The Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Nigeria celebrated the SECAM Golden Jubilee calling on the church as a family to give special care to the vulnerable and to protect their dignity at every stage of their lives.
This was in a communique released at the end of CIWA’s Thirtieth Annual Theology Week Conference (8th – 12th April 2019) on the theme “Becoming Church as Family of God: Graces, Challenges and Prospects. They further stressed on the need for Priests and religious to fit into those to be cared for at their old age as they also belong in a special way to the natural family as well as the ecclesial family.
CIWA’s Participation in the Golden Jubilee of SECAM, 1969-2019 and the choice of the theme was in response to the appeal of SECAM, through the letter of its President, Most Rev. Gabriel Mbilingi, that accompanied the Instrumentum Laboris of the Jubilee circulated in July 2018; calling on all God’s people and higher institutions on the continent to participate in the year-long activities of the Jubilee.
Five commissioned papers were delivered at the week-long conference: A Keynote Address by Most Rev Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Papal Nuncio to the West Indies, on “Becoming Church as Family of God in Africa. A Voice Crying from the Wilderness or a Baby’s Cry from the Crib”; a lead paper by Rev. Prof Nathanael Soede, President of Association of African Theologians and member of SECAM Comitheol on “Evangelisation in Africa at 50 Years after Paul VI’s Pastoral Visit to Africa (Uganda): Promoting African Christianity or Becoming Church Family of God?”; and three plenary papers by Sr. Prof Teresa Okure, SHCJ, President of the Catholic Biblical Association of Nigeria (CABAN), First Scholar in Residence at CIWA and member of the SECAM Comitheol, on “Becoming Church as Family of God: A Perspective from the Letter to the Ephesians”; Rev Fr. Dr. Ignatius Obinwa, Head of Department of Biblical Studies, CIWA, on “Government as a Key Issue in Becoming a Church: A Study of Exodus 24:1-11 in African Context”; and Rev. Fr. Clement Chimoabi Emefu, CSSp., researcher in Canon Law and Civil Law at the Catholic University of Paris and the State University of Paris-Saclay, France, on “Canonical Protection of Children in the Light of the Church as Family of God: Do we need canonical laws to protect minors and vulnerable adults?”.
Thirty other papers on a wide variety of topics on the conference theme, from different theological disciplines and pastoral communications on the conference theme were presented by the Faculty members and doctoral students of CIWA and by participants from other parts of Nigeria.
The Conference was graced by Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama (the Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja, Apostolic Administrator of Jos Archdiocese and Chancellor of the Catholic Institute of West Africa); Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins (the Archbishop of Lagos, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, CIWA Governing Council); Most Rev. John Okoye (Catholic Bishop of Awgu and Chairman, CBCN Committee on Theology); Most Rev Hyacinth Oroko Egbebo, MSP (Catholic Bishop of Bomadi), among others.