By Chinenye Dike
The Precious Blood Apostolate concluded its 10-day 4th International Conference today, September 6th, with a remarkable gathering at the Jubilee Hall of Holy Ghost Cathedral in Enugu Diocese.
In attendance were several dignitaries, including the Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, and the Bishop Emeritus of Ilorin Diocese, Most Rev. Ayo-Maria Atoyebi. Reverend Monsignors Okpara Ibekwe and Enem, as well as Reverend Father Onah and the Diocesan secretary, Very Rev. Fr. Wilfred Agubuchie, graced the occasion along with other priests, religious figures, and representatives from 20 different countries worldwide.
The conference provided a platform for these global representatives to present reports on the achievements, growth, and challenges faced by the Precious Blood devotion in their respective countries. These representatives, hailing from diverse corners of the world, shared their insights and experiences, culminating in the presentation of these reports and heartfelt gifts to the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Calistus Onaga.
In his address, Bishop Onaga commended the devotion’s global reach and the dedication of its followers worldwide. Reflecting on the historical resistance faced by the Precious Blood devotion within the diocese, he shared that a committee had once been convened to investigate its merits before granting approval. He further acknowledged the unwavering commitment of Most Rev. Ayo-Maria Atoyebi to the Precious Blood Apostolate.
Bishop Onaga stressed the spiritual nature of the Catholic Church, emphasizing that any practice contributing to its growth is welcome. He urged the attendees to listen to concerns and resistance from ecclesiastical authorities, citing instances where certain practices of the Precious Blood Apostolate did not align with traditional church customs, such as the refusal to partake in the handshake of peace and the preference for communion exclusively from priests. He encouraged the apostolate to address these issues, recognizing them as potential reasons for resistance.
Furthermore, His Lordship assured the attendees of the diocese’s recognition of their devotion and promised to provide letters of recognition to facilitate their recommendations to other institutions. He concluded by asking for prayers for the diocese, the nation, and the conversion of young people turning to paganism. Bishop Onaga expressed gratitude to Monsignor Okpara Ibekwe, Reverend Monsignor Inem, and Father Onah for their consistent representation within the Apostolate and encouraged attendees to spread the love they shared among themselves worldwide, assuring them of the diocese’s unwavering support.
As a symbol of recognition, Bishop Onaga presented certificates of recognition to every member of the Precious Blood devotion present, signifying the diocese’s acknowledgment of their efforts.
In a vote of thanks, Rev. Fr. James Obidum, President of the Priests and Religious of Precious Blood National, expressed profound gratitude to Bishop Onaga for his warm welcome and appreciation to all in attendance. Monsignor Okpara Ibekwe echoed these sentiments in his own vote of thanks, extending blessings to all participants.
Among the conference’s highlights were the presentations of gifts and reports from different countries, showcasing the diverse perspectives and lessons shared in various languages throughout the event.
This conference underscored the global impact of the Precious Blood devotion and its continuous commitment to the Catholic Church’s spiritual growth, setting the stage for further unity and growth in faith across borders.