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Synod in Nigeria’s Makurdi Diocese to "look into proper ways of evangelization": Bishop

Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of Nigeria's Makurdi Diocese during Holy Mass to officially launch the third Diocesan Synod Monday, November 9, 2020.

The third Diocesan Synod of Nigeria’s Makurdi Diocese that kicked off over the weekend seeks to “look into” methods of sharing faith, the Local Ordinary said.

“It is important for us to have the third Diocesan synod to look into the proper ways of evangelization in the modern day Makurdi Diocese,” Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe said Monday, November 9.

Bishop Anagbe who was presiding over Holy Mass to mark the official opening of the Diocesan Synod added, “In this synod, we shall endeavor to clearly articulate our cultural vision and mission for the integral development of the Diocese and see the proper delineation of the structures, organs that would serve as the path towards achieving our pastoral objectives.” 

“This Synod is about setting standards that would serve as a reference point for our evangelization and on the present-day realities,” the Nigerian Bishop went on to say during the Holy Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral of Makurdi Diocese.  

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He invited the people of God under his pastoral care to say “a special prayer” that will be availed soon, imploring God for a successful Synod.

“This has to be said in the homes, Oratories and Churches by all the faithful. As a matter of emphasis, during Masses on Sundays and holidays of obligation one intention to be devoted to the success of the synod in all our parishes and missions,” Bishop Anagbe directed.

The yearlong Synod that will conclude in October 2021 has been organized under the theme, “The mission of Christ in the Diocese of Makurdi the family of God in communion and service to reconciliation, justice, and peaceful coexistence.”

Making reference to the theme of the Synod, Bishop Anagbe said, “We have the trivial responsibility of working together in an atmosphere of prayer, reflection and discernment in arriving at our understanding of what it means to us as a local Church.”

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The theme of the Synod “is in a way promoting the type of witness needed at our time especially bearing in mind the evolving circumstances in our society. We as a Church must be prophetic in our witnessing,” the 55-year-old Nigerian Bishop further said.

On the aspect of the Church being at the service of all the people of God, the Bishop said, “The resources of the earth are enough to go out to all the children of God. How can we become truly a servant Church bearing the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of women and men of our times?”

Making reference to insecurity that has affected his pastoral jurisdiction, Bishop Anagbe posed, “How do we address the issue of the crisis ravaging our Diocese and the entire land of Benue? How do we address the issues and challenges of the IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps without roots to their ancestral homelands?”

“We must pay closer attention and other essential components and variables such as peace, justice and fraternity must be taken into cognizance,” he further said, and explained, “Peaceful coexistence and harmonious living together bring together the powerful imagery of the ark of Noah where every living creature cohabited and coexisted without stress in the ark, as long as the floods lasted.”

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He appealed for the application of the peaceful co-existence in Noah’s ark saying, “This is what God expects of us and of our work.”

The year-long Synod is bringing together, for deliberation, the Vicar General, members of the Diocesan Presbyterium Council, Deans of deaneries, three members of the Laity and two Priests from each deanery as well as a representative from each Religious Order ministering in the Diocese. 

Other participants include the Rector of St. Thomas Major Seminary in Makurdi, representatives of the Seminarians and leaders of the different organizations and groups in the Nigerian Diocese.