Diocesan Liturgist of the Catholic Diocese of Zaria, Very Rev Fr Barnabas Duniya, lauded members of the Association of Catholic Trained Evangelizers (ACTEN) of the diocese for their involvement in the work of evangelization, even as he thanked them for choosing his parish, St Theresa of the Child Jesus, Hanwa Zaria as the venue for their end of year Meeting and fellowship, which took place on Sunday, 19th December, 2021.
The priest told them their voluntary services are noticed and spoke of the need to support the bishop, Most Rev Dr George Jonathan Dodo in raising the intended structures at their training ground – St Pope John Paul II School of Evangelization, Graceland Zaria.
”It is not easy for the bishop to raise that structure there,” the priest revealed. “It is a privilege that you all went through that school and we have to maintain that structure. With Christ, no sacrifice goes unnoticed. You will have the reward for the intention that brought you here. Continue to remember your Alma Mater. Continue to work with one another. Continue to pray for the unity of the Church.”
On those who left the Church, the priest explained that “God knows how to attend to those who fall along the edge but that does not mean that we all must fall.” He further asked them to be patient with their priests; look and celebrate their contributions as evangelizers and not to be discouraged by their number.
ACTEN had earlier taken her 2021 Rural Outreach to St Peter’s Rumi, where the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Zaria and the Parish Priest, Very Rev Fr Henry Atuma, commended members of the body for their efforts at reaching out to the rural communities and for choosing his parish for the year’s exercise.
Speaking through his assistant, Rev. Fr. Jerome Agih at the closing Mass for the event which coincided with the World Mission Sunday, the Vicar thanked the evangelizers for coming to spread the Gospel of Jesus in the area.
“You are indeed helping us,” the priest acknowledged. “We are called to go around doing well but the work of mission is not an easy one.
“Let us continue to pray for ourselves because every human being is in need of prayers. As evangelizers who have given themselves to the work of God, we pray that God will continue to strengthen you.
“We also pray that He may open your eyes to the evil of the day. God will continue to inspire your activities and you will succeed through the power of the Holy Spirit. You will not go unrewarded and God will sow a seed of favour and mercy in your lives. Keep the fire burning!”
Speaking on the topic ‘At a Time Like This (2 Tim. 3:1)’ in the course of the outreach, a member of the group, Evang Philemon Nwani intimated that every age has its own challenges; people of a given age can only overcome their challenges when they have understand the problems of their time and asserted that the present condition of the country has grown beyond human solution:
“We are in the most difficult time in the history of our country,” the minister announced. “It is a very terrible time and God does not want us to be ignorant of the times but the question is what your faith and hope are at a time like this.
“We are in a time when terrorism is the order of the day; security personnel are not safe; no place is safe in the country and as such people are living in fear. Prices have gone so high that it is very difficult to feed and some Christians are compromising their faith to feed. This has left many people wondering whether there is still God and why He is silent over what is happening – if He is still alive.
“We need to understand where we are so that we can better understand our challenges and how to overcome them. We need to learn from the challenges of Bible times and to be able to overcome our own challenges.
“It is only God who has the power to do what no man can do for Nigeria because there is nothing anyone but God can do to salvage the condition of our country. Tonight, you have to reject, deny and denounce any other thing you trust and turn to Him.”
Assuring them of God’s boundless mercies, the evangelizer nudged them to confess their faith in Him; refuse to compromise their faith and to hold on till the end.
Dwelling on ‘Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (Jn. 14:1),’ another member, Evang Toochukwu Chigbo defined trouble as anything that disturbs a man’s peace; enlightened that trouble resulted from disobedience to God and announced the Good News that Jesus accompanies His own through the troubling moments of their lives.
In addition to thanking the priests for giving them the privilege to evangelize to their people, the Diocesan Chief Servant of the group, Evang PC Alika informed the parishioners on their visit and intimated that they would embark on door to door evangelism the following day.
“We are here to help your priests to help you.” Evang Alika informed them. “We have come this weekend to share the Word of God with the people of Rumi. We shall enter every house that is open to us. Tell us your problems so that we can pray along with you and step in where necessary.”
Buttressing that the Church exists for mission and that resources are needed to execute the mission, the chief servant led his members through a mini fundraising in support of the host parish. He equally thanked evangelizers who left every other thing against all odds – for the outreach and assured them of God’s blessings.
In the course of the outreach tagged “I Know My Redeemer Lives,’ the commissioned visited different communities in Rumi where they met, prayed, preached and encouraged the people to denounce Satan and all his empty threats and promises but to continue to trust God for an inevitable better future – with some beneficiaries requesting prayers for their loved ones in one difficulty or the other.
By Olivia Obijiaku