DiocesanTopical News

Bishop Onaga celebrates Christmas day with Prison inmates in Enugu

– The incarnation of Christ is the beginning of true freedom for humanity, he admonishes.

– Confers the Sacrament of Confirmation on 16 inmates

 By Anthony Aneke

It was a very touching occasion as the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese Most Rev. Callistus Onaga celebrates Christmas day with inmates in Enugu Correctional facility today, 25th December, 2023. The Occasion began with the Holy Mass at 10:00am and had in attendance priests, religious, prison inmates and some charity groups who had come to celebrate Christmas with the inmates.

In his inspiring homily, Bishop Onaga pointed out that at Christmas, we celebrate the incarnation of Christ (…And the word was made flesh). The essence of God taken flesh is to free humanity from the shackles and sin, death and all the powers of the enemy. Hence, the incarnation of Christ is the beginning of true freedom for humanity.

Addressing the inmates, Bishop Onaga admonishes that the Christmas celebration offers them the opportunity to reflect and partake in the two fold freedom of Christ, which is Physical freedom (from Prison) and Spiritual freedom (from sin, death and all the powers of the devil). Bishop Onaga encouraged them by saying that if they sincerely seek Jesus with all the hearts, He would grant them true freedom soon. Since True freedom is in Jesus Christ.  His Lordship admonishes them that since they have gathered to search for God, God will surely visit them.

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Since the Christmas celebration is a celebration of the love of God for humanity, Bishop Onaga exhorts inmates to live the life of love because love begets love. True love promotes freedom. He encouraged them to forgive and reconcile with one another. “Forgiveness is the best way to show love”, His Lordship said.

Going further, Bishop Onaga decried the deteriorating state of the Enugu Correctional facility.  He strongly tasked the Federal and the State Government to rise up and do the needful for this facility. For him, the Government should improve the condition of Enugu Prison in order to provide an enabling environment for the inmates to change. “It breaks my heart that Enugu Correctional Facility which should only accommodate about 700 inmates, is now accommodating over 2600 inmates” Bishop Onaga decried.

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Addressing the candidates of the Sacrament of Confirmation, Bishop Onaga exhorts them to open themselves to the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is agent of change”, he told them. Bishop Onaga explored the nature of the Sacrament of Confirmation and tasked candidates to become soldiers of Christ in true sense of the word.

About 16 inmates received the Sacrament of Confirmation during the mass.

In a short appreciation speech, the Chaplain of Enugu Correctional facility Rev. Fr. Jude Isiguzo (O.C.D) thanked the Bishop, priests, religious and the groups present. The inmates entertained the audience with beautiful songs and dances. They presented a spiritual bouquet to the Bishop.

Bishop Onaga appreciated them and encouraged them to be good inmate and continue praying because prayer changes things. Bishop provided them with Foods and drinks for their celebration and made some donations for their musical instruments.

Rev. Fr. Anthony Aneke is the Director of Communications of the Diocese as well as the Managing Director and Editor in Chief of The Choice Flame Newspaper, Catholic Diocese of Enugu. He is a Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. His passion for media is born out of his desire to see a media in our ever-challenging and complex world whose dexterity is centered on facts, truth and accurate representation of events with the aim of strengthening the many institutions of our society and the church to serve all across spheres.
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Rev. Fr. Anthony Aneke is the Director of Communications of the Diocese as well as the Managing Director and Editor in Chief of The Choice Flame Newspaper, Catholic Diocese of Enugu. He is a Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. His passion for media is born out of his desire to see a media in our ever-challenging and complex world whose dexterity is centered on facts, truth and accurate representation of events with the aim of strengthening the many institutions of our society and the church to serve all across spheres.
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