

    The opening of the Pius XII archives was highly anticipated, and researchers hoped study of the files could bring to light new information about Venerable Pope Pius XII’s actions during World War II, which have been hotly debated.

    Some historians criticize the pope for not making a more explicit denunciation of Hitler and the Nazis. Others point to his role in drafting “Mit brennender Sorge,” the 1937 encyclical to the Church in Germany, and the limits imposed on him by the Lateran Treaty.

    Shortly before its opening, the Vatican apostolic archive had received requests for access from more than 150 scholars from around the world. At the time, a maximum of 60 people were permitted to enter per day.

    After August 30, the archive said it will allow 25 people to enter at one time.

    Pius XII died in 1958. His cause for canonization was opened by Pope Paul VI in November 1965, during the final session of the Second Vatican Council. On December 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared him “venerable,” meaning the Church has determined that he led a life of heroic virtue.

    As Italy begins to loosen its coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the Vatican has reopened certain areas to the public, including St. Peter’s Basilica, though Rome remains without tourists due to closed international borders.

    While it is rumored that Italy will open its borders with the rest of Europe and the Schengen area countries starting June 3, nothing has yet been made official. It is still unknown when Italy will reopen to countries outside Europe.

  • Vatican City, May 27, 2020 / 08:30 am (CNA).- The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has advanced the sainthood causes of 14 men and women, including Bl. Charles de Foucauld, a French missionary killed in Algeria in 1916.

    De Foucauld, also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, was a soldier, explorer, Catholic revert, priest, hermit, and religious brother, who served among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert in Algeria.

    He was assassinated by a band of men at his hermitage in the Sahara on Dec. 1, 1916.

    De Foucauld was born in Strasbourg in 1858. He was raised by his wealthy and aristocratic grandfather after being orphaned at the age of six.

    He joined the French military, following in the footsteps of his grandfather. Having already lost his faith, as a young man he lived a life of indulgence and was known to have an immature sense of humor.

    De Foucauld resigned from the military at age 23, and set off on a dangerous exploration of Morocco. Contact with strong Muslim believers there challenged him, and he began to repeat to himself: “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”

    He returned to France and, with the guidance of a priest, came back to his Catholic faith in 1886, at the age of 28.

    The following saying is attributed to him: “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”

    De Foucauld realized a vocation to “follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth” during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was a Trappist monk in France and Syria for seven years. He also lived as a hermit for a period near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.

    He was ordained a priest in 1901 at age 43 and left for northern Africa to serve among the Tuareg people, a nomadic ethnic group, saying he wanted to live among “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.”

    In the Sahara he welcomed anyone who passed by, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or pagan. 

    He was deeply respectful of the faiths and cultures he lived among. During his 13 years in the Saraha he learned about Tuareg culture and language, compiling a Tuareg-French dictionary, and being a “brother” to the people.

    The priest said he wanted to “shout the Gospel with his life” and to conduct his life so that people would ask, “if such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”

    De Foucauld was the inspiration for the founding of several lay associations, religious communities, and secular institutes of laity and priests, known collectively as “the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld.”

    At his beatification in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said as a priest, de Foucauld “put the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of his life.”

    “He discovered that Jesus -- who came to unite Himself to us in our humanity -- invites us to that universal brotherhood which he later experienced in the Sahara, and to that love of which Christ set us the example,” he said.

    After meeting with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation for saints’ causes May 26, the pope approved a second miracle attributed to de Foucauld’s intercession, paving the way for his canonization.

    On May 27, Pope Francis also advanced the cause of Bl. César de Bus, a French priest who lived from 1544 to 1607, and founded two religious congregations.

    He also advanced the cause of Italian Bl. Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first general superior of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, who died in 1934.

    The pope also approved the first miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Michael McGivney, a 19th-century American priest who founded the Knights of Columbus. He may now be beatified. 

    French laywoman Venerable Pauline-Marie Jaricot, who lived from 1799 to 1862 in Lyon, may also now be beatified.

    She founded the Living Rosary Association and the Society of the Propagation of the Faith -- which later became the first of the four pontifical mission societies.

    Jaricot, a member of the lay Dominicans, was devoted to promoting support of the Church’s missionary efforts around the world. 

