Fighting insecurity: 'Fathers must play their roles in the home'
A group photograph of the two teams — CMO, CKC, Agbara (in red) and CMO, St. Dominic Parish — after their match on Saturday, June 18, in commemoration of the 2022 Father’s Day celebration. In the middle is Rev. Fr. Paul Agordi, Assistant Parish Priest, CKC, Agbara.
From left — Chief Cosmas Onuoha, Chairman, CMO, CKC, Agbara; Assistant Parish Priest, CKC Agbara, Rev. Fr. Paul Agordi; Parish Priest, St. Dominic Catholic Church, Idorawa, Rev. Fr. Patrick Morakinyo, and Mr. Simeon Ishie, Chairman, CMO, St. Dominic Parish Idorawa, Agbara.
Parish Priest, Christ the King Catholic Church, Agbara. Revd. Fr. Sunday Peter Adeniran(standing) and others.

By Ebele Orakpo, Prisca Sam Duru, Vera Anyagafu & Esther Onyegbula

Fix the fathers and you fix society, this seems to be the message of the leaders of the Catholic Men Organisation, CMO, CKC Agbara and St. Dominic Parish, Idorawa, Agbara at the 2022 Father’s Day celebration.

This year’s celebration fell on June 19 and it began with a Novena which ran for nine days, a football match on Saturday, June 18 at the Corona Secondary School field, Agbara between the CMO of CKC Agbara and CMO of St. Dominic Parish Idorawa (ended on a 2-2 draw) and the celebration was rounded off on Sunday with a mass.

Speaking with Vanguard after the football match, Chairman of CMO, CKC, Agbara, Chief Cosmas Onuoha said the novelty match was to usher in the Father’s day celebration.

Chairman, CMO, St. Dominic Parish Idorawa, Mr. Simeon Ishie said the mission and vision of CMO “is to bring unity amongst men and bring Christ nearer to men as they worship God together.”

Moral decadence

Revd. Fr. Sunday Peter Adeniran, the Parish Priest, CKC Agbara, did not hide his sadness as he spoke about the level of decadence among youths, blaming it on the home. “It is very sad that all kinds of immoral acts are being perpetrated by our youths. This is because many homes have failed in their primary role as domestic church. A family is a domestic church where children are brought up with moral and social values. When parents fail in their primary role, it is not an excuse to push the blame to the church.”

Mr. Ishie agrees with Adeniran’s submission, saying that the father should be blamed as head of the family. “Charity begins at home. Before the church, there is a family and in every family, there is a head who happens to be the father so the responsibility boils down to the father.”

They believe that if they can get the family right by fathers taking their rightful place and carrying out their responsibilities in the home, crime rate will drastically reduce.

Impact of CMO on church, society

Revd. Fr. Adeniran said that members of the CMO are the leaders of the Church with Christ as their role model. As such, their impact is felt both within and outside the church. “They learn the moral and social teaching of the Church and they are expected to exhibit these moral and social teaching wherever they find themselves.”

Chief Onuoha, on his part, noted that crime has eaten deep into the fabric of society and part of what the CMO is doing is working very hard to see how they can reduce or eradicate crime in the society.

Celebrating men

“Over the years, the men who are the burden bearers have been so silent. Women are celebrated many times in a year and it looks as if the fathers are not there but this time around, we deemed it necessary to celebrate fathers. Father’s day is also in honour of our Patron Saint, Saint Joseph. As a matter of fact, this celebration is to honour our patron saint so that all our requests would be granted through his intercession. As Catholics, we believe in the power of prayers and we believe that through prayer, nothing is impossible,” stated Onuoha.

Journey so far

“Leadership is all about humility. If you are not humble, you cannot lead people and you have to lead by example. A leader must be very humble to be able to carry everybody along. There are a lot of challenges but through prayers and humility, you can make a difference. I strongly believe that any leader who is humble will always make a difference. Throughout history, we have seen that proud leaders always fall,” said Onuoha. Speaking further, Onuoha, popularly called the Change maker by members due to his contributions to the growth of the organisation since becoming its chairman, noted that they have brought about a lot of changes since assuming office in 2019. “The football match is first of its kind; also this year’s father’s day celebration will be the second since the inception of this parish. We have also instituted an insurance scheme for members. By the time we leave office, they would attest that CMO in CKC Agbara has become great and can compete with any CMO elsewhere.”

For Ishie, leaders of the CMO in the two parishes have succeeded so far due to “perseverance, dependence on God and prayers and being open to the people you are leading. You cannot force people, if they accept you, they will follow your leadership. Thank God that there is cooperation, transparency, accountability and hope among members.”

2023 election

As a priest, I continue to remind and encourage my parishioners to get their PVCs and the response has been encouraging. I have no power to stop them from attending Mass,” said Adeniran.

Ishie noted that the most important thing is to deal with voter apathy in the church. “Everybody is afraid; no one knows what will happen next. There are people who do not believe that their vote will count so they need to be educated,” he said.

Attacks on churches

Speaking on terrorist attacks on places of worship, Revd. Fr. Adeniran advised members of the public to be vigilant and security-conscious, adding that the Police have encouraged all places of worship to be vigilant and if possible, reduce activities in the church, stop vigil for now and limit the time spent in the church.

Origin of Father’s day

Revd. Fr. Adeniran said that it was a woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, who canvassed for the celebration of Father’s Day due to the sacrifices her father (a widower) made in raising the six of them. “Thus, Washington State celebrated the Father’s Day on the 19th of June, 1910 and since then, Father’s Day became an annual event celebrated on the third Sunday of June every year. Coincidentally, the first celebration was on the 19th of June and this year’s celebration fell on the 19th of June as well.”

Among the organisers of the event are: Engr. Tony Onyeneke, chairman, Planning Committee; Engr. Jerome Oyeniyi (Secretary, Planning Committee) and Mr. Philip Ebosele, Secretary, CMO, CKC Agbara.

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