Archbishop Obinna, Bishop Onah exhort legal practitioners as Catholic lawyers kick off New Legal Year with Thanksgiving Mass

Posted by News Express | 24 December 2020 | 787 times

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The National Association of Catholic Lawyers (NACL), Owerri Archdiocese, started their 2020 New Legal Year with a Thanksgiving Mass at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri.

The Mass was celebrated by Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri with His auxiliary, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe and Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Akoronye, Chaplain, NACL, and other priests.

In his homily during the Mass on Sunday, November 29, Archbishop Obinna charged lawyers not to allow the rule of money and power to override the rule of law.

Comparing America and Nigeria, Archbishop Obinna said While America has powerful laws that can defeat powerful people, Nigeria has powerful people that can easily defeat our laws.

This, according to him, is because our laws can be manipulated using lawyers that accede to the request of powerful people politicians, military, police, etc.

The prelate hoped “that God will give Nigeria lawyers that will defend the law like St. Thomas More, Patron of Catholic lawyers, who refused to do the biddings of the King of England,” saying: “Yes, I respect the king but I respect God above the king.”

Archbishop Obinna therefore advised Catholic lawyers to respect and love God more than any human being, more than money, by upholding the law that is meant to protect the weak against the strong.

On laws to deal with obnoxious customs and traditions, the Archbishop said such laws are good but what is needed more is conversion of mind and soul.

He commended Catholic lawyers, recalling that they played major role when he was queried by the former military Administrator of Imo State, Col. Tanko Zubairu, in 1998.

So, we too run into difficulties and in such circumstances rely on our Catholic lawyers for legal, professional counseling, he said.

The Archbishop strongly advised the Catholic lawyers, in fact all Catholics, to defend their faith, emphasising that Catholic faith was not brought about through comfort but through the blood of martyrs, who were killed for their faith.

In his remark, the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, advised Catholic lawyers to ensure that their interpretation of the law is guided by truth.

Bishop Onah reminded judges who deliver judgments based on the evidence before them that the evidence before you may not be the whole truth and you know it, and the truth depends on how you interpret it.

The prelate regretted that what we call democracy in Nigeria is but manipulated oligarchy and dictatorship.

Making reference to an election that was upturned by the court early this year, Bishop Onah told the legal practitioners: “Your colleagues have shown that your interpretation of the law matters more than our votes in this state.”

In his address at the occasion, the Owerri Archdiocesan President of the National Association of Catholic lawyers, NACL, Barr. Sir Peter Ezeobi said the Legal Year was unique in the sense that it is the first of its kind in the Archdiocese.

Ezeobi, who is also the Owerri Provincial President of NACL, recalled that last year, December 1, the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Church Liturgical Year, the association held its first inaugural ceremony.

Though the association started about 1990 as Lawyers’ Guild with Barr. Francis Ezeobi and Barr. L.C. Azuama as Chairman and Secretary respectively, the present association which has national outlook came into being about five years ago through the instrumentality of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria who saw the need to form the association.

He said it was the expectation of the Catholic Bishops to see us live in accordance to the teachings of the Catholic Church and always stand as good ambassadors of the church.

Barr. Ezeobi, who was a former Owerri Metro Advocate, Knights of St. Mulumba, Nigeria said Catholic lawyers would try to avoid the Biblical admonition to lawyers, tax collectors, Pharisees as proclaimed by our Lord Jesus Christ.

He thanked in a special way, Archbishop Obinna for his spiritual and fatherly guidance. He also appreciated Bishop Moses Chikwe, Bishop Godfrey Onah and the Chaplain of Catholic Lawyers, Owerri Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. (Barr.) Cyriacus Akoronye. He thanked their patrons for their continual support

The Thanksgiving Mass was attended by Hon. Justice S.I. Ogwuegbu, Hon. Justice I.M. Njaka, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu SAN, Sir Jude Nnodum SAN, Barr. Obby Onyeulor, LKSJI who is the National Fin. Sec.,  Magistrates, Inspectors and lawyers.

In his vote of thanks, the Chairman organizing Committee for this years New Legal Year, Chief Barr. Charles Onyeagbako KSM expressed gratitude to the executive, the patrons, learned Silks, their benefactors and all those who in one way or the other contributed to the success of the event.

The Thanksgiving Mass coincided with the 40th anniversary of the dedication of Maria Assumpta Cathedral and the inauguration of Catholic Media Practitioners of Nigeria (CAMPAN), Owerri Archdiocese.

•PHOTO: Archbishop Obinna interacting with lawyers during the National Association of Catholic Lawyers (NACL), Owerri Archdiocese, 2020 New Legal Year Thanksgiving Mass at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri. Standing at his back is Barr. Lady Obby Onyeulor

Source: News Express

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