    She was the youngest of seven children. After losing her mother when she was 17, Jaricot took a vow of perpetual virginity and devoted herself to prayer. For many years, St. John Vianney was her spiritual director.

    She was declared Venerable in 1963 by St. Pope John XXIII.

    In 2013, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, then head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said “Jaricot’s heroic virtues do not consist in a series of miraculous events, but in that fruitful fidelity to Christ, to whom she devoted herself both in good times and in those difficult and tormented moments, as well as in the long-term vision of a commitment to evangelization, so that all people get to know Christ and of the merciful love of God.”

    Pope Francis also confirmed May 27 the martyrdom of six Cistercians, the Servant of God Simeon Cardon and his five companions, who were killed in 1799 in Casamari, Italy. 

    He also confirmed the martyrdom of Cosma Spessotto, a priest and Franciscan from northern Italy who was killed in El Salvador in 1980.

    Servant of God Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac, who was apostolic vicar to Sierra Leone and the founder of the Society of Africa Missions, was also advanced on the path to sainthood. A Frenchman, he died in 1859 in the West African country.

  • Vatican City, May 27, 2020 / 06:15 am (CNA).- Prayer is a refuge and protection against the evil of the world, Pope Francis said in his general audience address Wednesday.

    Speaking via livestream from his library in the apostolic palace, the pope illustrated this point with several stories from Genesis, including those of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah. 

    “Reading these stories, one gets the impression that prayer is both the embankment and the refuge of man before the flood of evil that grows in the world,” he said May 27. “On closer inspection, we also pray to be saved from ourselves.”

    “God’s plan for humanity is good, but in our daily life we ​​experience the presence of evil: it is an everyday experience.”

    Continuing his cycle of catechesis on prayer, Francis noted that the righteous person’s prayer turns them away from, not toward, violence. “In fact, prayer, when it is authentic, is free from instincts of violence and is a gaze turned toward God,” he said.

    He quoted from paragraph 2569 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says “this quality of prayer is lived by a multitude of righteous in all religions.”

    “Prayer,” he argued, “cultivates flowerbeds of rebirth in places where man’s hatred has only been able to enlarge the desert.”

    In his address, Pope Francis also reflected on the lessons humanity can take from the stories in Genesis, starting with Adam and Eve.

    “The first chapters of the Book of Genesis describe the progressive expansion of sin in human affairs,” he said.

    Adam and Eve, yielding to the devil’s temptation, begin to doubt the benevolent intentions of God. They have delusions of omnipotence, the pope said. But what happens instead is their eyes are opened and they discover they are naked, they have nothing. The tempter “pays badly,” he underlined.

    Turning to Cain and Abel, Francis asserted that with the next human generation, “evil becomes even more disruptive.”

    Cain becomes infested with the “worm of envy” toward his brother Abel. Cain does not get command of the evil which grows in his heart, “and so, the story of the first brotherhood ends with a murder,” the pope said.

    “I think, today, about human fraternity,” he added. “Wars everywhere.”

    Pope Francis described what followed Cain’s evil action, explaining that from his lineage, “evil spreads like wildfire, until it occupies the whole picture.”

    There is the need for a new beginning, a new creation, which will have its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, he noted. “Yet, in these first pages of the Bible, another story is written, less conspicuous, much more humble and devoted, which represents the redemption of hope.”

    “Even if almost everyone behaves in a brutal way, making hatred and conquest the great engine of human affairs, there are people capable of praying to God with sincerity, capable of writing man’s destiny in a different way,” he said.

    He pointed to the birth of Adam and Eve’s third son, Seth, who later had his own son, named Enos, meaning “mortal.”

    In Genesis, it is written that from the birth of Enos, “people began to invoke the name of the Lord.” Enos also had a cousin, Enoch, who is a person who “walks with God,” according to Scripture.

    “And finally there is the story of Noah, a righteous man who ‘walked with God,’ before whom God holds back his purpose of erasing humanity,” Francis said.

    “And prayer is powerful,” he underlined, “because it attracts the power of God and the power of God always gives life: always.”

    “This is why the lordship of God passes through the chain of these men and women, often misunderstood or marginalized in the world,” he said.

