– Bishop Ayah Harps on Christ as the Chief Shepherd
– Encourages the faithful to hold tenaciously to their faith
By: Cosmas Michael Essiet
The Choirs in Uyo Diocese, have, over the years, been involved in singing in the Liturgy with the performing-model, without having received any formal formation on how to exercise the ministry of music in the Liturgy using the ministry-model. They have been fired with enthusiasm and generosity, but lack the basic skills that would foster liturgical effectiveness in the exercise of their ministry.
This situation thus prompted the Office of Worship of the Department of Pastoral Services and Evangelization, Uyo Diocesan Curia, to organize a formal training for the Diocesan Choir in the Ministry of Liturgical Music and to get successful candidates commissioned by the Diocesan Bishop for ministering.
Members of this Ministry are the Music Ministers, otherwise known as the Scholar Cantata or Voice Ensemble, the instrumentalists, whose primary duty is that of accompanying the choir and the congregation in singing during Liturgical Worship, and the Cantors of the Psalms who are entrusted with the singing of Pslams at Liturgical Worship.
The Holy Mass, celebrated at St. Patrick’s Parish, Afaha Inang, started at 09:50am and had as the Chief Celebrant, Most. Rev. Dr. John Ebebe Ayah, the Catholic Bishop of Uyo Diocese, Assisted by Very. Rev. Fr. Michael Bassey, the Director, Office of Worship of the Department of Pastoral Services and Evangelization, Uyo Diocesan Curia and the Parish Priest of Afaha Inang, Rev. Fr. Vincent Eyo Udo, the Assistant Chaplain of the Diocesan Choir Council and Rev Fr. Ignatius Okon, the Bishop’s Secretary and the Assistant Parish Priest II of Afaha Inang.
In his homily, the bishop, making reference to the Gospel reading which was taken from St. John’s Gospel, chapter ten, verses eleven through eighteen, noted that, Christ is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Making the distinction between a good shepherd and an hireling, he said that, while an hireling is an employee who is hired to take of the sheep, and may run and leave the sheep scattered and killed in the face of danger, the good shepherd is always there to take care of his sheep and is ready to lay down his life for the sheep, which is exactly who Jesus is, always ready to stick out his life for us.
The Local Ordinary further admonished the faithful to hold tenaciously to their faith, noting that our problem comes when our faith in God is wavered. He encouraged the faithful to be proud of practising their faith, wherever they are and in the face of persecution and trials.
After the homily, the successful candidates were duely commissioned and presented with their instrumentum laboris, according to the rubrics and rituals of the church.
The following persons were also given appointment and offices, Mr. Joseph Usukuma, Diocesan Choir Director, Mr. Emmanuel Luke, Assistant Diocesan Choir Director. Mr. Raphael Inie, Diocesan Choir Organist, Mr. Fidelis Etim, Assistant Diocesan Organist, Dr. Mrs. Inibong Utin, Cantor’s Coordinator, and Ms. Inimfon Edet, Assistant Cantor’s Coordinator.
In his closing remarks, Rev. Fr. Michael Bassey thanked the Bishop for caving out time out of his busy schedule to preside at the function. He congratulated the newly commissioned ministers and charged them to be committed in their services to God.
Sing Praises, To the Lord!
One Heart, One Mind!