To all Priests and Religious working in the Archdiocese of Lagos, and the Lay Faithful
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:
The month of July: You are all welcome to the second half of the year which begins with the month of July. As we step into this part of the year it is necessary to take stock of our activities in the first part of the year, reflect on the things we have done, what we have left undone and what our prospects are for the remaining year.
The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. Our Lord’s blood, which poured out on the Cross for our Salvation, washed clean the robes of the Martyrs, and gave birth to the Church as it flowed from His wounded side. This precious blood of Christ continues its salvific work of protection and deliverance, purification and preservation, reparation and restoration through his Mystical Body, the Church by providing nourishment for regeneration and renewal of its members. This blood that coursed through the veins of Christ was part of Sacred Humanity, made possible by the maternity of Mary, whose parents Ss. Joachim and Anne are honoured this month (26th July). Hence, it is an aberration when people chant “the blood of Jesus” like a slogan or phrase to be employed almost as a magic formula. It is not a magic formula but an expression of deep faith in the power of the precious blood of Jesus to deliver us from sin and make us whole. This entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time and the Church further presents us with the lives of the following saints as guides in the course of this month: St. Junipero Serra (July 1), St. Thomas the Apostle (July 3), St. Elizabeth of Portugal (July 5), St. Maria Goretti, (July 6), St. Benedict (July 11), St. Henry (July 13), St. Bonaventure (July 15), St. Camillus (July 18), St. Mary Magdalene (July 22), St. Charbel (July 24), St. James (July 25), Ss. Joachim and Anne (July 26), St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31).
May the precious blood of Jesus cleanse us from sin, deliver us from every evil and sustain us with the power of love. Amen.
6-Month Mandatory Preparation for Marriage: The Sacrament of Marriage which is not only a gift of immense value to the Church but also a means of grace for living the married life by couples. A Sacrament of such importance should involve adequate preparations such that couples who are approaching it go through programs designed to assist them develop an appropriate understanding of the Sacrament and evaluate as well as deepen their readiness for married life. Such a program should help to provide insights into getting to know one another better as individuals preparing to become married couples.
Marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of Lagos involves a process. Hence, it is required that couples planning to receive the Sacrament should contact their Parish Priests not later than SIX MONTHS before the anticipated wedding date in order to begin the marriage preparation process. The period of preparation in the Archdiocese is 6months. We expect all priests to keep this in mind, inform couples and adhere to this Regulation.
Mass Stipend and Stole Fees: It is an ancient tradition of the Catholic Church and a provision of Canon Law that the faithful give an offering for the administration of certain Sacraments as well as for booking of Masses. However, it is important to note that the Sacraments are not commodities for sale. And since the purpose of this offering is chiefly the support of the church and the clergy. The faithful are expected to give it voluntarily. In determining the amount offered as Mass stipend and Stole fees, the financial strength of the faithful must be considered. It is to be kept in mind always that poor parishioners who genuinely cannot afford to give the stipulated amounts should be attended to without insisting on the amount stipulated as offerings. We hope to give a new guideline on the stipend and stole fees that are to be expected for the administration of the Sacraments in the Archdiocese soonest possible. Meanwhile we expect moderation on this matter.
Concerning Private Ministries: We refer to the January 2017 Circular in which we called attention of all Priests and faithful in the Archdiocese to the menace of private ministries in and around the Parishes as well as in the homes of Parishioners. Such ministries are often run by individuals as private ventures with their personal interests in mind. They beguile unsuspecting members of the faithful as having solutions to their problems. We call on Parish Priests and Priests-in-Charge to continue to sensitize their Parishioners. Anyone who participates in the activities of these private ministries does so at a risk to the authenticity of his or her catholic faith and practice. We encourage everyone to be vigilant so as not to give wolves in sheep clothing a chance to lead people astray with all the consequences for our salvation.
Archdiocesan Special Collections: We repeat this item in our circular because it has come to our notice that a few Parish Priests and Priests-in-Charge are still not abiding with the regulation. The extant regulation concerning Special Collections in the Archdiocese is that on such Sundays when there is a Special Collection to be taken, it becomes the 2nd Collection and as such THERE IS NO 2ND COLLECTION at all Masses on that day. Parish Priests and Priests-in-charge are to take note and duly inform parishioners of such collections.
Voters Registration: we continue to encourage priests and people to ensure that they get themselves registered in preparation for the elections in 2019. We enjoin the Priests to sensitize and strongly encourage their parishioners that the power to determine their present and future wellbeing and welfare lies in the votes they cast during elections. Our JDPC is working on getting data on the problems that people have in getting registered. Please cooperate with them so that our people can participate actively in the process of choosing our future leaders.
Special Collections: Please be reminded that the returns from the following Special Collections are to be made in the third quarter of the year: Peter’s Pence- 01/07/2018, AUI-08/07/2018, Archdiocesan Education- 15/07/2018, St. Augustine College- 30/08/2018 and Laity- 29/08/2018 and 30/09/2018.
+ Alfred Adewale Martins
Archbishop, Metropolitan See of Lagos
To be Continued
Categorised in: Pastor's Blog
This post was written by Emmanuel Ozoezi