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Cleric urges Nigerians to imbibe virtues of forgiveness, love



Rev. Fr. Anthony Orioha, the  Chaplain of St. Rita’s Society in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos , on Thursday urged Nigerians to imbibe the late saint ‘s virtues of forgiveness and love.

The cleric said that such virtues would promote peaceful coexistence among the people and discourage all ungodly habits.

Orioha said this during a news conference organised  by the society ahead of its forthcoming 60th anniversary.

It was held at the Lay Apostolate Centre, Oyingbo, Lagos.

The theme of the programme will be: “St. Rita, 60 years and beyond: Impossibilities made possible”.

He said that Nigerians had been experiencing ungodly habits like strive, envy, wickedness and all manner due to lack of brotherly love and forgiveness.

According to him, individuals must be willing to exhibit the spirit of love by encouraging the homeless, helping the jobless and generally giving helping hands.

“We will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of St Rita in Lagos State soon. But, the number of years does not matter to us; we only want more people to live sacrificial lives like the saint.

“ People should be able to forgive one another and accept that we are bound to offend one another.

“ The saint during her life time never enjoyed her marriage but made Jesus her role model.

“That made her to survive all struggles in her life time, we should emulate same too to conquer life’s challenges,” he said.

Orioha said that Nigerians must be able to impact on one another positively as the society intended to impact more lives in subsequent years through the saint’s life history.

He said that the society had embarked on impacting on the homeless at orphanage homes, prisons and hope to do more.

Also, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Ibe, the Director, Lagos Lay Apostolate Centre, urged parents to stay prayerful for children to possess Christ-like nature.

He said that individuals in the society should be able to intervene in family crisis, visit orphanages and prisons to encourage inmates there and expose them to the saint’s virtues for emulation.

“We must all continue from where St. Rita stopped in trying to unite people.

“The celebration will be an eye opener for people to ensure the assignment the saint started are    achieved for individuals to achieve greatness,” he said.

Mrs Olubukola Owonifari, the Vice President of the Society in the archdiocese stated that the programme of events would include a Novena Mass at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Lafiaji, Lagos.

She said there would be spiritual talk, seminar, free health clinic and a reception at Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja car park.

Mr Tony Udom, the president of the society said that the saint might be dead physically but still alive spiritually as he recounted her history.

He said Christian faithful must continue from where the saint stopped years back and ensure the society remained sane for people to live.

He said that the society had experienced 60 years of impossibilities which was made possible by imbibing the virtues of the late saint.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that St. Rita of Cascia was an Italian widow and Augustinian nun venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

She is remembered for her Christian virtues such as being a dedicated house wife and a mother who made efforts to convert her husband from his abusive behaviour before his death.

NAN also reports that the society was introduced into the country by the late Msgr Patrick Somide.