Annual St Paul’s Lecture 2016
Annual St Paul’s Lecture 2016
St Paul’s lecture is organized every year by the MSP in their national seminary in Nigeria to commemorate the feast of the conversion of St Paul – January 25th. This year the lecture was held on Saturday January 16, with the Superior General Very Rev. Fr Victor Onwukeme, MSP giving the keynote address. The speakers were Most Rev. Dr. Hyacinth Egbebo, MSP (Bishop of Bomadi Vicariate), and Mrs. Onyeabo (former national president of CWO). To mark the end of the year of consecrated life, this year’s lecture had as its theme; "Consecrated Life Today: Relevance, Attraction, Authority." The roused a reminiscence of the past with GRATITUDE, encouraged living today with PASSION, and inspired looking forward to the future with HOPE.
Some of the highlights of the lecture include a reminder by the keynote speaker Fr Onwukeme that the idea of Consecrated Life goes back to the Old Testament experience of the Israelites in their relationship with God in which God declares them a chosen race, a holy nation, a people set apart. They were set apart to be a light to the nations through which God’s love and mercy will extend to all. Consecrated persons and religious communities, Fr Onwukeme noted, magnetically attract, pulling the crowd by living the evangelical counsels authentically.
Collaborating that point the guest speaker Bishop Egbebo noted that rather than seeing those who embrace Consecrated life as ‘wasting’, Consecrated persons' witness of unbounded charity animates the church and society. Many African cultures and societies and indeed peoples of the world, have been beneficiaries of the gospel values owing to the missionary commitment and witness of life of young Consecrated persons from Europe and North America who travelled through intercontinental oceans for the sake of Christ. While Consecrated life celebrates a successful history, it still has a great history yet to be written, he observed. He therefore challenged all who embrace Consecrated life to imitate Christ, becoming that great story to be written, and cautioned against the danger of consecrated persons trying to pursue and promote circular values and the ideals of a materialistic world.
Dr Mrs Sabina Ofoegbu giving a Lay persons perspective, presented the model of the Blessed Virgin Mary for a reinvigorated and attractive Consecrated life. Like Mary, Consecrated persons must hinge their life on total submission to the will of God, trusting in divine providence and the mysterious design of God. Sacrificing worldly pleasures is the CULTURE of Consecrated life she emphasized. Mary chose suffering, renounced earthly pleasure in order to join her life with her Son's redemptive suffering. Consecrated life knows the difference between pleasure and joy. “What would the world be like without the prayers and examples of Consecrated persons,” she wondered. She concluded by reiterating the fact that Consecrated life is still relevant today. But to guarantee success, Consecrated persons should obey the 3 vows which is possible through the grace of Christ.