    These men and women are not headline-makers, according to the pope, “but the world lives and grows thanks to the strength of God that these servants of his draw with their prayer.”

    “The path of God in the history of God passed through them: it passed through a ‘remnant’ of humanity that did not conform to the law of the fittest, but asked God to perform his miracles, and above all to transform our heart of stone in the heart of flesh,” he concluded.

    At the end of the general audience, in his greeting to Italian-speaking pilgrims, Pope Francis recalled that May 29 is the memorial of St. Pope Paul VI, who was canonized in 2018.

    “May the example of this Bishop of Rome, who has reached the heights of holiness, encourage each one of us to embrace the Gospel ideals,” he urged.

  • Vatican City, May 27, 2020 / 05:40 am (CNA).- Fr. Michael McGivney, an American priest soon to be beatified, died amid a 19th-century pandemic which may have been caused by a coronavirus. 

    Fr. McGivney founded the largest world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, the Knights of Columbus, in 1882. Today the order formed in his parish basement in New Haven, Connecticut, has grown to more than two million members donating millions to charity each year.

    McGivney was serving as a parish priest amid the pandemic of 1889-1890, according to a press release issued by the Knights of Columbus May 27. 

    Biologists using gene-sequencing methods have attributed the pandemic to a type of coronavirus, according to a Bloomberg report. This virus, which first appeared in Russia, killed a total of 1 million people worldwide, including 13,000 in the United States.

    McGivney became seriously ill with pneumonia and died on Aug. 14, 1890, at age 38.

    Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to McGivney’s intercession on May 26, paving the way for the American priest’s beatification.

    Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1852, McGivney was the first of 13 children born to Irish immigrants Patrick and Mary McGivney. Six of his siblings died in infancy or early childhood. His father was a molder in a Waterbury brass mill, where the young McGivney himself worked for a brief time as a child to help support his family.

    From an early age, however, he sensed a calling to the priesthood (two of his brothers also became priests). He was ordained in Baltimore’s Cathedral of the Assumption by Cardinal James Gibbons on Dec. 22, 1877, and took up his first assignment, as curate at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, the city’s first parish.

    In New Haven, McGivney faced anti-Catholic prejudice. A New York Times headline in 1879 -- “How an Aristocratic Avenue was Blemished by a Roman Church Edifice” -- deplored the construction of a new stone church after the original building was destroyed by fire.

    In addition to his parish duties, he ministered to a 21-year-old man who was on death row for killing a police officer while drunk, visiting him daily up until his execution. On the day he was due to be hanged, James Smith comforted the priest, saying: “Father, your saintly ministrations have enabled me to meet death without a tremor. Do not fear for me. I must not break down now.”

    McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s in 1882 as a way to provide financial protection to families who suffered the death of a breadwinner -- a challenge McGivney himself faced in his youth when his father died in 1873. The priest also hoped the organization would dissuade Catholics from turning to secret societies in times of need.

    The Knights were named after the explorer Christopher Columbus. The order’s original principles were “unity” and “charity,” with “fraternity” and “patriotism” added later.

    Fr. O’Donnell, a contemporary in Waterbury, remembered McGivney as “genial, approachable, of kindly disposition, cheerful under reverses, profoundly sympathetic with those upon whom had fallen the heavy hand of affliction, a man of strict probity and sterling integrity in his business transactions.”

    “He was charitable to a fault, if I may so speak. The poor found in him a Good Samaritan,” O’Donnell said in 1900.

    Another contemporary, Fr. Slocum, said: “Fr. McGivney, though a man of unassuming character, was possessed of an indomitable will, by which, aided by the grace of God, he was able to face unkind and unjust criticism from all directions in his great effort to found a society for the benefit of young men and the glory of the Church.”

                

Gboko Diocese

On 29th December 2012, the Holy See announced the creation of Gboko Diocese by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. The territory of the diocese covers 10,692 square kilometres, with a total population of 1,847,660. Catholics in the diocese are 1,269,012, representing 53.1% of the total population.

CONTACT US

BISHOP'S HOUSE
Villa Emmanuel
P.M.B 1955
Gboko, Benue State
Nigeria
Tel:+2348062858752

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