Last week I wrote that everyone is important in our diocese. This post gives more reasons. As cultures are different and as society continues to evolve, there cannot be a straitjacket for all parishes and schools even within our little Okigwe diocese. More so, while the scriptures and tradition guide us on how to pursue the salvific mission, they do not preclude the uniqueness of each person to adopt a strategy which, when weighed before the teachings of Christ and ecclesiastical standards, does not fall short.
Therefore, you are important because there are things that only you can do and can do in the way you can do them😀. This is the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. Since every discipline leads us to a better understanding of God (theology), it is expedient for us to study all aspects of our diocese (including the people) in order to have a body of knowledge that would help us to individually and collectively carry out the salvific mission more effectively.
For instance, I wrote my licentiate thesis in canon law on the topic: “Remuneration and social welfare of priests in Okigwe diocese in the light of canon 281 § 1&2”. Here, I explored our current remuneration system and discovered that the disadvantages of the current system far outweigh the benefits so much so I recommended a reform of the remuneration and welfare structure to reduce sycophancy and rivalry, improve transparency and accountability, promote equitability and pastoral efficiency, and guarantee sustainability in the long term. To ensure the efficacy of the reform, the first year will be to know the actual income of parishes and schools to enable a reclassification of the financial strength of parishes and schools—to be done by those working there. Before the reform goes into force in the second year, there will be a 100% reshuffling of priests so much so that it is self-defeating to hide the actual income of where one is currently working. My research is also the reason I have been arguing for a restructuring of our diocesan health infrastructure and the training of priests as medical doctors.
Therefore, I encourage brothers to study or write their thesis on an aspect of Okigwe diocese and its people—history, culture, traditional religion, economy, public health, and politics🙏🏾. Indeed, history and culture help us to understand our people’s behaviour—necessary information for effective evangelisation. A study on the economic template of a village provides veritable information that helps in the acquisition, administration, and alienation of ecclesiastical goods. Of course, knowledge about public health enables the Church to enlighten our people on health and safety—an action that reduces the perception that all misfortune are spiritual attacks. Such research also finds out sicknesses that are endemic thereby advising the diocese on areas that need more investment in healthcare. For instance, the PHVG 2021 annual report shows that 21 out of 42 priests who have died since the creation of our diocese had diabetes. Understanding the politics operational in Okigwe zone helps the Church to adopt the best strategy in relating to the State.
Every research work is unique to the researcher and always adds a new perspective to an idea – a unique and permanent valuable asset to the salvation of souls in Okigwe diocese.
May God continue to bless our beloved diocese.🙏🏾