Owerri (Agenzia Fides) - "One hundred years of evangelization in Owerri mean that this Church in Nigeria can be considered 'venerable', even though in relation to other century-old churches it is considered to be young. Venerable because having received the Good News, the Gospel, the people here believed the Word that was proclaimed to them immediately. Young because it is a Church that has all the characteristics of youth: enthusiasm, beauty, dynamism, generosity and loyalty." These are the words spoken by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, at the closing celebration for the centenary of Evangelization Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Nigeria (see Fides 05/11/2012), at the end of the Holy Mass which he presided over this morning, November 10.
These celebrations gave us the opportunity "to thank God Most High for the gift of Faith that 100 years ago had been proclaimed and which was enthusiastically accepted by the people at that time - the Cardinal said in his concluding message at the end of the Mass -. A faith that they continued to transmit from generation to generation. A faith that is not simply teaching, wise sayings, a code of morality or tradition. A faith that is a true encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ ... A faith that has been handed to you and which you are asked not only to proclaim, but above all to live, as I am sure you are trying your best to do."
The Prefect of the Congregation then invited to praise Mary, "Our Lady, Our Mother and Mother of the Church," who is our "model of discipleship in faith", to help us to be evangelizers in our own family, in our community, among others who believe differently from us, and concluded: "Like Holy Mother Mary let us commit ourselves as a Christian community to evangelize remembering that evangelization is an expression of universal love. To witness to others the new life in Christ and to proclaim Christ’s message of hope, is to love them." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 10/11/2012)