By Ononye VC
It was another joyous and exciting day on 3rd December,2021 when the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha,Most Rev Valerian Okeke invested 24 new Catechists to work in the Lord’s vineyard.
The Archbishop was represented by the Onitsha Archdiocesan Chancellor Very Rev Fr Prudentius Aroh as the chief celebrant.He was assisted by other priests from the various parishes where the new Catechists originated from.Also present was the Onitsha Archdiocesan Director of Catechesis,Rev Fr Jude Mgbeobukwa.
In his opening remarks,the Archbishop through the Chancellor,congratulated the investees pointing out that they have been well trained to assume their new positions.
While delivering a sermon,the Archbishop told the congregants that there has been a changing understanding of the Catechist of today.
According to him,a lot is expected of them by the church such that the Pope wrote a book called Anticum Ministerium to explain the importance of Catechists in the church.
He said that in the book,the Pope talked a lot about the duties of Catechists,an indication that the duties of Catechists have long been with the church.
In the book the Archbishop continued,the Pope pointed out that “the work of a Catechist is not a profession but a vocation which is not meant for the weak and frustrated as the notion with some people”, adding that it is a call from God.
The Archbishop urged the new Catechists not to joke or play with their vocation.The Archbishop explained that a Catechist is a lay member of the Christian faithful who is duly instructed and outstanding in Christian Life.A Catechist he said,is one who teaches the Catholic faith by word of his mouth and example.
“I therefore urged you to sacrifice your life to the work of faith because if you don’t have strong faith,you cannot perform”,the Archbishop said.
In an address of appreciation presented to the Archbishop which was jointly signed by the Director of Catechesis Rev Fr Jude Mgbeobukwa,the President of Catechists Association Onitsha Archdiocese Catechist Peter Ezeh and the Secretary,Catechist B B Osakwe (JP),they commended the Archbishop for the love he has been demonstrating for the Catechists working in the Archdiocese.
Part of the address said,”You have through the years been doing all that is humanly possible to see that the Catechists of the Archdiocese are doing their work in an enabling environment”.
They commended the Archbishop for formalizing the welfare and renumeration of the Catechists as well as the upward review of salaries and renumeration of the Catechists.
The Catechists also extended their greetings to the various parish priests for the cordial relationship existing between them and their Catechists.
High point on the ocassion was blessing and dressing of the new Catechists with their new vestments.

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