Nigeria’s Catholic Knighthoods hold first-ever national Joint All Catholic Knights Summit.

Bishop John Ebebe Ayah of Uyo Diocese and Episcopal Chairperson of the Catholic Laity in Nigeria has urged Nigeria's various orders of Catholic Knighthoods to prioritise the Gospel of Christ by how they live.

Neta Nwosu – Abuja.

Bishop John Ayah urged Catholic Knights to uphold the foremost task of preaching the Gospel through word and action. He told the various orders of Knights that other lay faithful look up to them for direction and example. The prelate made this assertion while delivering the homily at the Opening Mass of the inaugural national Joint All Catholic Knights Summit (JACKS), held recently at the St. Gabriel Chaplaincy, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Abuja.

Don’t let money and power distract you

Bishop Ayah said that Knights of the Church are called to a great responsibility of preaching the Gospel in word and by how they live their lives. He advised the Knights against allowing money and power to cause distraction among them but that they should love as Christ did and permanently settle conflicts and crises among themselves in a spirit of love and maturity.

The JACKS’ inaugural Summit themed, “Collaboration in support and defence of the Catholic faith in Nigeria,” organised by the Department of Pastoral Agents of the Catholic Secretariat Nigeria (CSN) had in attendance Knights and Ladies of St. Mulumba Nigeria (KSM), Knights of St. John International (KSJI), Knights of St. Columbus (KSC) and the Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria. Welcoming the Knights to the Summit, Fr. Zachariah Samjumi, Secretary General of CSN, urged them to initiate actions that defend the Church instead of waiting for the Bishops to do so.

Admit to your ranks godly men and women

Fr. Zachariah further charged Nigeria’s Catholic Knights to infuse Catholic values in whatever they do, especially in public service. At the same event, Fr. Augustine Okochi, Director of the Pastoral Agents Department at CSN, urged the Knights to always place quality over quantity in their drive to admit new members into their respective Orders. Fr. Okochi said, “I would like to appeal to you to please always place quality over quantity in your membership drive.”

He continued, “I urge you to admit to your ranks, godly men and women of integrity and honour, men and women of good conscience and good morals, men and women who are loyal to Mother Church and stand by her teachings,” said Fr. Okochi. He admonished the Knights on the need to manage their differences amicably in order for them to better fulfil their mandate as the ‘salt of the earth and light of the world.’

Appreciation for the contributions of Knights

The various Knighthoods were encouraged to go into the pastoral field as members of one family, filled with love for one another and to become more effective evangelisers. Fr. Okochi expressed immense gratitude to the Knights for their services and immeasurable contributions to the development and growth of the Church in Nigeria and the society at large.

The Rt. Hon. Otis Anyaeji, on behalf of other Knights, said the orders appreciated the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and the CSN for organising the first-ever meeting of all Catholic Knights in Nigeria. He stressed that as Knights of the Church, they would strive to cultivate a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Catholic, its teachings and doctrine.

The opening ceremony, which took place at the Resource Centre of CSN, also witnessed a keynote address by the Bishop-Chair for the Laity, John Ayah, goodwill messages from the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), Catholic Men Organization (CMO), Catholic Women Organization (CWO), and CSN College of Knights and Ladies.