Nigerians incarcerated in prisons have been admonished to consider their situation as an opportunity for sober reflection, prayer and reflection for reformation. The admonition was given by the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Valerian Okeke in his homily at the celebration of the Holy Mass to mark his 64th birthday celebrated with inmates of Onitsha Prison, recently, in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Archbishop Okeke used the occasion to call on inmates to take advantage of the celebration of the Marian Year to move closer to the Mother of Christ the Saviour, who is in a position to intercede for them and make their life better. The Archbishop also assured the inmates that the multi-million Naira Skills Acquisition Centre he is building within the prison would soon be complete and officially opened.
He urged inmates to take advantage of opportunities the centre will provide to improve their education, acquire a skill that would help them live a better life when outside the prison on completion of their custodial sentences. The Archbishop also encouraged the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese and the country, in general, to draw closer to Mother Mary during the Marian Year to attract miracles to their lives.
Commenting on the Archbishop’s gesture, the Chaplain of Prisons, Fr. Pius Nwankwo noted that Archbishop Okeke had contributed immensely towards the welfare of inmates at the prison by providing water, food, drugs and other amenities for their upkeep. He described the building of the Skills Acquisition Centre as a commendable gesture of the Archbishop’s charity for the inmates.
The event was attended by several Church, civic and traditional leaders.
The Mass was followed by the presentation of food items and gifts worth several thousands of Naira to the inmates of the prison by the Archbishop. The inmates entertained the Archbishop and his guests with cultural dances.
(Sunny A. David; CNSNg.org)